Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Grand Tetons

The Grand Tetons:

The story goes that The Grand Tetons was named by French trappers, who had obviously spent far too much time in the wild.  Grand Tetons roughly means large breasts.  Anyway, they are grand.  More like Glacier then Yellowstone.  Interesting fact, if you are coming directly from Yellowstone, you do not pass a ranger station because you never leave the national park system.  We were staying at Colter Bay, only about an hour or so from Old Faithful Inn.   An easy ride.  The mountains here are spectacular.  Again, we had fantastic weather, clear, sunny, cool.  The trees were turning 

Aspen trees I have been told.  I have to admit I really did not know what to expect here, but I did not expect these pops of color.  Not the reds and oranges of a New England fall, but no less beautiful.  We staying at Colter Bay Cabins, these cabins were originally built in the 20's & 30's and moved to their current location in the 50's when the places like Jackson Lake Lodge and Signal Mountain.  It is a small little community, it has a grocery store, a gift shop (yes, we did pay a visit) a marina and a few other things.

This was one of the rooms of our cabin.  Two rooms like this and a bathroom, it would have been perfect with some type of common room in the middle.  Oh, if I only ran the world.  This was a very cozy space, but due to the fact that you could see the outside from the inside in a couple of places, I am pretty sure I would not want to spend a winter night here.  Of course, that would be difficult since it was closing 8 days after we checked in.  The women at the office seemed quite excited by that fact.

But it was great for a couple of nights in the fall.

The Grand Tetons is pretty small (compared to other National Parks), but it sure has a lot packed into it.  There is Jackson Lake Lodge, where you can sit and look out over a meadow and see the Elk, the occassional bear and perhaps a wolf, all while you drink your favorite cocktail or fake beer.  All while waiting for the sun to set behind this:

There is Jenny Lake:

Jenny Lake is crystal blue glacier lake named for the wife of a fur trapper that worked in this area.  His name was Beaver Dick Leigh and I am assuming that he trapped beaver and his full name was Richard.  Not that he was a dick that chased beaver.  Don't worry Dick has his own lake, Leigh Lake is named after him.  

We took a boat tour of Jenny Lake, just an hour or so out of our day and well worth it.  A local boy, named Jessie, born in Jackson Hole and raised in these mountains.  He was full of great information and presented it really well.  He had been a history major in college and I really wished I had gone to college and been a history major right then.  Anyway, we tooled around the lake and got to look at beautiful things and hear some great stories.  

We visited the Jackson Lake Dam.  It was a dam good time.

And they had nice pit toilets here.  Always a plus.

One morning my beloved and I got up early to go in search of Moose.  We went to a little trail near Jackson Lake Lodge, Christian Pond trail.  Just right past the horse corral and keep in mind the horses use this trail and had been out not long before we used the trail.  Good thing we know what horse poop looks like or we might have been afraid that there was some bear on the trail with some bad digestive problems.  We met the lovely Fred & Christine on the trail (they were on their way back) we got to the pond, which by all descriptions was a perfect place for moose to be, but alas no moose were found.  We did hear some bear like growling, so we made some noise and turned around and headed by the way we had come.

You can leave the park pretty easily and at one point we did.  I was glad because we came upon this historical site:

This was the Cunningham cabin.  Mr. Cunningham and his wife lived in this cabin in the 1850's for two years, they then moved into a much nicer house which I am sure they were both grateful for.  Mr. Cunningham was a rancher that originally opposed the Grand Teton National Park, but eventually was instrumental in getting over 70 other ranchers to donate land for it.  He went onto to be a advocate for the park.  Thank you Mr. Cunningham and your strong wife that put up with living in this place for two years while you built your ranch.  

We also hit a place called Moose, yes that is the name.  We had drinks at a place called Dornans, started out as a homestead and evolved into a very cool place to rest, relax and maybe get a little something to drink.  Yes, there was a giftshop here and this is where I had two women tell me that they had just seen moose, I got the details and off we went.  We travelled up the road and back, we did not see moose.  One would think that at a place called Moose Junction, one would see moose.  But no, they were not cooperating.  We headed back to the park and pulled up to the ranger station and while chatting to the ranger, asked if anyone had reported see moose in the park today.  She told us, yes, over at Oxbow Bend.  Well we had been there earlier and did not see any.  While I do not usually buy into conspiracy theories, I am beginning to think that everyone you ask about moose lies!  What would be the reason?  I don't know, but I have a sneaky suspicion that moose do not really exist.  Kind of like bigfoot (well, not bigfoot because I do believe that).  But the thought of them keeps people coming in search of.

We explored Menors Ferry Landing.  Two brothers with homesteads on different side of the Snake River and opened a ferry business to get people from one side to the other.  Holiday and Bill Menors tough men that in addition to running a ferry, one of them ran a lime kiln.  That is put linestone in an oven and burn it for a few days until you have powdered lime to use to whitewash your house or to throw in your pit toilet.  Bill opened a general store on his property.  Both brothers stayed in this land for a long time, but eventually moved on to California where they died within a year of each other.

In 1925 a small little chapel was moved to this area:

The Episcopal Chapel of the Transfiguration - a lovely little spot.  On any trip you come across places that are spiritual, whether it is a little church like this or a spot on a rock over looking a lake or Notre Dame you feel it.  I felt it in this place, maybe it was because of this view:

Our time is drawing to a close.  We leave the next morning to start our ride home.  While not as long as the ride to the first stop, long enough.

Next time - the ride home.

No comments: