I came in yesterday on a commercial flight from Salt Lake City, passing over the Salt River Range on final approach into Jackson, WY. As we came out of thick overcast, there was a limited view of the ground and, as usual, I have to figure out where I am. Caribou Mountain, Idaho was the giveaway, a lone mountain over 10,000 feet hanging out about 20 miles west of the house. I thought to myself that I hadn’t yet been over there in the airplane, so I tried to make a go of it today.
The problem is, it has been wet, very wet. Most locations in the state of Wyoming have recorded their top 10 wettest May ever, with quite a number in the top 5. We received more rain than Seattle, Charlotte NC, or Buffalo NY averages during their wettest months. We basically got one third of our average annual rain in a month. So much for the “dry” West, while California withers away into the next Sahara desert.
As I went up, Caribou Mountain was bleakly overcast (the new normal around here), despite my calculations for a sliver of sun. Sigh. As I flew, I saw sun over the Salt River Range southeast of Thayne, WY, so like a moth to a light (or flame), I went over there. There were some towering cumulus clouds as a backdrop, with stratiform clouds at 8,500 feet along the edge of the range, with puffy white clouds interspersed around mountain peaks exceeding 10,000 feet in elevation. I was able to venture to the east side of the severe part of the Salt River Range making my way through the clouds and granite peaks, and it was truly a surprise – breathtaking scenery just 20 miles from the house. To add sizable puffy white clouds was an experience that usually is amazing without the terrain. Adding the two is hard to put into words. It truly was a flight amongst giants, those of land and sky.
Caribou Range – A bit bleak without the sun
Ascending the Salt River Range
East side of Salt River Range, looking south
Salt River Range, Looking North
Crossing the spine of the Salt River Range, looking south (Wyoming Range in left horizon)