After a nice restful couple of days in Salt Lake City, I left on Sunday morning and headed north. My destination was Idaho Falls, since that would be a good stopping point and a perfect place to stay before heading to Grand Teton National Forest.
I took the conventional route on I-15 north from Salt Lake City. I must say that southern Utah was much more beautiful. The drive was a bit dull but once I crossed into Idaho and found it to be quite beautiful! The landscape was more vast and open, and I started feeling almost smaller as I drove along.
I arrived in Idaho Falls fairly early in the day, too early to check in to my motel. I saw that I was very close to the river, and then to my delight saw that I was right near the Falls! I parked my car and spent the next hour and a half enjoying the Falls and a pleasant little art fair that was set up in the park right across from the falls.
After a fairly uneventful day in Idaho Falls (dealing with computer issues, thank goodness for Best Buy and Geek Squad), I left Idaho Falls very early the next morning and headed towards Grand Teton National Park. This is when I really started to experience some beautiful country. I headed out on Interstate 26 east , the Swan Valley Highway, and not far after I started I stopped at a little scenic view for a spectacular shot of the gorgeous Snake River.
I came over a ridge and then drove down into Swan Valley…it was spectacular to see, down below with the Snake River winding through the town. I made a left and headed north on 31, Pine Creek Road, through some farmish land but still mountains all along, and then entered the Targhee National Forest, surrounded by beautiful pines and following along Pine Creek . The road was windy up and up and up! Finally I hit the town of Victor and turned onto 33 which turned into 22 after crossing into Wyoming. I went through Teton Pass with an incredibly steep grade 10% grade. It was a bit frightening and my brakes were scaring me a bit. But then I saw the Tetons on my left, covered with snow! Finally I turned into Teton Village onto 390 and then into the park. about 9:45am.
I found the Visitors Center and talked to a nice young ranger. He suggested that I stop at both Taggart Lake (there are moose around!) and then stop at Jenny Lake. I took my map and headed north. At the Taggart Lake point, sure enough, I saw a throng of people to the right, and back in some trees, there was a moose! I snapped a few shots, wish my lens was better, and then continued on. I got to Jenny Lake around noon. I got out of my car, threw my backpack on, and walked about halfway across this beautiful lake. Then I got back in my car, and continued through the rest of the park, passing by Jackson Lake and Jackson Dam. I’ll just post all these nice pictures for you.
After about a half hour driving north, I entered Yellowstone at the South Entrance at around 2:30 or so. First thing I hit was Lewis Falls and snapped some lovely pictures.
I knew I was short on time, and I knew for certain I wanted to see Old Faithful! So I headed on the western part of the loop after touching base at the visitors center at Grant Village. As I drove towards Old Faithful the skies darkened and it looked ominously like rain. I arrived at Old Faithful around 3:15 and found my way to it. A crowd was already surrounding the geyser and I asked when it was next scheduled to go, and folks told me about 20 minutes. So, we sat there and sure enough, right on schedule, there it went!!!
I got into my car around 4pm and continued north, passing through Madison and Norris, seeing some interesting hot springs and pools of hot smelly sulferous gassy water. At Norris I turned north after about a 20 minute delay for some construction, finally arrived at Mammoth Hot Springs, where there were herds of moose right there in the little city square!
I finally left the park and began my drive north to Montana! I was exhausted and learned my lesson – Teton and Yellowstone in one day is too much!