[Header Picture]

# Trip to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone - Part 2 - The Grand Tetons

Well, it's been longer than I thought it'd be before this entry, thanks to a busy week at work. Regardless, here's day two of my trip.

(A quick note, first. I can't figure out why the pictures are screwed up and showing up along-side the wrong paragraphs. If you do, let me know.)

One of the many scenic views on my way to the GTNP

There's not a whole lot to say about my trip to Jackson Hole, WY. The drive was pleasant, and while the limits were 50-60mph the whole way, the drive seemed to go pretty quickly. I got to Jackson Hole in time for lunch. Not far into town I found a Motel 6, which I decided was as good as any place to stay. I was a bit floored that a single room was $85/night, especially in the off-season, but I paid it anyway. I dropped my things off, stopped at a Wendy's for lunch, and went on my way to scout out the park.

My first shot of The Grand Tetons

It's pretty easy to get to the park. You follow the highway (and the signs) north for a while. Once you get out of town you start to see many pulloffs along the side of the road for vehicles to use. They're spacious areas with plenty of parking so you can look at the mountains without stopping traffic. After you get past the airport, you'll hit the Moose Junction entrance. Past the lodge and the post office is the entrance to the park, where you pay your park fee and get maps and information.

I should point out here that if you want to avoid paying the fee, you can do so by arriving early, before the rangers get there. Don't do that, however. It's only $25 and it helps keep the park pristine and available for use.

From there I followed basically the only path I could have taken from that entrance. I drove North, stopping every so often to look at the scenery or take some photos. Jenny Lake is nice, and has some nice scenery. There's a nice sized pullout at the Mt. Moran Lookout, which is where I took the cloud photo. When I got to the turn-off for Signal Mountain, I took it, thinking it might be a good place to get photos at dawn.

Cell phone towers are even found out here :(

It takes 10-15 minutes to drive up Signal Mountain. When I got to the top, I found the monstrosity in the picture to the right. Yes, they have cell towers in the park. I guess people can't stand to be out of touch even in the wilderness. This is where I would kill 30 minutes or so the next morning by getting on IRC.

The view from the top of Signal Mountain was great, except that it was an eastward view. You could see the entire valley, and since this was fall you could see where the deciduous trees mixed in with the evergreens. On my way back down I stopped at another point, where a short 200 m walk took me to an excellent view of the mountains. I considered this secondary point for my dawn photography, but there were some trees that would have been in the way.

The view from atop Signal Mountain

I drove back down the mountain and continued north to Jackson Lake. Signal Mountain Lodge is a spot of civilization here. I didn't stay long. I continued driving and scouting until I hit Jackson Lake Dam. Here I found a good place to park, and a path that would take me around to a good westerly view of the mountains. I also had the option of parking there and crossing the dam for another view of the mountains. I had found my dawn photo spot.

I drove back to the motel, this time taking the Moose-Wilson road, which is a little 1.5 lane dirt road. It was frustrating because there was no room to pass, and the people in front of me don't know how to drive on rough dirt roads. They kept it below 10mph, which meant I felt every single bump and hole in the road.

Back in Jackson Falls, I stopped at an Albertsons and bought some bread and chips, then went back to the motel and did laundry and had dinner. I got to bed early so I could get up in time for dawn, this time with no middle of the night interruptions.

An early morning shot of the mountains.

The next morning I woke up at 4 and got going. I took the Moose-Wilson road again, and because it was so early I didn't have to worry about people who don't know how to drive. I drove up to Jackson Lake Dam again and parked.

There was a lot of early morning fog coming off the lake, which meant that plan A was out. Luckily plan B, crossing the dam and walking part-way around the lake, worked out well. It was cold out, and I was glad that I had enough layers to wear. The only thing I didn't bring I wish I would have was warm socks, but two layers of socks seemed to do fine.

Early morning birds and the dawn light just hitting the mountains

I learned a couple things about my camera that morning. First, when it's cold the light meter will stick. Second, when it's that cold, the shutter mechanism will stick. Luckily I was able to warm it up enough inside my jacket, and after I got started the mechanism didn't freeze again.

After exposing two rolls of film, I walked back to the car and got going. It only took an hour or so to get to the South Entrance of Yellowstone.

Tomorrow: Yellowstone!

posted at: 2006 Oct 28 21:01 UTC | category: life | (story link)

Copyright © 2006-2008 Zach White