Tuesday, September 30, 2008
The Grand Tetons
Leaving Yellowstone NP, we headed southward toward Jackson, WY and Grand Teton National Park. It's a beautiful drive through forest and a gradual descent into Jackson Hole (valley), with few buildings, just a few lakes and cabins. As we approached the valley, the snow-capped peak of Grand Teton, Wyoming's second-highest at 13,770' came into view. What sets the Tetons apart from other mountains is the lack of foothills - there's no gradual ascent; suddenly these huge mountains rise out of the valley. It's an amazing sight, the huge, chiseled mountains against a startling blue sky with the green valley below. We stayed at the Colter Bay RV Park, part of a large, concessionaire-operated complex owned by the Park Service. There aren't many choices in the park; either the full-hookup campground at $52 a night or no-hookup campgrounds at $18 a night. Since the town of Jackson and commercial parks are 40 miles away, there isn't much choice and we stayed three nights in the RV park. It proved to be a good location to sightsee, although it still took a considerable amount to driving to tour the park. As in most large National Parks, there were lodges, with restaurants, gift shops, and service stations scattered throughout the park, and all of the restaurants we dined at were surprisingly good and reasonably priced. As in Yellowstone, wildlife was everywhere - we saw lots of elk in the meadows and forests, and along the Snake River one morning watched this juvenile bald eagle as he hunted from a tree. The town of Jackson was another example of the modern tourist attraction; "rustic" looking chain stores and gift shops in all directions, all with the same overpriced t-shirts and other authentic made-in-China Wyoming gifts. We didn't spend much time there, it was just too beautiful in the park and exploring the backroads. Imagine living on this horse ranch east of the Tetons with this view every morning! It's a truly memorable place to visit, a one-of-a-kind location. We enjoyed our stay, but soon it was time to head south toward Utah and a stay at Bryce Canyon - stay tuned!