9/18/12

Teton Road Loop and Jenny Lake

When we left to drive into Grand Teton National Park yesterday morning, we had high hopes that the air would have cleared.  It appeared to be worse than the day before initially.  We decided to do some business in Jackson, and hope for the best.  We first stopped off at the quilt shop...more about that in a separate post.  Then, we needed to pick up a few things at the grocery store, and so we did that too.  While we were there, we took time to read the "fire board" with posted information about a wildfire burning quite close to Jackson.  This next image shows where the fire is burning with the evacuation area delineated.  You can see that it is burning relatively close to Jackson.


It was touching to read these messages left for the firefighters.  Knock on wood, but I've never had to fear for my home in a fire.  I can't even imagine the stress and heartache of having to evacuate and then returning to smoldering remains.


So all of that took about an hour and when we started driving to the park, lo and behold, the smoke had cleared out and we could see the mountains!  Hooray!


Aren't they incredible?  The Tetons were formed by the crashing together of tectonic plates which forced the mountains up around one million years ago.  Originally, they towered 30,000 feet above the valley floor, but then glaciers wore them down to the measly 14,000 feet you see today.  They are among the "youngest" mountain ranges in the world, which partially accounts for their jagged tops.

In this next image, you can see the Teton Glacier near the center of the image, a little off to the right and down.


After taking in the mountains, we drove the Jenny Lake Loop.  Jenny Lake was formed in the same way that Avalanche Lake was formed in Glacier National Park.  Glaciers ground out this "basin" to a depth of 3,000 feet and left behind the depression when they receded.  That is Cascade Canyon in the center of the image below.


There was a ranger at the top of the lookout who had two hides with her.  One was from a grey wolf and the other from a mountain lion.  Both animals were found dead at some point in time, but their hides were saved for educational and awareness purposes.  This is Mike's adult hand holding the paw of the mountain lion.  Smitty has big paws, but nothing like this.


The grey wolf's fur was coarser than I expected, while the mountain lion's was soft like a domestic cat.

There is a short trail that leads down to the lake's edge at Jenny Lake.  I can remember visiting here with the boys around 15 years ago when we all waded out into the lake.  You can get a better view of Cascade Canyon in the image below.


And this next image is what you see if you look to the north.


After that, we drove to the summit of Signal Mountain where you can get about a 270 degree panorama of the "Hole".  It's easy to see why the French explorers thought of these mountain-ringed valleys as holes.  In the image below, you can see the Snake River winding through the valley.


The next image shows a surveyor's marker from the US Geological Survey.  It's date is 1931.


We'd been exploring for most of the day at this point, and so we drove on to the next junction, then turned to return to our trailer.  Along the way we stopped at the Oxbow Turnout and were able to get down next to the Snake River.  The image below looks toward the Teton Range.


The next one looks the other direction.  There was a flock of Canada Geese in the river.  Show me a body of water, and I'll show you some Canada Geese.


We've also seen a bird here, and we've seen it in our previous travels in Utah.  I also spotted a few in Idaho. We've been trying to figure out what they are.  They appear for all the world like a crow, only not as large.  Larger than a robin, however...maybe the size of a roadrunner.  They are black with white markings on their wings.  They are very pretty.  We've not been able to identify them, although we've seen some birds that look similar.  Does anyone know what I'm talking about?  (And if you do, congratulations!  Even I don't know what I'm talking about most of the time.)

The days have been warm enough to wear shorts and short sleeves, but the nights have been very chilly.  When I got up this morning it was 38 degrees.  That would account for the golden aspens you see in the next picture.  They have changed noticeably just in the few days we've been here.


The road in and out of Jackson that leads to the park takes you past an Elk Reserve.  We've been told by other park visitors that they've seen elk, antelope, moose, wolves, and bears there.  As we drove by yesterday, we saw this herd of antelope in the next image.  They were some distance away, but surprisingly, I managed to get a relatively in-focus picture of them.


So that was our day yesterday.  It seems the smoke clears off after noon each day, and so we're going to press on with our hike later on today and just hope for the best smoke-wise.  We're going to take a hike in to String Lake (I think) that also hooks up with Moose Ponds, where we might get a chance to see some moose, er, mooses.  Meese?  Mike dearly wants to see a moose.  We saw one some years ago in Yellowstone...a female with a calf...but the booger-eating morons who also saw her were trying to chase her down for a picture and she was on the run.  She was gone in a flash.  So we're on the hunt for a moose, but not really expecting to see one.  Those are the kinds of goals I like to set for myself...impossible ones that require nothing more than a good deal of luck and open eyes.

It has been a slow process trying to upload pictures this morning.  We have internet, but the connection is impossibly slow at times.  The park wi-fi is moving at a glacial pace (like that metaphor?  appropriate, I think).  We can use our cell phones as wi-fi hotspots too, but we only have one bar of coverage, and so that is equally slow.  If I can get the pictures to upload, I'll tell you about the quilt shop.  If not, it will have to wait for another day.

