Monday, August 13, 2012

Grand Teton National Park

First, we did very little of interest on Saturday or Sunday...laundry, checked out the house batteries (all 16 cells have excellent readings, and more distilled water added to each cell), and broke a small window on the screen entry door (opps! ...the one you move to be able to open the door...wanted to put up a plexiglass there anyway...)

So today we got up at 5 am, left by 6 am.  Stopped at Subway in West Yellowstone to get some breakfast, and off we drove through Yellowstone to the Tetons.  Now I know we have had enough of the Elk, but these ones were right along the road...and this young Buck was just too hard to pass up, along with the couple of females he was with....one of which might have been momma trying to ditch him due to his age.
While he was eating grass along side the road, this doe, perhaps his momma, walked across the road, went up the hill and vanished.  Now when we drove back through the area 11 hours later, this young buck was still there alongside the road...the park service had placed two volunteers in orange vests along the road to keep anyone from getting too close, and from what we could tell...the buck was in the same area, and still very close to the road.  We have not seen this type of behavior with other sightings we have had previously. 
Anyway, we pulled into a turnout just down from here and enjoyed our breakfast, then continued on down the road.  After a quick stop at the Grant Village store, and a quick run along in the tall grass for the dogs for the same purpose, we headed down to the Tetons.

Now I wish I could show you all the wonderful mountainous pictures we took...we did take them, and they are not ruined, but the smoke from the forest fires in Idaho, Utah and Oregon just messed up the sky, which was not blue, and hid much of the mountains until we got close.  Well, we can't have everything, and I think we will just have to come back in May another year down the road.

On the way (and on the way back), we got these pictures of Lewis Falls and the Lewis River along the south exit road in Yellowstone.



Yellowstone can sure offer a lot of views of many different things...once we drive the motor home through from the west exit to the east exit, we will have seen much of the park which can be seen by car...of course, there is a lot to see on foot, but hiking is something which we just don't do unless the GoGo can go along too.

And lucky for us, the Tetons have very good scenery too...unfortunate for us, the smoke hid much of it.  I will share a few shots we took along highway 287/191.
I think this picture tells it all....now if the sky was blue, these mountains would stand out like WOW!  But with this hazy smoke, it is hard to make them out...and this picture shows that we were not the only ones having problems...everyone I talked to who were taking pictures were bummed out...for many it was their first time here too, and for some it sounded like their only time here...some just passing through on their way north to Yellowstone.

But we did get some good shots up closer...and I will share them.

The views up close look fabulous...getting the pictures to come out better under the smokey conditions is a hard chore. The above one looks better (bluer) than we probably saw it, thanks to photoshop.   The one below is more what we saw....although as the day went on the angle of the sun did help some with the smoke.
 These two pictures have very little photoshop manipulation to them, and are from the southern-most area of the park.
The shot below is just south of the visitor's center, and had we been there 5-10 minutes earlier, we would have seen a young mouse.  That was a disappointment, but luck has a lot to do with seeing wildlife out in their natural habitat at times.

 We then visited the fairly new visitor's center, which is nice....except for...
 ...only half of the automatic door openers worked, and when I told them, the response was, "Yea, that has been a long struggle...you see, they are all hooked into the alarm system...."  Well, I am sorry, but this is a FEDERAL site, and since they demand businesses to have their buildings up to ADA standards, they should be sure that their facilities, especially brand new ones, are up-to-date in regards to ADA standards.  The second thing is that their movie auditorium is broken...well, that is what the sign says...so I don't know if the movie machine is broken, the lights within the theater are broken, or what.  I wish I could have seen a move about the park...perhaps on our next visit.
Otherwise the inside of the visitor's center was very nice, much like the one at Old Faithful.  Lots of exhibits, and very tasteful exhibits.

After our visit at the Visitor's Center, it was time to find a place to eat lunch.  Normally I would say that just about anywhere in the Jackson Hole Valley/Teton park area would do...but with the smoke hampering the views, I needed to find a place a little closer to a mountain.

The Jenny Lake Picnic Area is a major drop off point for canoeing and kayakers to set into the water. This was our view as we ate our lunch...and we were both amazed at the nice wooden Kayaks on that pick-up truck....but I did not get a close up of them.

And while Marcia makes the lunch, we get our always present visit from Skruffy Dog looking it all over from the back seat.
And after lunch, we finished the drive on this side road which takes you by Jenny Lake, and in a few places, you can really get a good view.  I imagine that on a crisp blue morning the reflection off the lake right here would be unreal!  Alas, perhaps next time.
We finished the drive of the Tetons, which included a drive through Jackson, which looks like a nice town to visit more another time.  We hope to be back....and we sure hope it will be before fire season, but after the snow has melted from all the roadways....and I have a feeling that there will be more wildlife out then with fewer people out on vacation visiting the park.

Note:  When we got home, it was so smokey that we could not see the mountains on the other side of the lake, and the reddish sun was barely able to sneak through.  As far as I can tell, the nearest fire to us is about 125 miles away...but there are so many of them, and a few are fairly good size fires. 

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