10-4-19: The Grand Tetons and beyond


I was confused about the town of Jackson, WY (a few miles south of the Grand Teton NP entrance), and “Jackson Hole,” which I thought was a different town. I was using the TripAdvisor app to find a place for lunch, and drove thru Jackson thinking I would go to one of the restaurants listed for Jackson Hole. The map took me to the Park entrance. I later learned that “Jackson Hole” is the name for the valley area there. There is a cafe there in the Park, but it was not open until 11:30 (and it was now 11:10), and it was expensive. As another man on the scene noted, it was interesting that the bar was open before noon, but not the cafe.
There was a lot of traffic and security stuff going on at the Park entrance – I was baffled by what I saw until someone told me that Melania Trump is at the Visitor Center down the road.

The skies were boring and the light dull, but I decided that I would drive the Park road anyway, the one that borders Jenny Lake, etc, rather than take the faster highway. But it was near lunch time, I was hungry, and realized I did not have any leftovers for this meal or any other, and I may be camping for a night or 2 this weekend. I went back into Jackson, calling ahead to order from Pizza Hut: traffic was heavy, but not too slow.

Ate pizza while driving back, and when I got to the Park saw some really nice cloud action. I was beside myself with excitement and thankfulness, getting great shots at several spots.
Even climbed on top of the truck topper a couple of times to get a better view over the obstacles near the parking area. Shot for about 24 min, and had gotten everything I thought I could. I drove north on the road, still watching the mountains, and within 10 min of having ended my shoot, the mountains were shrouded in clouds with rain/snow. Had I driven the road when I first got there, or arrived 30 min later (after getting lunch) I would have missed the show entirely and never known the difference! The Lord did indeed surprise me, and made sure I did not miss it.

As I drove into Yellowstone the rain turned to snow, but it was 36° and dropping. When the temp dropped to 33° or so, the snow started accumulating on the trees and road. (shot thru the windshield while driving)

Did not see much of the Park because of the low visibility. I drove past a couple of the tourist sites – I would like to have seen the colorful hot springs, but I don’t think any were on the road I drove. I was not interested in photos of all the tourist stuff, anyway. Stopped at the Upper Falls, the visibility was poor and light low: just a documentary shot.
Did pass a crowd where there was a bear with two cubs: would like to have seen that, but the crowd was terrible, and I was hungry, tired, and there was no place to stop or park.

Was motivated to camp tonight, and really want to do it in the snow soon. I found a decent site just north of Yellowstone for $18, called the Canyon Campground. Nearly went there, but decided that I could get a nice room in Bozeman free (credit card points), or pay $18 to camp in the cold rain: it was raining as I passed the campground, and it is forecast to get down to 26° tonight. So, I went soft and checked into the Hampton in Bozeman – third night in a row for Hamptons.
Ate a dehydrated meal that I have been carrying for 8 – 10 years? Heated the water with the coffee maker in the room. Have had it since the 2005 backpacking trip in the Smokys, I think. It was good, not great.

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