The Majesty of Grand Teton | 2019 Summer Road Trip, Part 4
So it's morning. This is day four, technically. Last night I slept in a city park in Lander, Wyoming. I'm right next to a little river here. Very nice.
There's a whole lot of other camper vans in this park as well. It's a free park. The city, I guess, encourages people to stay here. I'm gonna get up here pretty soon and head up to the Tetons. And that should be interesting. I'm still a little tired, but it's about 6am...
and if I can get a head start and beat all these other folks out of here... maybe i'll have a little bit less traffic to deal with. I'm gonna make some breakfast and then hit the road.
Oh yeah. I look pretty bad. I need a shower. I haven't taken one since Syracuse, Kansas. Ugh.
There it is. The majesty of the Tetons. There will be a shot. There will be an opportunity for a great great photo. I know it.
Grand Teton National Park. In 1000 feet, slight right. Alright we're about to enter Grand Teton National Park.
So this is a fee area. And two days ago when I was in... Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, I bought one of these.
It's an annual park pass. Eighty dollars gets you into any National Park that has a fee area, for one year from the point of purchase. And I figured, well I'm gonna be going into enough National Parks on this trip that this might be worth it. Plus, if I go traveling again in the next year I'll still have the park pass. Of course I'll still pay for for camping and other little things, you know, tours and whatnot. But the actual entrance fees are waived because of the park pass.
Hello! Hey. How are you? Good. Here, do you need a map of the Tetons? Uh yeah, I'll take one. Alright, there you are. Thank you. Have a great day.
Appreciate it. Alright we are now in Grand Teton National Park. *Sigh* Gosh, this place is gorgeous. Okay. I'm going to go to Colter Bay. Hopefully find a campground that has an available spot to park.
And get a shower. Oh, I need a shower so bad. I haven't had a shower.
Visitors center is way down here, I think. Alright, so campground and rv park. I think we want to try and do that one first- In thousand feet sharp left. Yeah, I'm gonna just exit that out.
It might not be a bad idea to just go ahead and park. Let's go to the visitor center first and talk to somebody. Then figure out if I can get a site. Well, Colter Bay was not a complete disaster. I didn't get a campsite, however... I did get a shower.
There's a shower house here. It cost me about four dollars fifty cents... But I feel nice and clean and refreshed now.
So what I'm going to do is get my Tetons map here... and wander on down to, I believe, Jenny Lake. I'll take the Teton park road which would be a nice scenic drive down south. I might go all the way down to the Craig Thomas, the main visitor center. And then come back up the other road, whatever that is. And then I don't know...
Maybe I'll talk to a ranger at one of these visitor centers and figure out, because there's a whole bunch of camping places along the road... And perhaps what I might do, is after I finish this stuff down at Jenny Lake and Jackson Lake and all the stuff south here... I might just go north and camp at one of these campsites that's further up the road. And, if I can get a site. That way, tomorrow I'm a lot closer to the entrance at Yellowstone.
That's gonna be my plan. So, I got some snacks. I got my heating pad up because my shoulder is really really burning. All this driving and holding my arm out like this, it's putting a knot right back there on my shoulder blade.
And I need to take it easy. Maybe just use this arm to drive. But, anyway. Time to rock and or roll.
There's the Jackson Lake Dam. That's a lot of water. We're out on the dam at Jackson Lake. It's quite a sight.
We'll see how my knee handles these stairs. DANGER of drowning. No kidding. When I was a kid we'd go on vacations. It was a running joke in our family that my mom liked to take us to see dams and fish hatcheries.
Here in my adult life and I'm visiting a dam. I'm sure she would get a chuckle out of that. I just drove over that dam. Normally that would have given me a slight panic attack.
I did really well. To be quite frank, this whole trip I've been doing really well... in terms of driving with anxiety. I don't know.
Maybe being on the open road has just been somewhat therapeutic. It helps that most places that I've been to so far there's been very few people, very few cars. Yesterday, when I was in Wyoming it got... ...mentally taxing... ...because I was driving on these highways that were out the middle of nowhere. I mean I had points where I was driving for 20 minutes at a time without passing anybody coming the other direction.
