Friday, August 14, 2015

Grand Teton National Park - Adventure Day 4

Just like clockwork, I heard those coyote again last night around midnight. This time I woke Scott up to hear them! We heard them again early in the morning when we were brewing the coffee. It wasn't long when Patti came straggling up the stairs and plunked on the couch and said she was exhausted - she didn't think she could make it thru another day. She then asked me if I was on crack or something and just where I get all my energy - haha! I managed to guilt her into heading to Grand Teton National Park for the day! ;) Steve finally came straggling upstairs and Patti got to work on scrambling eggs and frying some ham for breakfast. We all made some bagel club sandwiches and loaded up the cooler for the day. We all agreed that we were a little tired of the same road thru Yellowstone and couldn't bear to take that route for a third day to head to the Grand Tetons at 45mph. We looked at the map and decided to take the long really long route via Idaho to get back to WY. Steve wanted to go thru another state anyway to check off all the states he has been in, so we set off with the map and GPS for Adventure Day 4!
Some people might call us crazy, but we opted to take the 2 hour 25 min route over the 1 hour 51 min route with almost twice the amount of milage. It ended up being quite a scenic route tho to see a whole different terrain from what we had seen the past 3 days. It was raining off and on the whole way and I was a little disappointed that we might be driving all that way for a rainy day. When we got to Driggs, we stopped at a really nice grocery store and talked to a couple from Texas who had been to the Grand Tetons the day before. They were heading to Yellowstone for the day and wondered what the best route was. They said that GTNP was very congested - lots of people - I hated to tell them that YNP would no doubt be the same scenario for them! They gave us a few highlighted places to check out, but we ended up just sort of following the park map to navigate some highlights.
After what seemed like forever, we finally made it to the park entrance!
We drove thru a winding dirt road thru heavy woods for awhile before we reached the Welcome Center. It really was a beautiful drive. It was raining, so we decided to stop and go inside the Welcome Center, which was full of all kinds of information about the park - really very interesting! There was a huge map display that we could walk around and see all the features of the park. 
One place I really had my heart set on was going to Morman Row - I've always heard it's a fantastic place to get some awesome photos of old barns with the Grand Tetons in the background. Unfortunately the road to Morman Row was closed due to bad road conditions. Since it was raining, I figured I wouldn't get the fabulous shots that was in my mind's eye anyway. 
We headed back to the car as the rain stopped and the skies were slowing trying to lighten up. This was the first glimpse of the Grand Teton's that I captured! I was a bit disappointed that it was still so gloomy with heavy clouds hanging and still spitting rain off and on. I was just hoping and praying it wouldn't last all day.
 Oh what beautiful sights of these majestic mountains we saw as we traveled towards Jenny Lake! It was breath-taking beauty!
We arrived at Jenny Lake and blue skies were just starting to appear and Patti was reading us all about how Jenny Lake got it's name. Jenny Lake is named after a Shoshone Indian woman who married an Englishman, Richard Leigh. Jenny, and their 6 children died of Smallpox in 1876.
Jenny Lake is estimated to be 423 feet deep and encompasses 1,191 acres. It is considered to be a major focal point in Grand Teton National Park, with many hiking trails, scenic boat rides, and quick access to the major climbing route onto the tallest peaks of the Teton Range.
We had originally planned to take a boat ride across the lake and do some hiking, however after three days of hiking at Yellowstone and the iffy weather, we decided to pass on the boat ride and hikes and just enjoy the beautiful scenery from where we were at. 
After leaving there, we stayed on the Teton Park Road, heading to Signal Mountain. We drove the road up to the top of Signal Mountain and ohhhh what a view!
The white square in the middle of the photo is actually the river and dam at Jackson Lake.

 We thought this US Geological Survey Medallion was pretty neat at the top of the mountain.
Another view from up top of Signal Mountain!

After coming down off the mountain, we headed towards Jackson Lake Dam. 
The views on the way were nothing short of spectacular!

Mt Moran taken from the front side of Signal Mountain
We were getting hungry for lunch, so stopped at Chapel of the Sacred Heart to stretch our legs and find a picnic spot. This chapel was built in 1937.

 We found a great picnic spot on the shores of Jackson Lake.
What a view and the skies were clearing to a beautiful day!

It didn't take long for us to head down to the shoreline and take our shoes off to walk in the crystal clear water! That was until some locals warned us of the leeches! Ack!!!
That comment got us out of the water quick and shoes back on our feet!

 It was just a beautiful setting tho with all the stones, the clear water and mountain range!
Jackson Lake is a beautiful lake and really quite large, but not as big as Yellowstone Lake. We got back on the road heading to the Jackson Lake Dam - oh what beauty for our eyes to see! This shot was taken on the bridge above the dam.

 While on the bridge, I got this shot of an Osprey in flight!

 This is the view on the dam side of the bridge - so serene and beautiful!
We then headed on toward Colter Bay, where we stopped at the Marina to have a look around. This was quite a large marina that was all tucked into a pretty bay with gorgeous views of the mountains! 
We talked to a local, who told us that the boating season there is very short - only from about June thru September. There were some beautiful boats docked there and I just couldn't fathom the expense in such elaborate boats for such a short season to enjoy them!
 This was our view as we were leaving Jackson Lake and heading 
north towards Yellowstone.
 We crossed the Continental Divide again as we headed back to West Yellowstone and our cabin, completing a huge circle for our full day of travels!
When we got back, we stopped in West Yellowstone and hit the gift shops again and ordered some pizza to take back to our cabin. This is our last night at our awesome cabin, tomorrow we head to Bozeman for the last night of our Adventure-filled trip!

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