Also, I want to thank you for all your wonderful comments.  It takes some time to write these posts, but it is all worth it when I get such lovely comments from all of you.  I love writing and sharing, and I love that you are enjoying them.  It makes it absolutely worthwhile to take the time.  You are the best!

19 comments from clever and witty friends:

WoolenSails said...

What amazing scenery, love seeing what you have seen, like being there. I hope you have fun on your hike today and can't wait to see the photos.

Debbie

Lyndsey said...

I am so pleased you take time out to write your posts. The photos and descriptions are really appreciated. The scenery is amazing. I've never really thought about visiting America but now I've seen the scenery I've changed my mind. I hope you enjoyed your hike and I can't wait for the next instalment of your trip.

Susie said...

Barbara, Thanks for posting these beautiful posts. Today in particular was really what I needed to get my morning off to a good start. I love the Tetons. I have been there. Right where you are. I took the evening wildlife raft trip down the snake river. I will never forget it. Really God's country! Looking forward to the quilt shop post.

Susie at Puddle Jumper Creations

Winona said...

As I said yesterday, I love these posts. This is such beautiful country. I hope you get to see your moose. Your pictures make it seem like we are along with you on your trip. I look forward to your post every day. Thanks.

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

Wow! Gorgeous, gorgeous pictures. You need to watermark them, so they don't end up as some company's postcard.

Denise :) said...

Man ... what a spectacular sight! I think I say that on every post. LOL! I can't help, however, to think "Grand Boobs" now, every time you talk about or post a pic of those particular mountains! (You've warped me!) I hope Mike gets to see his moose. They are such fun critters! My nephew has done intern work up in Alaska for the past two summers, and this past summer, his job took him very far north. He'd walk out on the porch of his cabin and there'd be several right there. And they weren't too worried about him. Our temps are starting to dip in the night time, too. It's supposed to go down into the 40's tonight! The view looking down the Snake River is gorgeous ... love the dots of fall color! :)

Debbie said...

Fabulous trip and glorious photos of those mountains and lakes. I enjoy reading your post and descriptions a lot so please continue. I do hope you see the moose soon. We found one on an early morning in Alaska....she was munching breakfast on the road side. Happy hiking and moose spotting.

greelyrita said...

I didn't want to bother you with comments that you might feel you needed to answer but I'd like you to know that I'm really enjoying going on your holiday with you. Thanks so much for doing this work!!

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

Absolutely breathtaking. Can you imagine living in a cabin and seeing these amazing views every day!?

Anonymous said...

Hi, Barbara! I do enjoy reading your blog each week. Love the photos and thanks for taking me with you on vacation again. LOL The birds sound like the ones found around McCall, ID (where I am originally from). They are called Camp Robbers there aka as Magpies (I believe).
Cris in WA

Miki Willa said...

Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful photos. It sounds like you are having a fantastic time.

Rachel said...

I too feel like I repeat myself...but thank you, loved this tour of the area! Um, if Smitty's paws get that big, well, run. fast. LOL...Hoping for a moose siting!

heartsease54 said...

From your description of the bird, it sounds like what my husband calls a camp robber, don't know their official name, that is what everyone in this neck of the woods calls them. Gorgeous pictures!

quiltzyx said...

I am almost as glad as you are that the smoke cleared out of your way! Maybe more glad...because that means I get to see more of your wonderful photographs. Selfish? Yep & proud of it (in this case anyway!)

I googled "Camp Robber bird" & came up with some pictures that looked similar to what you described. AKA the Gray Jay - supposed to be a very smart bird too.

Diane Wild said...

I definitely need to dig out my pictures from my trip in 1988 and compare to yours to see if there has been any change in the landscape. What fun to revisit the area with you and better yet, you're paying for the trip. LOL

Nancy in IN said...

Brings back memories. I remember staying in a duplex cabin on the lake. It is so beautiful at Jackson Hole. You have done a super job bringing it to us.
Thanks
Love the aspens; they were beautiful in Alaska in early Sep.

Nancy said...

Love your 'travelog'; enjoy riding along with you. I has been years since I have been to the Tetons; you make me want to return. I am pretty sure the bird you are describing is a Magpie. Do they have long tails? The bird that we call a camp robber in these parts is a jay and it is grey, not black. But I imagine people call different birds 'camp robbers' if that is what they do! LOL

Snoodles said...

Incredible photos...I bet that hiking is so relaxing. Being so far from the "ordinary" is such a refresher. I've bookmarked this one, and the one above, just so I can go back and gaze at the gorgeous photos!
Thanks for posting, my friend!

Karin said...

If I were really with you, you might just lose me at this point because I would just be perfectly content to homestead right there in a log cabin. You are traveling through there at the perfect time - such fun to see the change in the season. Looking forward to moose photos! :) We have one in our dining room. We have antelope on the ranch too, but it's been so dry here that they haven't raised any babies in 3 years. :(