Moments & Misadventures :: Medicine, Sulphur, & Bear Spray…Oh My!

I thought I would share with you some of my favorite travel moments and the stories behind them. So often the pictures alone can’t capture the real story of what happened and why the place was so special because of it. And it was this story in particular that brought about the name of my blog.

We set off after work to make the 4 hour drive up to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I thought I had the beginnings of a cold with little coughs and congestion- no big deal, the fresh air of the parks would probably help clear out my system. We checked into our hotel just outside of Jackson Hole, ate dinner while we looked at park maps, then went to bed. The next morning I could hardly breathe I was so congested and my glands so swollen, and my voice had become a raspy whisper that more belonged in a horror movie. We gathered up our things and made our way to the hospital in Jackson Hole. After checking and rechecking the doctor looks at me and says ‘Well, I have good news and bad news. Good news- you’re not contagious. Bad news- this is a viral infection in your respiratory system and you’ll just need to let it run its course.” She suggested we get some over the counter medicine to try and help with the symptoms but otherwise there was nothing to do but wait for it to pass.

With a stop by the grocery store to load up on medicine, we then made our way north towards Yellowstone National Park. Grand Teton and Yellowstone are right next to each other. We drove through Grand Teton, saving that for the next day, and made our way to the very north part of Yellowstone with stops throughout the park to get out and enjoy the wild beauty of the park. If you’ve never been through Yellowstone, then the thing to know is that there are stunning, beautiful, colorful geothermal pools and geysers everywhere. The other thing to know is that these geothermal spots fill the air with the rotten egg smell of Sulphur. And that Sulphur smell mixed with a viral infected respiratory system will create some spectacular coughing fits all through the park.

We had brought a tent for camping the rest of the trip, but Brad said that after the doctor visit he booked a room at the lodge at the north end of the park for the night. We drove all day through the park, stopping here and there to get and explore small areas of the park. It was nighttime by the time we reached the lodge, only to find that they were closed. They were renovating and wouldn’t be open for months. Brad double checked his reservation and found that he had booked a room for that day next year. So we had to find a camping spot, but they were all full. Every single camp ground between Yellowstone and Jackson Hole was full. Finally after hours of driving and looking, we found somewhere just outside of Jackson Hole to camp. I started pulling out the tent and Brad started trying to get the air mattress to inflate by the glow of the headlights. Then Brad starts cursing as he realizes that he doesn’t have the air pump or the tent poles. It looks like we’re sleeping in the car then. I try to take some medicine to help me sleep, but my poor swollen glands won’t let it go down and I start to choke. Panic ensues. I try to get out of the car only to set off the car alarm.

After only a few hours of car squished sleep, we made our way to Grand Teton. We took the beautiful, 10 mile, loop around Jenny’s Lake. Brad talked to everyone on the trail since I my talking was so limited. We booked a hotel for that night back in Jackson Hole since camping was out. The next day we spent our last morning hiking a small trail outside of Jackson Hole. Brad brought his bear spray and wanted to teach me how to use it in the unlikely event that we ran across a bear on the trail. He takes off the cap and sprays away us, but just then the wind picks up and we both get a face full of bear spray. We went on the hike, although not for very long, and then made our way back home. We laughed until our sides hurt at the trip and all the things that had gone wrong. And yet, we had a great time even with all the mishaps. This was a defining trip for us as a couple. Brad would later propose to me there and have the skyline of Grand Teton engraved on his wedding ring. All because of this mishap laden adventure that this trip turned out to be. Grand Misadventures started with the idea that sometimes the greatest moments of our travels happen unexpectedly, when we’re looking for something else, or just happen upon it but those are the moments we remember the most.

8 responses to “Moments & Misadventures :: Medicine, Sulphur, & Bear Spray…Oh My!”

  1. This was a very funny read, though I empathize with you for being so sick during the trip. Booking the hotel for the same day next year is hilarious! I agree with you that the best travel memories happen unexpectedly and often stem from mishaps and mistakes. Your photos are stunning, amazing, wonderful! Wish I was there right now. Thanks for sharing your misadventures.

  2. Oh I absolutely love that post, and love that story! That’s the kind of experience that separates travellers from holiday people: the fact that things go wrong just make you laugh and want to experience more. Love the fact you see the funny side even though you must have felt rotten at the time. Great reading! It’s those occasions which give us our stories.

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