I’ve been waxing poetic about our awesome road trip for the last few blogs, and I apologize (but not really) for the endless stream of instagram photos. Jackson Hole was truly fantastic. But I HAVE to share the weirdest story that happened during our trip.
On our last day in Jackson, my boyfriend wanted to go paragliding off the Grand Tetons. Being the supportive girlfriend I am, I spent the night before panicking about it. We woke up the next morning and went down to
sign his life away sign him up for the adventure, and it was too windy to go.
So we decided to definitely ride the aerial tram up to the top for the spectacular 360 views of the Tetons (which means “boobies” in Native American. My cousins were thrilled to tell us we were in “Big Boobie National Park!” all week.). You get in the ski gondola, and head up 10,000 something feet.
It was gorgeous, and there was a cafe at the top. We had a few hours to kill, and decided to get a drink and a deck of cards (it was $11 dollars. Paper is very rare in Wyoming.) and play a few games.
I happened to overhear the table next to us mention that they were from North Carolina, and as boyfriend and I are moving there this summer, we sparked up a conversation. They had two kids with them and were all super nice, and I invited the little girl over to watch boyfriend and I play cards.
A few minutes later, an older gentleman in hiking gear approached our table, and without preamble, announced that he could tell we were from California.
What?! Really? There was confusion. Nothing about us said “California.” But we were impressed and laughed with the man. We began to talk traveling, he said he was a doctor from a hospital in the Bay Area where my mom had worked, and that he went to Cal. We had a lively conversation, and then he walked away to join his wife and their tour group.
I turned to boyfriend and said “isn’t that funny; we’re at the top of a mountain range in Wyoming, meeting people from the town we’re moving too, and meeting people from where we are from.”
Just then, the older gentleman walked back up, but approached the North Carolina family, pointed to us and said, “Just so you know, those two people are child molesters from that list in California. Thought you should know.”
It was hands down, THE worst moment I have experienced in a long time. Boyfriend and I, both major talkers, were stunned into a stammering silence of confusion. The older man laughed and walked away, and the children at the table asked “mommy, what does that mean?!”
We turned to each other, “what – what just happened?!” And the mom from the table asked if we knew the guy. We explained no, that he had approached us, and she said he had been making inappropriate comments on the tram ride up, and so she knew he was a weirdo and that we were fine.
I started stuttering things like “just so you know, I’m a teacher, he’s a youth pastor, we’re both mandated reporters and super sensitive about issues like this and um ah yeah that was super inappropriate.” Nothing could be farther from the truth about boyfriend and I, but I somehow felt compelled to defend us.
Next to accusing me of murder, I can’t think of a worse thing to accuse me of, even in an inappropriate joke-like manner. It was so, so bizarre. We both felt sick to our stomachs and the whole day had been ruined. But we tried to hack it out and play another card game. In the middle of it, the little girl spilled her hot cocoa all over my phone, camera, the playing cards, and scarf.
As we frantically tried to clean it up, a woman approached me and asked if I was from California. I said yes, with understandable hesitation.
“Good. I don’t know you.” And she walked away. Then she walked back and said “my husband told me to say that.”
“Oh,” I replied. “Yeah, that was weird.”
“I am weird.” And she walked away for good.
Boyfriend and I took a beat, then gathered our stuff and sprinted to the next tram to get down the mountain asap before something weirder could have happened.
Had we been targeted for a prank? I was looking around for TV crews. Was he fishing for information to come do something to us later?
I have replayed the conversation so many times, wracking my brain for a reason he would have done that, how he knew we were from CA, wondering if I had accidentally revealed too much personal information.
It was really weird. My aunt and uncle, cops, kept hoping we’d run into the guy in town so they could…teach him a lesson. :)
Anyway. Don’t talk to strangers. They are day-ruiners.