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EASTER WEEKEND, APRIL 1999: Moose, WY
We actually went to Wyoming to visit a friend of ours, Tom Mangelsen, who's a famous wildlife/nature photographer. How we met is too long a tale to tell here, however, his photos of the area were enough to inspire us to make the trip. Sometimes, for your own sanity, you just have to get out of the city.

mooselake.jpgThough my husband and I grew up in cold climates, the weather of Los Angeles had clearly made us soft and forgetful of what April is actually like in other places. Especially ones in the mountains. We were ill-prepared for the mounds of snow and crisp weather that awaited us. In fact, we landed in Salt Lake City in the middle of a driving snowstorm and almost didn't make it over the mountains to Jackson Hole. To say we were unprepared for the 6-hour drive is an understatement. We were so anxious to get going before the passes closed we had two bottles of water and a bag of M&M's to sustain us. The signs that claim they stop plowing from 5pm-8am were a bit daunting. With no alternative we plowed forward. What's a little weather?

We made it without incident and once in Jackson Hole, we decided to embrace the winter weather. We tried cross-country skiing. It was only $20 to rent boots, skis and poles for the afternoon since it was "off-season". Way harder than we ever dreamed possible. Uncoordinated people need not apply. We didn't get very far, but we tried and that's what counts. At least that's what I tell myself. Despite the 5-6' of snow, that 2nd weekend was the close of the ski season. Considering the amount of powder, we were a bit perplexed, but I guess after 6 months of winter sports most people would be tuckered out and ready for Spring. You have to give those Wyoming folks a big hand, because despite the snow, they went on with their Easter Parade and egg hunt nonetheless. I guess if they waited for the thaw they'd be celebrating on July 4th.

dornanlogo.jpgMore unexpected than the weather was Dornans, which is a western-style resort (located in Moose for 60 years at the gateway to Grand Teton National Park) that has everything an outdoor-minded traveler could want. There's a gas station, deli, gift shop, two restaurants, cabins and canoes for rent and one of the best wine shops in the country. We wanted to go where the locals go and we're sure glad our friend took us here. Unless you're into winter sports (we're not) there's not much to do in Moose over the winter, but that doesn't stop the crew at Dornans. We attended one of their wine tastings which gets you 10 tastes for $10. A bargain anywhere. The restaurant/tasting room isn't what you'd call fancy, but you really can't beat the view. See the photo above. It's one of those places you could eat cardboard and not care. Thankfully, all the food and drink were very enjoyable. It has to be for them to survive the winter with mostly the locals to keep them busy.

dornans.jpgThe actual wine shop has been winning Wine Spectator Awards for decades. It's packed to the gills with bottles from all over the world. The selection is astounding, considering we saw an actual moose wandering along the road on our way there. Our friend wanted to know how big it was. Having never seen one before in person, we had no way of quantifying its' size. As a nature photographer he was disappointed we couldn't be more specific and failed to get a pic. In our defense, it's rare for us to actually see a wild animal, so by the time the surprise wore off we were out of range to get a souvenir. We were bummed to be so close to Yellowstone and not able to go. Now we have two reasons to return.
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