The drive from Carbondale to Lander, Wyoming takes about six hours. I usually enjoy the trip as a scenic tour and cultural change. This time the journey seemed a bit slower and less exciting as we were anxious to reach Lander and see our son after him being gone for a month on his NOLS course. Lander and the Noble Hotel finally appeared over that last familiar old hill, and there was Louie, hanging out at the Noble looking tall strong and fit after a month of foot packing and climbing.
Turns out their course did a loop through the northern Wind Rivers, where they traveled over the Continental Glacier and Grasshopper Glacier, among others, and did have an excellent climb of Gannett Peak along with several other classic Wind River summits. Along with that they did a bunch of rock climbing, and of course all that NOLS cookery that the school is famous for. The went in at Union Pass and exited at New Fork Lakes — fun to hear about because that’s basically the course I taught several times back in the 1970s when I was an instructor.
As any NOLS parents or alumni out there might be familiar with, much of our talk with Louie has been about exactly what and how they cooked up their cinnamon rolls, pizzas and other culinary delights. When, as Louie said, “I haven’t been full for a month,” that stuff is pretty important. We’ll get a full blog report out of Louie in a few days, so look for that here.
|Louie’s boots and axe. The full shank boots are perfect for technical glacier travel and snow climbing, but perhaps a bit heavy for the trail walking portions of the trip. Better safe than sorry…thus they worked out well.|
So indeed, we headed over to Hudson last evening to visit Svilars and had their huge trademark four course meal as a NOLS graduation celebration. It starts with salad, with the option of a house blue-cheese dressing that really is quite good. Then the bring out the ravioli and cabbage rolls, and on to the main course. Lisa had a huge T-bone, I got the fillet and Louie chowed on baked lobster. Desert was good too — ice cream and chocolate cheese cake. I love the ambiance of Svilars, what with vinyl booth upholstery and lots of cowboy hats, all worn at the edges, you know you’re in Wyoming. The staff is friendly, the vibe is hearty and the food is excellent. What else do you need?
|Indeed, as they say, consuming mass quantities. Check out that T-bone Lisa got! Full disclosure: I ate part of it.|
We’ll head back home today, hope to return before winter for some time in the Winds as in past summers.
|I caught this shot of a Wyoming sunset over the Wind Rivers during the drive from Hudson back to Lander. Warms my heart to think of our boy up there for a month, and the power of having such an experience when you’re 17 years old with your life ahead of you.|
Side note: We drove our Tacoma TAV for this trip, and took the opportunity to measure what kind of highway mileage we’re getting with the Taco. We calced a good 22 MPG, so the Toyota is doing fine! That’s with all synthetic lubricants, good tire pressure, not much cargo weight and a topper for better aerodynamics. We did run the AC most of the time. Actual calced mileage was 22.29, so without AC and driving slower I bet we could have pulled 23 MPG. Wyoming gasoline is 50 cents less a gallon than Colorado, so we’re feeling flush! (It was intimidating parking a Tacoma at a Wyoming steak house surrounded by 3/4 ton Dodges and Chevys, but you do what you gotta do…)
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.