Thursday, September 12, 2013

Grand Teton National Park 2013

This was a driving day. I waited until it was no so dark anymore. The dump station is in the middle of nowhere and there are no lights. I had checked out the place a few days ago. This morning I made a mistake anyway. I entered the wrong road and had to drive, on a dirt road, until I found a spot where I could unhook the car and turn the motorhome around and attach the car again. After finding the dump station, and emptying the holding tanks, I prepared myself for a little adventure. At our daily meetings most of the group voiced their concerns about going over Teton Pass. The highway across the pass has, at some stretches, a ten percent grade. Most of the WINs decided to go back to Yosemite National Park and take highway 89 through the park and then to Grand Teton National Park.
I headed south on highway 20 and then east on small roads. Highway 22 took me over the pass. I was very slow going up. Unfortunately it is only a two lane highway. Going down was tricky too. When I shifted into first gear the engine was going at 5,000 RPM. I did not like that. So I rotated between the first and second gear. In second gear I needed the brakes sometimes. I made it safely down and had that experience.  Next time I will take the easier road.

I arrived at the campground at about 11:00 AM. The campground is located in the National Park, about ten miles north of Jackson, Wyoming. This is the view from the campground.

On my walk through the campground I saw this big fellow. They tell me in the morning two moose mothers come with their babies. One has two, and the other has one baby. 

On driving days we have our afternoon meeting at 4:00 PM. It started to rain at 4:10 PM. The group is too large to go inside a motorhome. The kayaking group joined us and will be staying with us for a while.
I was in a hurry to put my chair under the host’s motorhome. I forgot that I was under the slide out and hit my head when I straightened out. For the first few minutes I did not know where I was. I did not bleed much, but have an open wound. The head pain is a good companion for my tooth ache.  

We had Hugs and Mugs in the rain.

Later it cleared up and I drove to Jackson. They have a beautiful, large, and modern library. After I did my computer work I went to Albertsons and did some grocery shopping. From there I went to the Visitor Center and got some information and watched the film about Jackson Hole and Yellowstone.
At 4:30 PM we had a hot dog roast. 

Just when we were finished it started to rain again. It was only a light rain.
We decided to go dancing at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. I left at 6:00 PM and did some sightseeing down town Jackson. There is a little park with two antler entrances. 

There is also a statue of a rider. 

The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar is across the street. 

Jackson kept the western motif in down town. 

We started with dance lessons and at 9:00 PM the band played. The inside of the bar is very rustic, with a lot of wood work. 

On the way home I got lost. I should have set my GPS. I knew I had to drive about five miles from the main highway to the campground. I forgot though that I had to make a right turn just before entering.  I went straight on and after a while it dawned on me that I was lost. I drove until I came to an intersection and turned around. I tried to set may GPS, but it told me that I had arrived. I was lucky a car came along. I went out of the car and gave the driver signals with my flashlight. I told the driver that I was lost. He told me to follow him. I was about five miles away from my motorhome. The driver entered the road I should have taken and stopped.
Then I knew where I was and found my way to my campsite.

We had pretty decent weather today. On our morning walk the fog in the meadows appeared to be a lake. 

Molly, with her nine month old twins, was in the campground this morning. They feed on the bushes and do not get disturbed by people taking pictures of them, as long they do not come too close. The rangers tell us that a mama moose can be more dangerous than a bear when she feels that her babies are in danger.  

Early afternoon I drove to the Visitor Center in Moose. The park has several visitor centers. They are all designed to fit in the surrounding area. A lot of wood is used inside and outside of the building. There are realistic bronze statues of people and animals. 

I watched the movie about the park and all the big and small creatures which live here.
My next stop was Jenny Lake. I got some information about the shuttle boat. We plan on crossing the lake by boat and hike to the waterfall and Inspiration Point.

 On my way home I saw a herd of pronghorns. Most of them cannot be seen because the sagebrush bushes are too high. 

Some of the group hiked three miles today. Three people did eight miles.

