USA 2011 – 3. Grand Tetons, Jackson and Lander

Part 3 , following Yellowstone

All photos from Grand Tetons are towards the end of this album

All photos from Jackson and Lander are at the start of this album

Introduction

Grand Teton National Park (wiki) is immediately South of Yellowstone, and has some impressive mountains and a very nice lake which we crossed.

Jackson and Lander are two towns in Wyoming in which we stayed as we travlled down towards Colorado.

Day 11 – Yellowstone to Grand Tetons to Jackson

Yet another early start as we checked out quickly and made out way down through Yellowstone to Grand Teton National Park.

Some early-morning Bison were out, blocking the road because they didn’t want us to leave, but eventually they relented.

Early morning bison

Our drive into Grand Tetons was fine and quite, and yet another use of our NPS card. We soon found a lake to stop beside for some photos (and for Naomi to paddle).

Jenny Lake - Click for larger image

Jenny Lake - Click for larger image

Paddling

We made our way to a visitors centre and asked the ranger about walks. He suggested the boat across the lake and a treck up to an observation point.

We made our way to the boat dock, and paid for a return ticket across the lake. Most people seemed to be waiting for a tour boat, but we had no wait at all to get on a nearly empty boat to cross the lake at speed.

A video of the start of the crossing is here

Jenny Lake Boat Dock

Crossing at speed

On arrival we followed the arrows for Inspiration Point (and everywhere else).

Follow the arrows

It was a very pretty walk up.

Hideen Falls

Nearly there

Inspiration Point provided a fine view across the lake and to the mountains in the distance.

View from Inspiration Point

Snow still present at the end of September

The walk back down was very pretty, with some nice colours.

Colourful

We had a short wait at the docks for a boat to collect us. They kindly provide coolers of iced water at the docks which is a nice touch. While waiting I was able to read their lighnting policy. If you miss the final boat of the day, it is a walk of a few miles around the lake to get back to the car park.

Jenny Lake Ferry

Leaving the park we stopped for a final photo of the mountains, and exited at Moose, Wyoming.

Grand Tetons

"Head Inside"...

We drove down to Jackon, Wyoming, and checked into the Pony Express Motel (Tripadvisor). This was a comfortable motel, and we had a good chat with the chap on the desk about places for dinner before going for a swim in the little pool. Apparently the pool would normally be closed by this time of year (late September), but the weather was so nice he had kept it open.

For dinner we went to Bubba’s BBQ (Tripadvisor), which was very popular and we had to put our names on a list and wait for a short while to get a table. We both had the salad bar to start, which we probably didn’t need as I then went on to have their biggest combo plate of beef brisket, pulled pork, ribs, chicken, fries, beans, corn and garlic bread. I was surprised when one of the salad items seemed to be desert – bread pudding, but I think it is usual for the salad bar to have one sweet thing.

When ordering I mentioned to the waitress that it didn’t sound like much food so I had better have the salad bar as well. She assured be quite earnestly that it was a lot of food. And indeed it was, I couldn’t quite manage all of it (I blame the big plate of salad).

Salad

Big plate of BBQ

Naomi's slightly smaller plate

Dinner was quick – the BBQ arrived while we were finishing our salad, and I think we were in and out in less than 45 minutes.

After dinner we returned to our room, ready for another early start.

Day 12 – Jackson to Lander

As usual, we checked-out early and drove to the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort to catch the cable car up to the peak of Rendezvous Mountain.

We parked easily, although weren’t sure that ther parking was free but saw no signs suggest otherwise. We asked someone else in the car park who said it was free, and we talked about England for a bit.

Having bought tickets for the aerial tram, we were soon on our way up the mountain.

A video of the start of the ride is here.

Incoming cable car / aerial tram

 

Onboard aerial tram

Higher up. No trees and more of last season's snow

The weather on top of the mountain was somewhat bracing, but the skies were clear and visibility was excellen. 11,000 feet was the highest we had been so far, and we noticed the altitude a little as we walked around the mountain, then down a little before returning to the top for waffles and a drink.

Summit of Rendezvous Mountain

Mountain top tram station

Hut for food, beverages and communications

High-altitude bird

High altitude moth / butterfly

We followed the signs to some well-known ski routes.

Not routes I am ever likely to ski

Corbet’s Couloir started with a vertical drop, and looked challenging (view from cable car). There were also flowers at the top, and a memorial to the ski patrol members who had lost their lives on the mountain.

Corbet's Couloir

We took the cable car back down to the pretty faux-Alpine town, and then started our drive throigh Wyoming to Lander.

The drive was easy and uneventful on quite roads. The exception was a long stretch – certainly 10+ miles of following a convoy car where the 2-lane road seemed to be having lots of work to turn it into something bigger. It seemed hard to believe the traffic would justify all this work.

Follow the leader

On arrival in Lander we checked into the Holiday Inn Express (Tripadvisor), which was a really nice new hotel. Reception were friendly, the rooms were large and clean, there was a nice pool and a good laundrette which we used, and the breakfast was very good. The Holiday Inn Cinammon rolls are quite special.

We had a stroll up and down the main street. There was a collection of shops, and we had good icecream in “Ken and Betty’s” store.

This is how icecream should look...

We also went to a bookstore to buy some more holiday reading.

After ice-cream eating, we drove up to Sinks Canyon State Park (wiki). For a small site, this is well worth a visit. The river flows into a cave, and then comes back out of the rise 1/4 mile later. The water takes 2 hours to make this short journey, and more comes out than goes in.

We started off at the rise, where the river flows away from a pool that is full of very large trout. There is a viewing platform above the rise.

The rise

Trout

Also at the rise is a machine where, for a quarter, you can get a handful of fish food. The fish like this, and we used quite a few quarters.

A video of the fish feeding is here.

A few deer descended from the hillside to the river to eat and drink.

Deer finding food

The river flowing off from the rise

We walked up to the Sink, where there is a small visitor centre, and it is very pretty.

The Sink

We returned to our hotel to get ready for dinner, and ended up at the Gannett Grill (Tripadvisor). We ate outside as it was a warm evening (and noisy inside). The server got Naomi’s order wrong, and her pizza came with mushrooms when she had asked to have it without. When we mentioned this, we got a free chocolate brownie, so that was ok.

We had a restful night in our hotel, ready for the next stage of our holiday, Estes Park and Rocky Mountains National park.