July 10, 2019
John and I spent several days on the fishing ranch we frequent outside of Pinedale. As usual, the canine population rivaled the human. People: the two of us; our friend the ranch manger; John’s grandmother; and John’s uncle. Dogs: Ghost, Gambler, Rosin, Humungous; and Rooney. “Mungous” is a Turkish Akbash, a herding dog. He is a gentle giant, except when he’s not. He guards the ranch, as does Rooney, named for the British footballer. The two of them patrol the huge borders of the ranch, mostly at night, setting up howls and fierce barks when they want their presence to be known. Rosin, an indefatigable border collie, was new this year, named for the rosin that cowboys and cowgirls use to sticky up their ropes. John and I had our first fishing success – ever – on this trip, catching two beautiful Wyoming cutthroat trout. One we put back, one we took home for lunch.
A highlight of the ranch trip was spotting this bald eagle on our last day. He or she sat atop this pole for well over an hour, fending off a gusty wind by alternately leaning into it and sinking talons into the wood. We had seen golden eagles before, but not one of these. Amazing.
On our way back through the Star Valley of Wyoming, we go through Freedom, a town that straddles the Wyoming/Idaho border. Here is the town garage.
You might reasonably think Freedom refers to that kind of fervent mountainous patriotism we see all over the place on this drive. “Guns and God” kind of freedom; bald eagle kind of freedom. But that’s not quite it. Established not long after the Civil War ended, Freedom is the oldest community in the Star Valley. Its odd jurisdictional geography – Wyoming on one side of the street, Idaho on the other, has a purpose. Mormon polygamists, who started the town, could simply walk across the street from Idaho (tough on polygamy) to Wyoming (more lenient) to escape or at least postpone prosecution. Ergo, the town’s name.
On through Idaho, a stop at the Lava Hot Springs to soak in 105 degree water (alongside the road still called “Old Oregon Trail Road”), and straight on into Salt Lake. Hot here, and likely hotter today as we make our way to St. George for the last night of our journey.