The Grand Tetons

May 28, 2009 2:37 pm

Day Eight – The Grand Tetons

We woke up this morning to a depressing sight… lots of fog.  The plan for today was to set out from our motel and do some sightseeing / day hikes around the Tetons.  With fog looming, those plans looked to be in jeopardy.  Regardless, we set out ambitiously and made our way to the visitor center at Grand Tetons National Park. 

The drive to the visitor center brought us through the cool little town of Jackson Wyoming.  This town is an extremely touristy town built around the famous Jackson Hole Ski area.  The town is complete with a stereotypical “old west” downtown full of restaurants, shops and galleries.  You can really see how this place is packed and hopping on a winter evening after a long day of skiing. 

Jackson Wyoming Downtown

Jackson Wyoming Downtown

 

As we approached the visitor center we were treated to clear blue skies and the first glimpse of the Grand Tetons.  There was a quote by Teddy Roosevelt in the visitors center that just about summed it up: “These are what mountains are supposed to look like.”

First Glimpse

First Glimpse

 

The Tetons are absolutely spectacular.  After spending the past few days looking at giant holes in the ground, we suddenly were greeted by the exact opposite.  Pictures can’t begin to portray these mountains size and grandeur. 

Spectacular.

Spectacular.

 After pausing to pick our jaws up off the floor, we set out on a hike aroud Lake Jenny to Inspiration Point and Hidden falls.  This hike was absolutely spectacular with great views out across the lake and up in to the mountains.  Again, the pictures can’t do it justice. 

Mountains. Lake. Sky. Beautiful.

Mountains. Lake. Sky. Beautiful.

 

The destination was a really neat waterfall tucked into a fold in the mountains.

Waterfall!

Waterfall!

After the waterfall, we headed slightly more up the mountains to inspiration point where we stopped for some lunch. 

Breathtaking

Breathtaking

At about this point, Matt and Ben again digressed to being about 3 years old.  Obviously, many people before them were also acting this age, as the chipmunks here were very well trained.  They really took a liking to Doritos, and Matt and Ben had way to much fun indulging their appetite.

Matt and Ben’s version: “After the waterfall, we headed slightly more up the mountains to inspiration point. During this trip, we were kindly guided by a chipmunk named Mooch. This cute little animal led our journey up the trail for several hundred feet, before ensuring our safe arrival at the destination. This relationship was far from one sided however, as we liberally rewarded our dear little friend with fresh bread and Doritos. Mooch was so touched by our generosity that he felt free to eat out of our fingers, palms and even teeth. (yup, this guy was fed mouth to mouth) Not all the little creatures of the forest were as nice as Mooch, as some of the squirrels went so far as to nimble hikers fingers until food was provided.”  

Stupid

Stupid

 

 

After lunch, we decided to attempt to follow the opposite half of the loop, down the north side of the valley.  As some of you may know, the north slopes of any mountain in the Northern Hemisphere tend to have more snow on them then than the south sides.  This pattern continued itself on the hike down the hill.  We had a great time sliding down the snow on this trail, which at times was little more than faint footprints in the snow.  Thankfully, we caught up with another brave group of hikers who had been in front of us, but who also had a GPS unit.  Between careful observation of the trail and the GPS we made it down with a special bonus of soggy shoes!

Once back on a civilized trail, we headed back towards our car.  Along the way, we caught up to several other people standing in the trail.  Much to our delight, they were standing there looking at a young bull moose not more than 100 ft away.  We were able to stand and watch it eat and walk around in the woods, at one point coming to within 30 ft of us! 

Moose!

Moose!

After returning to the car, we proceeded to drive up Signal Mountain.  This small mountain is across Jackson Lake from the Tetons and offers spectacular views out across to the mountain range. 

<Panorama Coming Soon>

Mountain Range

Mountain Range

Mountain Range

After being once again blown away by the view, we again proceeded north, this time heading up to Yellowstone National Park.  Entering the park made us a bit nervous, as there were 4+ ft tall snow banks on both sides of the road!  We were under the impression that there would be camping available, however things did not look very promising.  Once we made it in to the southern most visitors center, we inquired about the availability of camping.  The lady at the information desk, informed us that most of the camping areas were still closed and pointed us to an RV park about 30 minutes north into the park.  Unfortunately, this RV park did not allow tents or soft sided campers due to the threat of bears.  We were a bit nervous at this point, as we did not want to sleep in the car or pay $150 to stay in a lodge overnight.  Thankfully, when we arrived at the RV place, we were informed that there was a campground about 45 minutes to the northwest (Norris) that probably had spots available. 

The other concern going through our heads at this point was the need to get an Oil Change for Ben’s car.  We had hoped to do it in the previous days, however Memorial day weekend put quite a damper on that as everywhere we found was not open.  We decided to bite the bullet and head farther north to get a campsite.  Thankfully we made it successfully and were able to find a nice campsite.  And, to top it all off, we had a spectacularly dry and starry night! 

Tetons Looking South

Tetons Looking South

Quote of the Day: “This is what mountains are supposed to look like” – T. Roosevelt

 

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