Sunday 20th September
Departed Idaho Falls this morning on Idaho 26 east. The countryside consisted of miles of yellow hay and crop fields basking in the sunshine after harvest. We entered the beautiful Swan Valley with the road following the Snake River.
Spotted a cowboy on horseback with a line of cattle waiting patiently behind him to be led across the road. As we continued through the valley past ranches and a couple of small towns we started to climb and had lovely scenic views of the valley below. We came to the large Palisades Dam and reservoir with nice beaches and surrounded by wooded hills. Ospreys and eagles nest in the forest near the water and feed on fish in the well-stocked reservoir.
We crossed into Wyoming and continued to follow the river where we saw rafts, boats and canoes out on the water enjoying the gorgeous weather.
Reached the Jackson Hole valley and the town of Jackson, booked into the Virginian RV Park. A nice site in the valley with the forest lined Snow King hill to one side and the sparse grass hills of East Gros Ventre Butte on the other. There is a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, restaurant and saloon on the complex.
We are right by the Teton National Park and as soon as we had hooked up the RV we were off to explore the park. Took the main road west and then turned onto the 22 until we crossed the Snake River and turned north onto Moose Wilson Road. We passed Teton Village ski resort with the tramway going up to over 10,000 feet onto Rendezvous Mountain. To our left was the jagged rocky peaks of the Teton Range with Grand Teton standing at 13,770 feet. They really are quite a sight with no foothills to block the view they rise abruptly from the valley. On the higher elevation alpine canyons snow can still be seen, below which are the dark green pine forests with the Lodgepole pine being the most common tree in the park. We went through the Granite Canyon park entrance using our national parks pass and soon left the paved road for a very rutted track. We made our way slowly along through the trees and saw our first wildlife, a chipmunk. Crossed a creek and came across several riders on beautiful tall horses coming off one of the trails. The trees cleared and we were back on paved road and the landscape was now covered in grey green sagebrush with magnificent views of the mountains.
We came to Jenny Lake and stopped off for a while at the log cabin visitor centre and ranger station. Along the road were pull outs for wild life viewing and we saw a herd of moose in the distance. The moose and elks are in rut at this time of year. The moose will feed on willow in the wetland meadows and dive underwater to feed on aquatic plants. We skirted around the south of Jackson Lake and then around Oxbow Bend, followed the Snake River south coming across a large herd of bison grazing on the grassland.
Monday 21st September
Woke up to a beautiful Jackson morning with bright sun, pristine blue ski and clear mountain air. The park gardener said several deer had grazed through the campground during the night, eating all the potted flowers! Walked into downtown Jackson which took about 15 minutes. Jackson is a smart, posh mountain ski town set in the wide Jackson Hole valley at just over 6,000 feet and surrounded by scenic hills and the rugged backdrop of the Tetons. As we approached town we could see the ski runs up high on Snow King Mountain. The streets have covered wooden sidewalks and there is a nice grassed town square. There are lots of up market clothes and jewellery shops and boutiques. Several art galleries with some superb western cowboy art. We wondered around in the morning sunshine and found a good bakery with homemade bread and cakes. Sat outside in the sun with blueberry scones and coffee.
Tuesday 22nd September
Moved to Fireside Resort and RV Park which is along the road to Teton Village and the national park entrance. From our camp side we have a nice view of Grand Teton. Got talking to Terry and Pam from Knoxville, Tennessee, they are on a three month trip heading to see relatives in Seattle. We had an interesting conversation about our travels, RV’s and our family histories. Pam said that if we go back to Tennessee she will cook us the best turnip greens and corn bread we have ever had. Spoke to John and Judy on the phone about their trip over here next March. The plan is to meet up in Baja California down near Cabo San Lucas, very excited, looking forward to seeing them.
Peter and Suzy arrived this afternoon, after having a new circuit board fitted in the RV back in Idaho Falls. The journey here was without incident so fingers crossed the problem has been solved. We are lucky enough to have two really nice places within walking distance of the camp, Q Roadhouse and Brewing Company and Calico Italian Restaurant. We went to Q first for a drink then onto Calico for dinner. It was a lovely evening, lots of laughs.
Wednesday 23rd September
Spent the afternoon in Jackson with Peter and Suzy, looking around the shops and then late lunch at a nice restaurant overlooking the town square. The weather is still warm and sunny and we sat outside on a first floor balcony, it was lovely to sit out relaxing and watching the world go by. The town square has four entrance arches made of elk antler.
On the edge of the national park is an elk refuge, each year after the elk shed their antlers the local boy scouts collect the discarded antlers and they are brought into town for auction. The proceeds are then distributed, 20% going to the scouts and the rest to the elk refuge for feeding the elks during the winter. We also called into the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, a large saloon with two long bars on either side of the room with lots real silver dollars inlaid into the bar tops and western horse saddles instead of seats lined in front of the bars.
Whilst walking around we notice an interesting pedestrian crossing in Jackson. To ensure motorists can see you when crossing the road, red flags are provided on the kerb side to pick up and carry across the road, really neat.
Went down to the Snake River, Sandy had a good run and swim in the river. Spotted a bull moose in the trees with a female nearby. As it is rutting season, things are quite lively at the moment with the elk, moose and deer playing the mating game.
Thursday 24th September
Up early this morning before day break and drove into the park as this should be a good time to animal spot. First thing we saw was four male elk sporting impressive looking antlers roaming about in the sagebrush.
Next we came to some wetlands and a couple of female moose having breakfast of grass and willow.
We watched the sunrise as it gradually lit up the land, the lovely autumn foliage and the mountains.
After our trip around the park we went down to the Snake River for a walk. We saw a group in a boat drifting down the river fly fishing.
After a very chilly start the sun got going we had a nice warm day so stayed around camp doing a few chores and enjoying the weather. In the evening we cooked paella
and Peter and Suzan came around for dinner. We had a very fun time and late night.
Friday 25th September
Another beautiful day, 28 degrees. Stayed around camp again and enjoyed the weather. Went out to the Q Roadhouse and Brewery with Peter and Suzan for dinner. We sat outside on the veranda with lovely views of the mountains. The place was busy, there is a lawn stretching across to the Italian restaurant, plenty of people outside enjoying the evening, a nice lively scene. We said another sad goodbye to Peter and Suzy as we are heading out early tomorrow to Yellowstone. Peter and Suzan are staying on in Jackson for a while longer. We have had an enjoyable few days together and lots of laughs.