Thursday, June 24, 2021

Grand Teton National Park : Day 1 {Viewing the Range}

Thanks for following along on this EPIC Yellowstone National Park trip. I love writing these recaps for my own personal record (due to my "fibro fog", I have a terrible memory, so if I don't write it down I will be very likely to forget the details), but you all seem to enjoy following along on our adventures as well. If you haven't read about our road trip to Wyoming, check it out HERE. And if you missed Day 1, 2, 3 or 4 in Yellowstone, read them HEREHERE, HERE and HERE.

Now that we are all on the same page, we can keep chugging right along. This is where our trip moved from the end of our Yellowstone National Park stay and the beginning of our Grand Teton National Park visit. Our reservations in Yellowstone ended on Thursday, May 27th, so we made our way to our next campground in Grand Teton. Originally we were going to do a little more in Yellowstone that morning, but we had actually done those things earlier in the week so we focused on Grand Teton (but, like in previous posts, I'll number the original itinerary and letter new stops/ detours). 

[Note - We camped in Madison Campground in Yellowstone and Gros Ventre Campground in Grand Teton so that impacted the order we did/ saw things. If you're staying elsewhere, you may change what you start/ finish with.]

Here's a list of everything we did/saw on Day 1 of our Adventure in Grand Teton National Park {and the order we did it all}:

1. Grant Village Visitor Center 

Surprise, surprise (NOT), but this visitor center was closed. We did drive by, use the open potties and continue on ;)

While waiting for everyone I walked over to the boat dock and saw this
spider web. Thought the morning dew on it made the web look like lace.

Love getting stamps in my NP Passport, but this log from Letterfolk is amazing too!

2. West Thumb Geyser Basin

We were able to check out West Thumb on Day 2 of the trip (we had some extra time and decided to knock it off the list when we were nearby). Had we not already gone earlier in the week, this is where it would've been in the itinerary.

A. Lewis Falls

You gotta know by now if there's a waterfall on the route we'll probably stop. And isn't it the perfect way to wrap up our time in Yellowstone?! This was a quick stop with the falls right next to the street, so we snapped a pic and drove on. 

It wasn't the biggest falls we had seen, but it was still cool.

3. Headwater at Flagg Ranch

The hubby had this on our list of places to stop at on the way into Grand Teton, but I didn't know much about it. When we pulled in I could see why... there wasn't much there. It seemed like a campground that had a few cabins. We drove around the grounds, but like most things at the end of June in Wyoming, everything was closed so we quickly moved along.


4. Grand Teton Sign

I mean, you obviously know I try and stop at the entrance to National Parks to snap a quick pic and this was no different. There's a possibility I didn't love the shot we got and had the hubby stop again later so we could get a better one ;)

Sort of love that this entrance sign wasn't the traditional one you see at most other national parks.

It was chilly, but I thought my tank I was wearing matched the sign perfectly!

5. Jackson Lake Overlook

#RealTalk - When we drove by this overlook we kept driving because the clouds were covering the mountains (the main focus of the gorgeous view). It was so gray you couldn't even guess there was a HUGE, stunning mountain range hidden in the sky. Note - If the mountains are visible, I'd assume this would be a great place to stop and revel in their majesty!

It was so gray and cloudy we had no idea what we were looking at/ for

6. Hike Colter Bay Lakeshore Trail

Originally we were expecting the hubby's dad and his wife to join us on this portion of the adventure, but they wanted to head to their hotel for some R&R (after they cancelled their Revel 3 order, they had a trailer delivered to the campground in Yellowstone but decided to 'upgrade' to a hotel for the Grand Teton portion of the trip). This hike was selected with them in mind (pretty flat, fairly short, along the lake), but even though we ended up doing it on our own it was still awesome. Some of the route was closed due to bears, but we were familiar with these nature adjustments at this point in the trip.

A nice way to start the day We were hoping to see more wildlife, but we saw evidence critters were all around!

These warnings are meant to keep both you AND the wildlife safe! Please listen to them!

Stoked when we came across these water filling stations around the park. 

B. Willow Flats Overlook

We didn't have this stop on the original itinerary, but there were two reasons that made us add it. First, when we got to the park we picked up one of their "newspapers". Inside it had suggested places to go/ things to do. We took a few minutes to double check and make sure all of their suggestions had made our schedule. This was one they had recommended but we had missed it in our research. Secondly, after our morning hike the clouds started to break and you could actually see the Tetons! This was the first official pull-off we passed where we could see the range so we HAD TO pull over. 

The clouds were still stuck on the mountains a bit, but we could start to see just how amazing they were.

7. Signal Mountain Summit Road

In my research prior to the trip everyone had mentioned how the views from Signal Mountain were stunning. The park map did mention this road was closed for the winter, but thankfully winter in Grand Teton had ended and we were able to make the 5 mile drive up to the top to soak in the gorgeous views around us! Breathtaking doesn't begin to describe it!

Again, there were some clouds still stuck on the range, but stunning nonetheless!

This is the view with the Tetons behind me. There really wasn't a bad view anywhere you looked. 

