Are We Done Yet?

Day is Done, Gone the Sun (Almost)

Mount Moran

Is this day done yet? It’s been awesome but I’m starting to get tired. The views have been amazing and I saw a little wildlife. It was a lot of driving!

Prong Horn

That pronghorn trotting down the center line was just about the frosting on the cake. Talk about a close encounter! Its just a little bit farther to Moran Junction and from there home to Teton Village.

Mule DeerThis day is Not Done with me yet

I passed through the park exit to reach the Visitor Center and Moran Junction. As I crossed over the little bridge near the Visitor Center I noticed a car pulled to the shoulder. What are they looking at? Tired as I was I couldn’t pass up checking it out.  There were 2 beautiful mule deer standing in the field near the river.


Mule Deer and MeMule Deer

The deer were as still as statues. As I sat watching I began to wonder if someone had put a decoy out there. Not even the ears were moving.  I watched some more. Finally one took a step. The other continued to stare at me all that way across the field. I wished for the binoculars that I forgot to pack or my big lens. I only had my  300 mm. It’s good but not for that far away.

The Proof is in the photo

Finally I got out of my car and walked across the road. It got me a little closer but the deer didn’t spook. I braced myself against a tree trunk and opened the lens up all the way. Voila! This is what I got. They are certainly a healthy looking pair. But now it was really time to head back.

2 mule deer

The Sleeping Indian

As I pulled into Teton Village I spotted a mountain formation known as the Sleeping Indian. You can see the headdress. The 2nd mountain is like his breastplate. Can you see it?

Sleeping Indian

Flat Creek and the Elk Refuge

Flat Creek in the Elk SanctuaryFlat Creek, Jackson

Flat Creek in Jackson runs just behind the visitor center. and follows route 89 as you are leaving Jackson for the National Park. This section of Flat Creek is part of the National Elk Sanctuary. Folks come to Flat Creek for the fly fishing. I came for the birds. The river is on a migration path and always filled with birds. Ducks, coots and even swans filled the waterway. 

Fish HatcheryTeton Range

About now my Gaperguide chimed in. A fish hatchery was coming up on the right.  I chose not to stop but I gather the hatchery is trying to rescue the cutthroat trout in the area from introduced lake trout. Cutthroat trout support many of the birds and animals in this eco-system. Bear feed on them, eagles and otters join in.  Animals can’t catch the lake trout so it’s crucial to the habitat to maintain the stocks of the cut throat trout. Amazing how man’s meddling can have such far reaching consequences.

Entering Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

As I pass the Fish Hatchery the road climbs a small hill. You’ll get your first real view of the Teton Range as you reach the top. I never tired of the way you come over that hill and the mountains are right in front of you! Beautiful and breath-taking; minimal foot hills. It’s like someone just dropped the mountains in the middle of a flat plain. My Gaperguide was on the job reminding me to slow down. It even suggested a photo op. The park entrance was coming up. The Park Sign has a terrific view of the namesake mountains. 

Gros Ventre Junction

The Elk Refuge follows along on my right. The next turnoff is Gros Ventre Junction.  The area is named for the Gros Ventre (pronounced grow vaunt) Native American tribe that migrated down from Montana to hunt bison. Taking a right here will lead to the little Town of Kelly, population 138.


From the Mountains to the Valleys

Grand Teton Mountain Range

Grand Teton Moutains

The Teton mountains put the Grand In Grand Teton National Park. They are mountains you can only imagine. It is their spectacular images that led to the creation of the Grand Teton National Park. Located in the Northwest section of Wyoming it encompasses the valley of Jackson Hole. Wild and rough, there are few roads. Activities are mostly hiking , fishing and camping. I will add one more, wildlife viewing! The park is mainly the inner and outer loop roads and a few “spurs”. The same road that travels through Grand Teton, Route 89, takes you to the south entrance to Yellowstone.

A Small ParkThe Grand Teton

Grand Teton National Park is not a huge park. You can drive most of it in one day. The roads are laid out in a big loop with the highway to Yellowstone the main road. Its also called the “outer loop”. The inner loop runs along the base of the mountains for up close looks. The park is about 482 sq. miles. It includes the 40 mile long Teton range and most of Jackson Hole. This is a high elevation park and altitude sickness is not unknown. Elevations in the park range from 6320 feet in Jackson Hole, to 13,770 feet atop Grand Teton. Moreover, many hikes in the park begin above 6,800 feet, and easily climb to 10,000 feet and higher. There were signs posted in the reception area of the resort warning visitors to be aware of the symptoms. 

Sunrise on the mountain topasUp at Dawn Mountain Time

I was awake by 6 am and ready to roll. My grocery excusion had stocked breakfast foods and snacks for the drive.  6 am is not that early. It’s Mountain Time so it was really 8 am on the east coast. I felt like I was sleeping late! The Valet brought my car around while I admired the first light hitting the mountain peaks. The air was cold, about 25 degrees, but clean and crisp. It was quite invigorating. Strangely it didn’t feel as cold as the temps said. My winter coat was soon warming the back seat, just in case.


Views Along the Newfound Gap Road

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The views along this route are beautiful.

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The forest floor was covered in wildflowers. The sky was so blue. Here are just a few more moments captured in time.

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I know mountains like these…the mountains of the east. They are older than the Rockies or the Cascades but in some ways no less wild.

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Maybe growing up in the middle of the Adirondacks gave me an appreciation for these forested slopes. Or maybe not, maybe they are something everyone appreciates. After all, the Great Smokey Mountain National Park is the most visited National Park of them all.

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