This was a super good day. First of all, my tooth ache is gone and my head wound is healed. It looked like it would rain, but it didn’t. On my morning walk I saw Molly and her babies again.

Then I saw the other moose and her youngster.

I am parked in a good camp site. My neighbors are not next to me. Generator noise is no issue here.

At 9:30 AM when I left the campground I saw Molly and the twins taking a rest. 

I arrived at the Jenny Lake boat dock just in time for the 10:00 AM trip to the other side of the lake. There were thirteen German tourists on board. They are from the Black Forest.
The walk to the Hidden Falls was easy.

The next stretch of the trail was climbing over rocks and it was steep at some areas. Going to Inspiration Point was worth the effort. Unfortunately the weather was not conducive for taking pictures. Normally one can see all of Jackson Hole.

I kept on walking towards Cascade Canyon. When I came to the intersection of the canyon and going back to the boat dock; I chose the easy way. I did not feel like hiking eight miles. The trail back to the boat dock was not as steep as the one I came up. When I came close to the lake shore I heard people making noises. They were standing on the trail and trying to tell a big brown bear and her little cub to move on. They wanted to get to the shuttle boat. There were hikers on the other side of the bear, who wanted to get up the mountain. The bear cub was climbing up a tree while the mother was standing on a log watching. 

Finally they moved on. The baby bear was cute.

The shuttle boats go every fifteen minutes. 

The Jenny Lake Visitor Center and many of the other buildings were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. They are all log houses.

From Jenny Lake I headed north towards Yellowstone. Some of the leaves of the birch and aspen trees are changing their colors. In a week they will be gold and red. 

The view from Signal Mountain was not as spectacular as it could have been with the sun shining.

In 1970 we had good weather. I was also younger and in better shape.

We did not enjoy the luxury of a motorhome then, but we were happy because we had just bought this little tent trailer, and did not have to sleep in a tent anymore.

In 2001 we also had good weather. At that time we spent only a little time in Jackson and drove through the park.  

At 4:30 PM we left for a ranger guided car tour of the park. The ranger took only ten cars. Our host had made arrangements that the WINs could come in six cars. We stopped to see moose, pronghorns and bison. The ranger had brought binoculars, but most of us had their own. At every stop we had question and answer sessions which were very informative. After we came to a herd of bison we had to stop the excursion.

The ranger in his little government owned Toyota Prious made a left turn and a motorcyclist who came flying past us run into the side of the little car. There was not much damage and nobody got hurt. But the ranger had to wait for the investigators. I think both parties were wrong. Too bad, we had to go back to our homes. But the whole day turned out fine.
In the morning a group went on their bicycles to Jackson. It is probably a ten mile, one way, trip.  Another group went kayaking.  

Today I drove along the Snake River, south of Jackson. I was looking for that beautiful overlook where we saw in 1970 colorful rafts going down the river. I could not find it. There were other fine spots though. People seem to enjoy their lunch more at a beautiful setting. Young people did this at one overlook.

At another overlook an older couple had parked their RV and enjoyed their lunch. 

Fishing is great in the Snake River. 

Even in the not so good weather people enjoy rafting trips. 

In the evening some WINs went dancing in Wilson. I enjoyed a quiet evening in my motorhome.

This morning the Teton Mountain Range was free of clouds. There were only a few low altitude clouds. Jackson Hole (Valley) is at an altitude of about 6,500 feet. 

At 10:15 AM I was at the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve. From the town of Moose a narrow road goes there. 

John D. Rockefeller Jr. had bought 36,000 acres in Jackson Hole with the intention to donate the land to the National Park Service.  Despite local opposition to the expansion of Grand Teton National Park, John D. Rockefeller Jr. persevered and donated 33,000 acres to the park. The family retained 3,100 acres around Phelps Lake as a family retreat. This land, known as the JY Ranch, was passed down to Laurance S. Rockefeller, who eventually arranged for the transfer of 2,000 acres to the park. In 2001, he announced the gift of the remaining 1,106 acres to the American people to become a part of Grand Teton National Park. 

The mountains are near the preserve. 

I walked the Lake Creek Trail. On the trail was fresh bear scat. I could tell by the berry seeds. The trail goes mostly through forest and along a creek. I wondered whether it was a good idea to hike alone.  

At Phelps Lake I ate my peanut butter sandwich and an apple. While I was enjoying the mountains and the lake, a couple joined me. The man asked me how I was doing. I only pointed to the lake and mountains. He told me that he understood me. I told him that I am very fortunate to be able to have the pleasure of seeing all this beauty. The Grand Tetons are unique. They come straight out of the earth, without any foothills.
Phil, Diana, Donna B, and Karen walked also the trail. They came by while I was eating lunch.

When I was leaving the lake a doe and two young deer were feeding on the side of the trail. I walked the Woodland Trail on the way back. 

At the Visitor Center are large video screens showing films of the reserve, with plants and animals. There is also a large picture of Laurance S. Rockefeller and his sons. 

The Elk Refuge is on the 33,000 acres donated by the Rockefeller family. It is a large part of Jackson Hole. Elks come down to the refuge, from higher elevation, during the winter. 

Seven of the WINs had a pleasant kayaking trip today.

The weather was perfect this morning. I went to Mormon Row. Mormons had homesteaded in this part of Jackson Hole. From their farms and ranches they had a magnificent view of the mountains. They built an irrigation system for their fields. Life was not easy. The winters can be very cold and snow can be very deep in Jackson Hole. The houses and barns are abandoned now.

Dark clouds appeared by 11:30 AM. I did not feel like going back to the motorhome, so I had a late breakfast at an outside restaurant in Moose. The breakfast was lousy but the view made up for it.

When I was done it started to rain. The library is a perfect place during a rainstorm. I drove to Jackson. It was thundering and I have not seen so much lightning in a long time. Traffic slowed down to a crawl in the city.
I spent two hours in the library and then went to Albertsons and bought a birthday cake. I brought the cake to the 5:00 PM circle meeting. Today is our last day in Jackson Hole. The group leaves tomorrow. I will stay two more days and catch up with them at the next gathering place.
At 5:00 PM it started to rain again and we had the meeting and the cake in the host’s motorhome. One lady brought ice cream. The sun came out again as soon as the meeting was over. Rain can come in a short time and stop just as fast in this valley.

All the WINs left this morning. They were lucky that the rain had stopped. It rained almost all night. The mountains looked different this morning. It was cloudy all day and it could have rained any minute. 

The temperature dropped and I have to put the shorts away for a while. I had a relaxing day. I went to Jackson for a short time and then came back and made potato pancakes. On my afternoon walk I noticed that Nancy and Maynard have arrived. In the evening I paid them a short visit.

When I got up this morning it was cold in the motorhome. The temperature was 34 degrees F. It was freezing outside. Frosty, the new member, told me that her cat was shivering and she would get out of here today. She had just joined the WINs and attended only one meeting. She told me that she had planned do activities with her friend who works at the campground. The friend was busy and Frosty stayed by herself. I met Frosty last night and this morning I introduced her to Maynard and Nancy. 
Today I went to the Menor’s Ferry Historic District. There is a replica of the one cart ferry. The ferry could bring one cart or a few people across the river. The ferry was propelled by the fast running river.

At the same site is also the Chapel of the Transfiguration. It is a log building and through the window, behind the altar, one can see the mountains.

I had lunch at the same place where the breakfast was lousy. Today’s lunch was excellent. Actually I wanted to go to Jackson, to a Mexican or Chinese restaurant, and have a birthday lunch, but I would not have the view of the mountains. There were no rain clouds in sight today, only big white ones. 

The outing at the Gros Ventre Campground was pleasant. It was not free. We paid half price,          $ 10.50 a day. One more week and all the cotton wood, aspen and birch trees will be in color. 

1 comment:

Barbara and Ron said...

I bet you had a good time talking to those German tourists! Love the old pictures.