C. Oxbow Bend

Oxbow Bend is the most photographed place in the entire park. The image of the Snake River with Mount Moran's reflection is iconic and is probably the most recognized image of Grand Teton National Park throughout the world. I normally prefer to do things that are a little more off the beaten path, but it's iconic for a reason so we had to stop!

I mean, come on now!

D. Cunningham Cabin

Not only are the scenic views amazing from the Cunningham Cabin, but it is actually the oldest structure left in the park. There is a ton of interesting history about the cabin (including a shootout with horse thieves, the cabin being used as a fort, etc), but we were distracted when we arrived. While the hubby was checking out the views, I went over to the cabin to pop my head in. I heard voices in one of the rooms. The one lady was saying "Hurry, hurry up, there are people coming." The other woman replied that she couldn't go any faster and that she needed something to wipe with before she could pull up her pants... YUP... I walked up on someone TAKING A POOP IN THE CORNER OF THIS HISTORIC BUILDING THAT WAS BUILT PRIOR TO 1900! I was disgusted, flabbergasted and outraged. I saw the hubby heading my way and I had to cut him off so he didn't walk in on the atrocity. I quietly told him what was going on and we quickly left the area. 

It was a quick walk from the parking lot to the cabin.

I wouldn't be mad to have these views at my ranch, that's for sure!

An older gentleman offered to take our photo and since we often don't have them together
(one of us is normally taking the picture so that person isn't in the shot) we took him up on it. 

The cabin and the iconic view through one of the back windows.

When we were leaving I looked up and noticed there was a halo around the sun. I'd never seen that before.

E. Snake River Overlook

I should probably mention that although these last few stops are lettered (meaning they weren't originally on the itinerary), we weren't planning on missing them! We originally had them on our schedule for the next day, but since we knew the weather could change in the blink of an eye (we experienced this firsthand during the previous four days in Yellowstone), we wanted to take advantage of the break in the clouds in case the views would be obscured the following day. 

Anywho, the Snake River Overlook is famous because of Ansel Adams. In 1942 he took the iconic picture of the Snake River and its meandering curves with the Tetons in the background. With the hubby being an artist (who went to art school and originally thought he would major in photography), this was a MUST stop. It's crazy that the area hasn't changed 'that much' in the almost 80 years since the original shot was taken (and to think of how much work went into getting the picture, when nowadays we can easily snap a photo on the mini computer many of us carry in our back pockets). 

Thankful for those who came before and have helped to preserve the area.

There are more trees now in the foreground, but you can totally see what Ansel Adams saw so many years before.

8. Jackson Hole

Like I mentioned earlier, the hubby's dad and his wife decided to move from a trailer to a hotel for the Grand Teton portion of our trip. Wanting to be close to where we were, they found a hotel in Jackson Hole to stay in for the couple days we were camping in the park. After we had done our fair share of exploring, we made our way to their hotel so we could shower (in case you were keeping track, this would be our second shower of the trip... #dirtbags) and go out to dinner. 

We walked around "town" for a bit, checking out all of the tourist trap sort of stores, snapping pictures at the town square, finally ending up at Hand Fire Pizza. (I had done a little Yelp research beforehand and saw that they had updated a vintage theater, meaning there'd probably be a cool ambiance, and offered vegan cheese options. Count us in!)

The hubby being silly with a bison.

A pretty awesome location if you ask me!

The space was very open, the service was speedy and friendly and the pizza was yummy. Couldn't ask for much more.

Everyone enjoyed their pizza and being able to put our feet up for a bit after being on the go for what felt like hours. Afterwards the hubby and his dad wanted to grab dessert (if you know the hubby, you know he's rarely {if ever} met a sweet treat he didn't like). With huckleberry being such a huge deal in the area, he decided on that flavor for ice cream. He said it was yummy, but they didn't have a vegan option [and I was still full from dinner ;)] so I passed.

He can ALWAYS make room for a little dessert ;)

Eventually it was time for us to head to our campground. We said our goodbyes and jumped into the AdventureMobile so we could set up camp for the evening. On the way back into the park, I had the hubby stop for another sign photo opp ;)

We were continually speechless with the views around us.

While the hubby was taking a picture of me a man pulled up and offered to snap a
photo of the two of us together. We were super grateful for the kindness of strangers.

When we checked into our site, we were told that they were trying to be extremely vigilant with the bears because the elk mamas were about to have their babies and they wanted the bears to stay away so the calves had a better chance to survive. [Just another reason to have our bear spray on us at all times!] We got everything set up in perfect timing to be able to enjoy a gorgeous sunset, capping off an amazing day while soaking in the last of the fan-freakin'-tastic views.

The views from the campground definitely did NOT suck!

Trying to be artsy with some flowers in the sunset ;)

The sun set later here than at home, so we were taking advantage of the extra sunlight and enjoying every moment!

And with that we called it a day and hit the hay. We had another full day planned for Friday, so needed our beauty sleep ;)

Have you ever been to Grand Teton National Park?

No comments: