Day 21 – 9/20 Grand Teton National Park

It’s a bit cold this morning, at 37, and it’ll be a colder day with the high of 57, some clouds, then sunny in the afternoon.  We decided yesterday we’ll go to the Grand Tetons today, and get the furthest one out of the way.  My neck was hurting yesterday and giving me a headache and I was hoping that it’d get better as I think it’s due to my pillow here being too high.  I woke up quite a few times with a lot of pain/headache, even though I think it’s a little better now, I took some pain medication already as I want to make sure I don’t have much pain on my neck before we drive a lot today.  Hoping it’ll be gone with the medication.  Now, coffee time!

Carol was up around 7:30 and decided to make a special breakfast for the girls, so she made French toast and soft boiled eggs.  Bia woke around 8, with the smell of the French toast, and was excited to see what was coming for breakfast.  I tried to wake Bella up around 8:30, but she slept until 9 at least.  We didn’t quite all eat together, but had a nice breakfast (thanks Carol), got ready to leave, and were out just before 10. 

We had a little over 2 hr drive to get to Grand Teton.  The GPS estimated a little over 2hrs of driving within Yellowstone to Grand Teton, or over 2.5hrs doing a circle west and south, but outside of the park.  I chose the scenic route and gambled that we’d not hit traffic jams in the park.  That paid off, we didn’t hit much traffic, and the views were amazing. 

The rain from yesterday cleared the skies from most of the smoke, so our views of the nearby and far mountains were great.  It was a bit hard not to stop at a few points, so I pulled over twice for quick photo ops, like the first one was when we saw a bald eagle on a tree across the river, not far from the road, but wanted to drive straight to make it to Tetons early enough.  Carol had downloaded the Gypsy app for Yellowstone and Grand Teton, and the app is very nice, very worth it.  It is basically a GPS enabled audio guide, with recommendations and all.  As you drive, it tells you stories and facts about the area, warns you were to turns, what to expect, etc. it’s very cool, we’ll likely use for other parks as well now. 

We arrived at the entrance of Grand Teton National Park just a bit after noon, and since the app warned us of where the sign for the park was, we stopped to take pictures, and right there you can already see the Teton mountain range, right behind the park sign.  We kept driving then, and it didn’t take much to make a turn that exposes the breathtaking back drop and grandiousness of the Grand Teton mountain range.  Wow… Follow along with the pictures because this is a lot to explain in words.  Oh, and as the afternoon went by, the sky cleared up and the day could not have been better. 

I don’t even know how many times either Carol or I, or the girls, said “wow” at this park, it was absolutely amazing.  We were driving from North to South, with the mountain range on our right, and getting different angles, different nature in front of it, at different times of day.  In summary, you’re already high up in the mountains, but this mountain range is right in front of flat land and water (Snake River, and Jenny Lake). 

We made a stop a Colter Bay area for lunch.  I can imagine how awesome it must be to actually camp there, with those views, with lots of awesome trails, and plenty of water activities.  The restaurant was not open for sit down, only take out, so I ordered our food and we sat outside which was actually nice.  Enjoyed the sun warming up and had our food.  They had a local IPA too, from Snake River Brewing company (I think they are in Jackson) which was nice. 

After lunch we walked down by their marina, quick walk, took some pics and went back to continue our drive around the loop.  This park is much smaller than Yellowstone, so it is not hard to do the loop in half a day, but only if you’re not doing trails.  We were planning on doing one trail only, the one by Jenny Lake, to go to Hidden Falls via Boat, but when we got to that stop it was 5pm and the boat service had stopped at 4, so we didn’t go as the hike would have been over 1 hr each way, maybe another time. 

We stopped a few times at pullouts for pictures, then one near Jenny lake we were very close to the water, so we adventured down the rocks to get to the water.  Always nice to add a little adventure, going down the rocks was a little tricky, so regular tourists were not doing it, but we did.  We got to the water, the view was amazing.  Took lots of pictures.  Girls explored, Bella even took her shoes off and put her feet in the water, she said it was cold. 

They looked for cool rocks, and said they’d take one for Judy.  Oh boy, by time we are back home I’ll have a few pounds of rocks for Judy. Hahahah. 

We took our time at this stop, we were at a great viewpoint, girls were enjoying it, we were just sitting there, soaking it all in.  From there, we went to the Jenny Lake visitor center to go on the trail to hidden falls, but as I said earlier, the boat service was already over, and the hike was too far.  We did start walking the trail, and about 15 minutes in, Bia was complaining she had a headache and her tummy was hurting.  I asked someone if there was anything to see nearby and they said in another 20 minutes there was a Buffalo loop, and it’s easy to see them as they are always there, but… Bia was not going to make it.  She doesn’t drink much water, and altitude dehydrates you faster, so we think she keeps getting dehydrated.  We turned around and went back to the car. 

Oh, I missed talking about a spot we only went to because of the app, I can’t remember the name of the road, but there’s a random lookout sign as you drive south, but there is no lookout nearby, so if you don’t know what’s there, you likely would skip. 

It’s actually an awesome stop.  You drive up the mountain, quite a bit, like 15 minutes just driving up the mountain, to then access two amazing view points of the mountain range and nearby flat lands, canyon, etc. 

After Jenny Lake, we were about at the end of the drive South, so we drove a bit more until we got to the loop turn, and started going back up from the east side now.  That is an easy drive, and going North the mountains were on our left, with the sun setting behind them. 

There were some good lookouts there, but one in particular was amazing, and we stopped there for some time, and watched the sun set behind the mountains, with the flat lands in front of it, the Snake River and Canyon in the view as well. 

Just an amazing spot to be at for the sunset, we got lucky!  We took lots of pictures, time lapse, videos, etc.  Then we kept driving back North. This drive is supposed to be the best spot to see wildlife, but no luck for us again.  The time of day was good, but we didn’t see anything close.  After that last stop, we were on our way back “home”, and had 100 miles to go inside the parks, which makes it take longer with speed limits of 45, and all the turns and wildlife that may be on the road.  I think we’re getting used to it though, used to driving hours and hours, so we just went, and got home around 9:30.  What a great visit to Grant Teton National Park, so glad we went today.

Leave a Reply