States Visited Today
Today (July 2, 2020) started off great. We woke up really early to be able to watch the sunrise over the Tetons.
The drive around the south of the Tetons was quite nice. Our destination for the day was Grand Teton National Park. The park was originally established in 1929. The name of the Tetons came from French trappers and means “teats” in English. You can only imagine what some lonely men, out in the western wilderness away from any women, could have been thinking about at the time. The mountain range is about 40-miles long and was created by many earthquakes that have occurred over the last few million years. Its’ tallest peak, Grand Teton, rises to about 13,775 feet.
As soon as we entered the Grand Teton National Park we saw a lone moose just grazing in the middle of the field. It may be hard to make it out in the below photo.
We went straight to the Jenny Lake Campground, but it was full. As we were not willing to wait, we next went to the Signal Mountain and then the Colter Bay Campgrounds, but they were full as well. Let that be a lesson to you. Trying to get into first-come campgrounds in national parks, even during a pandemic, is quite difficult. If we were willing to wait around we may have had some luck, but we wanted to explore, not sit around and do nothing. We did get some good pictures along the way though.
We then decided to go back to Jenny Lake. By this time, some time after noon, the giant parking lot was full and there were people parking way out on the main road. Talk about craziness! As we had no desire to wade through potentially thousands of people we took the short drive over to Mormon Row. Mormon Row gets its’ names from, you guessed it, the Mormons who originally settled this corner of Wyoming. It was a dirt/gravel road so be prepared for a terrible road to drive on if you go there. We took a few pictures at the ever famous barn that has the mountains in the background.
There wasn’t really anything going on here though so we quickly left and drove over to the next closest campground to see if we could get lucky. Of course, we did not. At this point we were quite frustrated and decided to just get a room in Jackson, not far to the south.
I had marked a trail not far from Mormon Row so we went back up it a little ways to Blacktail Butte. And, my, was it a hike. The way up it reminded me of a step-pyramid or a ziggurat in that we would would climb for a bit, sometimes on a slope at or exceeding 45 degrees, and then it would be flat for a short time. There were more than a few layers like this on the way up.
The rest of the hike wasn’t bad and had some pretty bushes and flowers.
When we reached the top the views of the Tetons were amazing. The trip up took about an hour while the way back took only about 45 minutes.
After this lovely hike we went into Jackson to check into our motel. Andrea found a cool little place to eat at called Jackson Drug. I think both of us had a bison burger and I had a marshmallow milkshake (they had a lot of people just ordering shakes or ice cream). Their fries were great too. We would eat there again. Then we walked around town for a little bit and found a t-shirt for each of us. We wanted to get up super early the next day for more hiking in the Grand Tetons so we went back to the motel and went to bed before the sun set. Even after all of the frustration it was still a good day.