It's all cow pastures, snow fences, some places- oh a snake! Let's get a quick look at it. Huh, I wonder what kind of snake is that. Wow, I haven't seen a snake in a while. First snake I've seen this trip. I'll try to get a picture of him here.
Well, that was fun. I got distracted. I was talking about my driving across Wyoming. As I said, there were lots of straight long roads. Like you would get on a road, you go over a hill, and once you come over that hill... you would see the road going straight for miles.
I'm talking like 5-10 miles a time. Mind-numbing. I get a lot of weird looks holding the 360 camera. They don't know what to make of it. Is it a selfie stick? Here we go.
Jenny Lake. So these are all walking trails to go to Jenny Lake? Yes. Okay, so we are.... We're right here, in this developed area.
It's a paved path that goes down... About how long is it? Oh, 15 minutes at the most. Okay. Depending on how long you stop and look at the overlooks.
Alright, I guess right here or right over there? Well that one's the way to start. And that's where they have the info about the Discovery Trail and the lake and everything. I'll just take one of these.
Yep, sure. Thank you. Alright. Let's do it.
Discovery Trail. Okay this is the Jenny Lake Discovery Trail. The ranger says about 15 minutes. It's really weird.
Ever since the dam, actually ever since I got out of the shower my knee has been feeling a lot better. Not like it was this morning, so maybe I can do this trail without too much effort. Oh yeah, the lake right there. It looks amazing. Probably ice cold glacial water.
This is jenny lake where you are now and it's a glacially carved lake. Okay. So, over here is Cascade Canyon and over time glaciers pushed down rock and debris and created our glacial marine which is like a natural dam. That's why when you drive in you see all that sagebrush flats where it's not really great soils not a lot of trees over there. Right. But when you come over here you see all these trees um in a circle around Jenny Lake.
Alright. That was all that nutritious soil from the mountains being pushed down by our glaciers and then creating again that terminal moraine that stops. Ah, okay. Is there still somewhat of a glacier up there now? Yeah, so we actually have 11 active glaciers in the park. They're from a different time period.
They're from the little ice age. And this all happened during a Pinedale period which was about 50,000 years ago. Okay, it's my understanding that the mountains were formed by like plate shifting or something like that? Yeah so what happened, there was excess heat and then the plate started to stretch, and crack. And it was a fault block, so the mountains rose the valley floor dropped.
So our mountains are continuing to rise and our valley floor is continuing to drop. So I like to say Grand Teton is the second tallest mountain in Wyoming, but the one day it could be the first. Great, so we're on the valley side of the fault? Currently right now, yes. So on the other side it's more of a gentle curve, gentler grade up than it is here.
It feels really sharp. Yeah, yeah definitely. So along this 40 mile stretch there are areas where it kind of teeters off. But this is the big uplift. So many of the rocks that we have in here are going to be granite and gneiss.
So I always tell people they can go home saying they saw some gneiss mountains. Very good. Mmmhmm. Stay up. Oh well.
I don't want to get my camera wet. Oh yeah. That's ice cold. Giant moose.
There's the main visitor center. So here's what she was talking about. One plate moving up, one plate moving down. Oh my god.
God I'm just...ugh. I'm so enamored. Can I just stay here forever. Turn left, then you will arrive at your destination. You have arrived. Alright, well I've stopped in...this is Lizard Creek Campground.
I was actually very lucky. I got the very last spot in the campground. This is pretty far north in Grand Teton National Park. I'm actually about nine and a half miles from the northern border of the park, which is the southern entrance to Yellowstone, where i'll head into tomorrow morning. I just had a little bit of dinner. Kind of settled in.
It's already dark out here. One of the things that I'm noticing is that now that I'm in these heavily wooded areas... the sun kind of disappears a lot faster. You lose it in the trees because the trees are so tall.
But that's fine. Today was just... Ah, today was amazing. Just that drive going up the road through the park with the mountains on my left... Just gorgeous.
Absolutely gorgeous. My mind's just blown, having seen that. Just the way the mountains shoot up out of the ground... That's just...quite an experience.
I'm... Yeah. That's awesome.
But like I said, tomorrow morning I'm gonna get up early and head up into Yellowstone... and check out some of the sites in Yellowstone National Park. So I'm gonna get settled in here, get my bed built and go to bed. And, yeah. so until next time...