Grand Teton NP

As we drove through the town of Jackson on Friday, July 16, it was evident that summer was in full swing with just the traffic and the corners loaded with folks. I made reservations as soon as I could for Gros Ventre in Grand Teton NP and also Colter Bay over a 6-day period. Our son and girlfriend were joining us for the first five days. After the Tetons it was on to Yellowstone and points beyond. The campground was full even though it was the first time on the reservation system. We settled in by 3:00 after getting water, and Ian and Cassie arrived around 5:00 after he picked her up at the airport. They were in another site just down the road. We had time to walk to the river, make dinner and plan for our activity for the next day, a guided raft trip in two days and also discover we had a mouse in the trailer.

The Gros Ventre River is a three minute hike from our site.

Our site #311 was just big enough to fit the trailer, had privacy, close to the river and water.

Leaving the campground after breakfast, the park newspaper became our guide. Mormon Row was our first stop, but on the way we saw a pronghorn buck walk through sagebrush along side the road. We knew it was going to be a great day! The Mormon Row landscape is gorgeous with the Tetons in the background and the sky was clear enabling us to see clearly all the peaks. We spent about a half hour there looking at the buildings and reading about the area. Next destination was Lower Schwabacher Landing and even though it was 10:25 when we arrived it was still uncrowded. This place is breathtaking with the Snake River meandering through it and as we walked on the trail, a very kind person told us there was a moose up ahead! Finally, we all got to see our first moose! It was perfect, and eating the plants in the river with the Tetons behind it. We also walked another section of the landing hoping to see another moose, but to no avail. Next up was the Snake River Overlook area where Ansel Adams took his picture of the river and the Tetons. This was one busy area due to the fact it was a pull-out parking lot. Cunningham Cabin was next, and we walked the area around the cabin watching the geese eat in the field beyond the cabin, not crowded at all. Just before lunch we hit the Oxbow Bend turnout and took in the views of the river and watched paddle boards and kayaks float down it. Lunch found us at the Signal Mountain Lodge enjoying the patio view of Jackson Lake. After lunch and getting some mouse traps at the little store we headed to Jenny Lake, and by this time-of-day parking was horrible and we managed to park somewhat questionably and took in a view of the lake. We planned to return later in the week, in the morning, when it wasn’t so crowded to hike. Menor’s Ferry was the last stop and we took in the homestead and how one crossed the river back in the day. We hit the Visitors Center 20 minutes before closing with the intent of returning the next day.

Taking the road to the right out of the campground allowed us to see wildlife right away, specifically this Pronghorn, the fastest animal in the Western Hemisphere

The iconic barn on Mormon Row. When we arrived we easily parked and visitors were minimal.

MY FIRST MOOSE and the only one we saw.

The kids!

Snake River Overlook,. Ansel Adams was quite the visionary and so talented with his eye!

J. Pierce Cunningham was also a visionary, arriving when he was just 20 in 1885, and his cabin is still there.

We lucked out with lunch and this view!

That night we had a great camp dinner, planed to use our paddle boards and kayak, and float down the Snake around the Oxbow Area the next day. But before we went to sleep we set a mouse trap. And in the morning, we managed to catch the mouse. This was momentous as it was our first time ever with a mouse in the trailer. We think it came in a hole that was made when our black and grey tanks were worked on. Also, there was food in a compartment that was not self-contained, lesson learned.
After a fabulous breakfast we left with all our gear heading to float. It was about 11:00 and as we entered the park we had to have our water equipment inspected, and because our kayak was over 10 feet we had to have a special permit from the National Park and also a permit from the state of Wyoming. We headed for Colter Bay and the marina, first visiting the visitors center to get the NPS permit and then the marina for the state permit. Also we needed life jackets for the paddleboards. Much money later and after having lunch at the Café Court Pizzeria we finally got on the water at 3:30. We had two cars and left one at Pacific Creek, putting in at Cattleman’s Bridge. It was great weather, and we lucked out as most of the thunderstorm weather usually manifested around that time but not that day. The trip was around 3 hours, and we enjoyed every minute. This river is tame compared to the Trinity River where we live. Ian and Cassie moved their camp that evening into ours as they had to be out the next day and our float trip was at 8:00 am.

Starting point and the temp was in the high 80’s.

A bit hazy as the CA fire drift smoke was beginning to be seen.

That’s us in our inflatable Sea Eagle.

The water was so clear to see fish. Cutthroat Trout might be seen in the water.

The next morning, we were up early to go on a float trip through the Triangle X Ranch. Meeting at 8 am we were in the water by 8:45. The float began after we were picked up and driven to Deadman’s Bar launch site. The float was great, with views, and some wildlife. The highlight was spying a family of Sandhill Cranes. We had an informative guide and learned a lot and it lasted about 2 hours. That night there was some thunder activity, but with the awning on the trailer we were able to relax and watch it.

Ian and John had the best views.

Cassie and I had the best background view!

Our guide was so strong with the oars and gave us a great eating recommendation.

I found the Sandhill Cranes first!!!

Tuesday, July 20th we all needed to go into Jackson, Cassie and Ian to do laundry and some internet work, John and I to grocery shop. He rode his bike from the campground into town and I drove the truck. I easily found parking and walked about the town, then we all met up for lunch at a place that our guide from the day before had told us about. Great lunch, then Ian and Cassie hit the library, us the town again, getting gas and groceries. It poured rain, but luckily it was warm as we navigated through it. Back at camp we had a great dinner, talked about us moving the next day up to a site at Colter Bay, then moving on to Yellowstone and points further until most likely Labor Day when we would start to journey home. They were moving on back towards California, Cassie flying and Ian driving.

Fiesta Méxican Restaurant – the best!

Jackson was fun to visit!

The next morning we awoke to a phone call from our daughter. There had been in a tragic accident while her family were camping in California the evening before. We all left Gros Ventre as soon as we could and headed back to CA cancelling all future plans.

Jackpot, Nevada at Saguaro RV Park

Martis Creek CG outside Truckee, CA