Grand Tetons… “Moody Beauty”

Yellowstone sprawls. It’s the biggest of our National Parks …. and so I found it ironic that there’s another National Park just outside its borders! When I heard this, my first thought was… “that’s so goofy! Why didn’t they just make Yellowstone a bit bigger and include the Grand Tetons?”

But .. ah.. the product guy in me can now understand: two very different value-propositions! Once you see these amazing mountains in person …. it’s clear they deserve their own namesake!

Boom! Welcome to Grand Teton!

We’d had clear blue skies for 5 days in Yellowstone. But the forecast for Grand Teton and Jackson, WY was …. clouds and rain. Would we end up seeing the mountains at all? And if they were shrouded in clouds… would that erode what we heard was their incredible majesty?

The Glorious Grand Tetons

Just 20 minutes after one drives out of Yellowstone’s southern border, the Grand Tetons seem to spring out of the earth just across Jackson Lake and, with a gasp, take your breath away. We stopped the car immediately and more than once just to look…

First day at Grand Teton

We didn’t know the area at all — and had booked a room at one of the ski lodges in the Jackson Hole area. Coming from the north, this created an interesting storyline! On the way we trusted Google Maps route — which took us on a narrow, winding, partially-dirt-paved, nearly-one-way “road” that actually forbid RVs. We saw ANOTHER RV coming OUT of the road .. so we assumed we’d be fine. (echo of my dad’s words… “if johnny jumped off a bridge would YOU do it too?”) But Kristina was driving — and as you all know, she’s FAR crazier than me– so in we went. We had to fold-in the rear-view mirrors just to be able to fit as other cars came the other direction, shaking fists at us!

We arrived in the early evening, and the kids were delighted that Jackson Hole had a Thai restaurant nearby after all the Montana Americana food of the last week. With no Uber or Lyft (sigh, COVID)… we made a mad dash through the rain to get our dinner back to the hotel. Oh, so rewarding!

Wildlife Abounds! With Ambulances on the side…

At Grand Teton — much like Yellowstone– Sometimes you’re just driving through the park… and suddenly there’s bedlam because… somebody spotted a bear! The traffic grinds to a halt, cars line the road, the rangers and volunteers start walking the roadside giving instructions.. and they even pull an ambulance up… just in case.

The scene below happened when “Grizzly 610 and her cub” happened to be on the side of the road. We got just one glance before parking… then … nothing. Felt like fishing! Note the serious camera gear some of these folks are sporting…

At other times, viewing wildife is peaceful and beautiful… and can be kinda planned out. One evening we signed up to join a wildlife tour, which was terrific because these folks (a) know where to look (ahem, radios) and (b) have amazing, high-powered spotting scopes which actually let you watch the animals. Most of the photos below are taken through the scope.

It was amazing to see Grizzly 399 (famous!) with two of her cubs! If you, like our girls, think Grizzly Bear cubs sound like the cutest thing ever. definitely click on the photo below so you can see the cub’s adorable face!

A nice mid-day in Jackson

We really enjoyed the town of Jackson as well. We got the chance to meet our friends, the Ratliffs, for a nice dinner (yay!) … and to see all the non-ironically-offered western apparel and decor. No, we didn’t purchase any of these fine accoutrements … not enough room in the RV cargo hold with the golf bags and diving gear…

In Grand Teton… it’s the scenery that wins the day…

Both days we were in town we had rain, on-and-off, with plenty of cloud cover. This pre-empted doing some of the amazing hikes in the area (sigh)… and wasn’t great for photography. Still… in the late afternoon as we were on our wildlife tour, the clouds had ominous and gaping holes, so the sun would occasionally add a majestic background-lighting effect … and our guide said “that scene is amazing … it’s so… MOODY.”

Moody is right… but gorgeous nonetheless. You’ll see what he meant…

We really loved it here. Two days — with rain– were surely not enough. But now… onward to Utah where the temps are in the triple-digits. Time to pack away the sweatshirts and hope we don’t melt!

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