Yellowstone…June 13, 2018
The Rockies…June 18, 2018
“The wonders of
nature are endless...”
A short trip to another paradise…
Having wrapped up a wonderful four and a half days spent at the Nation’s first National Park, we took the relatively short drive south to visit the bordering Grand Teton National Park. As mentioned in the previous post (link Yellowstone), we originally planned to backpack into Teton’s wilderness but chose to cancel those plans due to poor trail conditions and weather. Instead, we decided to explore the Park by car and adjust our plans as we went.
The Tetons and Jackson Lake
As we exited Yellowstone National Park through its South Entrance, we experienced a constant scenic preview of the Teton Range, which instantly sparked our excitement for our next adventure. The Teton Range is a 40-mile segment of the Middle Rocky Mountains with multiple peaks of over 12,000 feet (3700 m). Its biggest attraction is Grand Teton which stands 13,770 feet (4200 m) tall. As we drove toward the Park, we realized that the mountains ahead were incomparable from any of the ones we had previously seen.
Lunch at Jackson Lake…
The moment we entered Grand Teton National Park, the massive Jackson Lake appeared in front of the Tetons creating a stunning panoramic view. To continue our wildlife watching experience from Yellowstone, we spotted a beautiful fox with a squirrel in its mouth trotting along the side of the road. The encounter made the entrance even more rememberable. We continued to drive along the shore of the Lake until we reached the Park’s visitor center at Colter Bay. Here, we used some advice from the rangers to make an itinerary for the remainder of the day before heading to the area’s general store for lunch. Our plan was to drive along the Teton Park Road and use the various pullouts to stop for the endless incredible views.
Another view from Jackson Lake
First, we stopped at Oxford Bend which allowed us to watch the Snake River flow into Jackson Lake right in front of the snowy peaks of the Tetons. While we continued on our path, meadows continued to fill out the landscapes on both sides of the road and we hoped to spot more wildlife. However, besides multiple pronghorn antelopes, our desire for more wildlife remained unfulfilled.
The snake river flowing...
Next, we headed to Leigh and Jenny Lake to stretch our legs and take a short walk. The much smaller lakes were a welcomed change to the landscape giving us a more secluded feeling. We used the chance to dip our feet into the lakes’ freezing water and we instantly decided that taking a swim would be an impossible endeavor….
Dipping our feet in the glacial water
Mormon Row Historic District…
Feeling slightly reenergized from the cold glacial water, we made our way to the Mormon Row Historic Distance to check out the homesteads of the Mormon community that settled there in the 1890s. During their settlement, there were 33 homesteads surrounding a church and a school, but only 6 of those buildings currently remain. Of the remaining structures, Moulton Barn is the most famous, and it was easy to see why. The picturesque architecture of the barn in combination with the Teton range as a backdrop created a scene that was simply majestic. We really enjoyed learning about the history of those who once called such a beautiful place home.
...with the Tetons in the back
Before leaving the Park, we made one last effort to spot some more wildlife by driving the Rocky Moose Wilson Road. Unfortunately, we left without any more major sightings. To finish off our day and get ahead for the drive to our last national park on this trip, Rocky Mountain National Park, we drove as far south as possible before dusk. We ended up at Kozy Campground, a small site along the Hoback River in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. We ended an amazing day with dinner by the river and taking time to appreciate the natural beauty of Wyoming for one final night.
Although we only spent about 6 hours in Grand Teton, we were nonetheless fascinated by this unique range of mountains and its impeccable surroundings. Hopefully, we can come back to Wyoming one day and complete the hikes we had originally intended to do. As for now, we will make our way to Colorado for the national park finale of our trip. We are sad to know that it is coming to an end, but we won't let that stop us from enjoying all that the Rockies have to offer.
Amanda & Janek