Saturday, September 17, 2011

Grand Tetons

We caravaned with my parents for the short drive down from Yellowstone to Grand Teton National Park, stopping along the way for a picnic lunch. We pulled into Colter Bay campground where we were lucky to get adjacent campsites. Settled in, we went to the visitor center and then for a pleasant hike out along the lakefront. It was a beautiful, calm afternoon:

Put a pair of hiking poles in Nancy's hands and suddenly she's charging down the trail, leading the pack!

The next day was our only full day in the park, so we crammed a lot in. Unfortunately, the weather was unsettled. Much of the time the high peaks were hidden in cloud, and conditions were not ideal for photography. We drove the park road down to Jenny Lake where we gazed out across the water at the Teton Range (click to enlarge):

Then, closely pursued by a heavy storm cloud, we drove to the south end of the park, to the Lawrence S. Rockerfeller Preserve and got set up to have lunch. During lunch, however, the storm caught us, and we took shelter in the van while rain and hail hammered down. It was short lived, however, and left us in sun once more, perfect for the hike out to Phelps Lake. Mom and Dad stopped to identify plant species; Nancy with her poles tore up the trail!

Along the way:

Lake View:

At the end of the hike we took the time to step into the visitor center at the preserve. Not only was the architecture of the building stunning...

...but the displays within were top notch. A series of hanging video displays showed a continuous loop of nature and wildlife footage of the park, and a beautiful circular space...

...enveloped you in a 3 dimensional auditory experience of sounds of nature - a day in the park.

We made our way slowly back north, stopping to see two bull moose graze and nap by the river:

Then heading out along the Gros Ventre river and up to Antelope Flats where, sure enough, there were pronghorns-a-plenty:

More storm clouds played the late-afternoon sky:

We arrived back at camp on the late side, around 7:30, hungry and with only 1/2 hour of generator time left in the day - not enough to charge up for overnight. We munched pizza and went to bed, knowing that we were in for a cold morning. Sure enough, we shivered over coffee, waiting for 8:00 AM when our little Honda could come on, powering the furnace and restoring our living space to a more human temperature. Then it was time to pack up and say Goodbye, as Mom and Dad headed off to the airport, and we began our journey back east.

The Grand Tetons deserved more time than we gave them - time to contemplate their grandeur, hike their lofty peaks, mingle with their wildlife. We will return, someday, to this amazing part of our country.

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