Day 15: Jackson to Douglas, Wyoming

Trip Start Jul 29, 2007
Trip End Aug 18, 2007

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Flag of United States  , Wyoming
Monday, August 13, 2007

Day 15: Jackson, WY to Douglas, WY

States: a whole lotta Wyoming
Miles: 341
Highlights: Tetons!; another moose sighting; unexpected scenery along drive in mid-Wyoming (highway 26); Abby laughing her head off to Paul's silly antics at the end of the day in the hotel room (she suddeny loved snapping)
Nat'l Park Stamps: Grand Teton NP (@ a shiny new visitor center); JD Rockefeller Mem Parkway (it connects Y'stone and GTetons)
Abby meltdowns: none, she had a splendid day
Weather: awoke to a pleasant morning in the 70s in the mountains; by mid-Wyoming it was in the upper 90s
Stay over: Holiday Inn Express, Douglas, WY

Phrase of the Day: "What's that weird smell?? Nature?" Uttered by Paul as we walked to Jenny Lake in Teton NP.

Yesterday's Trivia answer: Y'stone is home to about half (50%) of the world's geothermal features, including more than 300 geysers. No winner...way to be honest Jill.

Trivia Quesiton: What is Douglas Wyoming's claim to fame?

Today's travels through Wyoming win Ann's scenery award of the trip. We arrived last night to the Spring Creek Ranch in the dark, so the beautiful view of the Tetons when we woke up was such a pleasant surprise. We drove out of Jackson and through Grand Teton National Park. The Tetons were spectacular and the weather was just perfect and the air so fresh and wonderful. While Ann relished the scenery, Paul's highlight was the brand spanking new Visitor Center that just opened YESTERDAY at Grand Teton NP. To think, Paul got his book stamped at the newest Visitor Center in the NP system today...and he was probably only about the 20th person to use the new a day for a stamp junkie. It was a beautiful building with a wall of windows facing the Tetons and very cool interactive exhibits.

Then we left Grand Teton NP and said goodbye to the land of huckleberries [we found the huckleberry obsession in MT and WY a bit much] and headed east across Wyoming. We left the Park on a smaller state highway and in the distance we could see a large fire burning in the direction we were headed. We asked a ranger and she casually said she hadn't heard of any road closures so she guessed it was ok. We headed off in the direction of the fire with some trepidation -- Ann was ready to turn back a few times, but it kept looking ok. (That and the fact that there just weren't many alternative roads to get us where we wanted.)

We eventually headed just to the east of the fire and literally under the smoke cloud which seemed to form an arch high over the road we were on. At times the road was unpaved during this protion of our trip, slowing us down substantially. After we were clear of the smoke the wide open space of Wyoming opened up and some beautiful (but spartan) scenery lay ahead of us. Neither of us had been through this part of Wyoming before and we were pretty surprised by the scenery. First we drove through lush green cattle ranches with winding creeks running through them, then the landscape turned very dry and desert-like, then we went through an area with a large expanse of beautiful red-striped cliffs which looked more like the Southwest (Paul said it reminded him of the Painted Desert or the Badlands). After the town of Kinnear, Population: 44, we thought it couldn't get much more desolate and then we saw the sign for Hiland, WY Population: 10. (BTW: our Rand McNally map has Hiland on it. 10 people!) We made it past Casper and and then stopped for the day.

On a random travel note, twice since mentioning it in Provo we have stayed in hotels with this bizarre half curtain set up and we are experiencing it again tonight in our Holiday Inn Express. This seems a very odd and recent hotel phenomena and we are looking for possible explanations. There is this very light sheer type curtain and then the actual drapes come only about a quarter of the way across the window on each side leaving the poor hotel guest with little privacy (we are on the ground level tongiht for goodness sake) and vulnerable to passing car headlights (a major pet peave of Ann's). Ann will likely start an email writing campaign to all major hotel chains upon returning home.
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