Can't Wait to Start Exploring!
Not everyone knows where the Grand Tetons are, so here's a map showing the northwest corner of Wyoming. I had heard of the Tetons and knew that they were a ski town, but I never really thought about where they were located and what they were close to.
We arrived a little later than expected, but it was still around lunch time. We loaded into a shuttle bus headed for the car rental in Jackson Hole. We booked a mid size SUV 4 wheel drive, but got a 2 wheel drive KIA Sorento. Hope it can do the job! It's crowded! YIKES - living in this car for the next 2 weeks could be challenging.
PA plates......We really look like tourists now!
We drove around town trying to decide where to have lunch. We finally decided just to park on a side street and start walking. The town was fairly crowded, but we found Town Square without too much difficulty.
All 4 corners have these antler arches.
That's a lot of antlers!
After walking a few blocks around town, we decided on JH Roasters. They had a very urban modern look and tasty salads. Good Choice.
After lunch, we walked around a little more and made a plan for the rest of the day. We already had a general plan, but since we were 2 hours late, a couple of things had to get shifted around.
I just couldn't resist taking this picture. For those who have been married awhile, no explanation needed.....
This store had some pretty unusual items in the front window, so we didn't venture in but I had to shoot this, for the memory, of course.
We also saw these in Alaska. There is a ladies' version too - just in case anyone is interested in a matching set.
This store, we did dare to enter. I usually take pictures of the stores or businesses we find interesting, but I took none on this day.......I blame it on jet lag. If you're in the area, it's just 1 block from the town center and has a large bison on the porch. So I guess officially this is our first bison sighting of this trip.
They have lots of animals, and when I say lots, I mean an entire store full, and when I say animals......well, I think you get the idea. We thought this display was pretty cute.
First bear sighting too!
Well, it appears that there's a Shoot Out later, so we better hit the road.
We really didn't fly over 2000 miles to see the town. We've got bigger things to explore!
Just out of town, we found this......
Sounds like my motto......
Except that I drive a mom car now. I used to drive fun cars. Maybe someday again.......
We needed to stock up on water, ice, food, and snacks. There aren't many places to eat in the parks, so we wanted to make sure we had a backup plan. Nobody likes hangry travelers, especially in the same car.
YAY! We found a Kroger AND we still have our Kroger cards! Double YAY!
See you again in a few days, Jackson.
Not that you could really get lost here, but we found the park!
Our first look at the Tetons from Route 191. Abby took this with my phone as we were driving by.
We stopped at the first scenic overlook.
Grand Teton is the middle highest peak at almost 14,000 feet. In the past 40 years, the glaciers on these peaks have lost about 25% of their total surface area. Water runoff provides wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities, and irrigation for crops along the Snake River in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington......just in case you can't read the sign.
If you can't tell, my girl likes to pose. It was a beautiful day with the temperature around 70 and plenty of sunshine.
It's just gorgeous here!!!
Snake River Overlook. In 1942, Ansel Adams stood here and photographed the scenic Snake River with the Grand Tetons as a backdrop.
Today, much of the river is hidden by the lush thriving trees surrounding it.
Our next stop was Schwabacher Landing. We hiked a short distance along a stream that had terrific reflections.
Of course the Tetons are always in the background.
There were lots of birds and prairie dogs playing in this area.
We knew we would be back here for early morning shooting since it's hard shooting into the sun, but still a beautiful area and a nice trail.
I was really looking forward to our next stop.....Mormon Row and the Moulton Barn.
This famous barn was built some time between 1912 and 1945 by Moulton and his sons in an area called Antelope Flats, between Kelly and Moose.
Let's take a closer look.
This location is now included in Grand Teton NP.
Two different panoramic views.
The famous barn has a not-so-famous neighbor barn.....
and an outhouse!
He was as shocked as we were.
We finished admiring the barn with the mountains and decided to head north while we still had daylight. Our lodge was about 40 minutes away and we knew we would stop several times between here and there. It's just what we do.
First stop.....was literally 3 minutes from the barn. We spotted this teepee and a few others across the road and 2 bison at least 500 yards away. We were excited to see them, but they were way too far to shoot, even with the big lens.
About 20 or 30 minutes north on Rt 191, we found our first real bison sighting......at least a hundred of them just off the road. As luck would have it, there was a turnout (Elk Ranch Flats) where we could park and get up close and personal with them.
On the parking lot side of the road were a bunch of horses.......
and one crazy antelope.
He was running zig zag through the horses. They seemed oblivious.
Then he decided to cross the street, which frightened some of us,
but he did stop to look both ways, after he had mostly crossed......better late than never.
He trotted through the bison with a little more caution and respect than he had for the horses.
All the while, keeping an eye on the people photographing him. He is obviously a poser.
So, what's the difference between bison and buffalo? Why are buffalo burgers so popular in the west and how did buffalo wings get their name? Maybe I can answer one of those questions.
Contrary to popular belief, buffalo do not roam in the American West. Water buffalo are actually indigenous to South Asia, and cape buffalo to Africa. Bison are found in North America in large herds. Around 5000 live in Yellowstone. I think we saw every one of them!
This is an American Bison. Notice the horns and the shaggy coat.
These are African and Asian Buffalo. Notice the very different horns and smooth coat.
Even though John Denver sings "Home on the Range" with lyrics of......
Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam Where the deer and the antelope play........
You won't be fooled again believing Buffalo roam in the US, right?
There were a few people out of their cars and standing along the roadside, including us, when this guy made his way from about 50 yards out right up to the roadside. He was looking a little annoyed that we were there looking at him and photographing his herd.
It looked at though he might cross the road, but a car came by and caused him to take a step back.
I thought he was looking rather aggressive and thought we should go to the car, but Al spotted a mom and baby so we hung out a little longer.
Eating, peeing, and creating a dust bowl all at once.....the life of a bison.
Bison roll or wallow in the dirt to stop bugs from biting them and to help shed some of their loose fur. We saw several doing this.
Let's take a closer look.
Saw this guy or gal on our way to Oxbow Bend. From the road, we thought she was a moose as we drove by, but once we zoomed in and looked at the picture on the computer, we decided she was an elk.
Awe.....Now we see what all the hype is about. This is gorgeous!
The Tetons reflect right into Jackson Lake.
Can't wait to see it tomorrow morning with the early morning sun hitting the mountains.
We spent our first night of vacation at Signal Lodge. We stopped by the Jackson Lake Dam for a couple of quick pics before searching for dinner.
We spotted a few white pelicans floating along. We've only ever seen white ones in Florida, in winter. The original snow birds.
Our dinner view from Signal Lodge restaurant. The food was okay and our room was comfy and cozy. Nothing great, but we were tired after getting up very early, traveling across the country, and driving the Tetons.
Good Night Wyoming!
CLICK the Map below to follow along on our Day 2 Journey through the Grand Tetons.