Wyoming - Grand Tetons - Rain Rain Go Away
Trip Start Apr 16, 2009
32Trip End Jul 12, 2009
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Birds we saw today in Yellowstone: Gray Jay (at Canyon Lodge), Rufus-headed Sparrow (at Norris), Western Grebe, California Gull, and American Avocet (all at Hayden Valley ponds)
DAY 63, Wednesday, June 17--We drove to Grand Teton National Park, just south of Yellowstone. Leaving Yellowstone, we passed another incredible site, Lewis Falls, where we had lunch. The admission fee of $25 for Yellowstone also covers Grand Teton. It is a much smaller park, but with gorgeous mountains. The jagged peaks and deep canyons arise abruptly from the Jackson Hole Valley with no foothills to obstruct your view.
We are tired of the rain. It has rained a substantial amount each day for the last three weeks, since we were in Moab, which was before Salt Lake City. We seem to be in a small pocket where it is cold and rainy while the rest of the country is hot and sultry. Winter clothes near the end of June!
DAY 64, Thursday, June 18--The first full day in Grand Teton, in the early morning rain, we took a ranger walk to Heron Pond and Swan Lake from the Coulter Bay Visitors' Center. We didn’t see either heron or swans. The wildlife seemed to be avoiding the bad weather as well. Gray jays,
however, swept closely near our heads as we rested by the pond, most likely protecting a nest.
The female ranger talked about the rocks in the park, Her cute, memorable phrase was "Our rocks are gneis, but don't take them for granite." California's Yosemite mountains are granite.
After the walk, we had a great breakfast at the Ranch House Restaurant. Linda got the Ranch Hand Breakfast that included fresh fried trout. Trout fishing is really popular out here. That evening we went south about 40 miles to Jackson, an active small town servicing the summer Grand Teton tourists and the winter skiers. We strolled around the western town, seeing the town square with its four corners inviting visitors with elk antler arches.
DAY 65, Friday, June 19--Our second day in Grand Teton, we got an early start for a very popular hike to Cascade Canyon, passing Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point (elevation 7,200’), which overlooks Jenny Lake.
DAY 66, Saturday, June 20--The third day at Tetons was a washout. A 4-wheel drive side-trip on River Road turned out to be rough and boring, ending with ferocious mosquitoes alongside the Snake River. Then our planned float trip on the Snake River was canceled due to thunderstorms and heavy showers. We headed back to Jackson for dinner, and possibly the rodeo, but the rain was so heavy, the rodeo didn’t even seem like it would be fun.
Sign on the Road Back to Grand Teton warning drivers about the wildlife: " That bull my be some cow's beau!"
On the return, we explored a couple of roads known for wildlife. Yellowstone was much better overall for wildlife, but tonight we were lucky enough to see bison, elk, and pronghorns along Antelope Flats Road. By chance, Mike spotted a caramel brown grizzly bear frolicking across a field. We followed him for a few minutes. It is amazing how much territory a grizzly can cover running. Check out the videos. Animals we saw in Grand Teton: elk, bison, pronghorns, red squirrel, yellow-bellied marmots, chipmunks, snake, moose (just a glimpse), and grizzly bear, as well as 12 different bird species.
Birds we saw in Tetons: Trumpeter Swans, White Pelicans, Red-Winged Blackbirds, Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Cowbirds, Red-Headed Ducks, Mallards, Raven, Canada Geese, Gray Jays, Robins, Western-Wood Peewee, American Wigeon
Wildflowers we saw:
Arrowleaf Balsamroot (yellow daisies in clumps)
Heartleaf Arnica (yellow daisy single)
Silvery Lupine (purple on stalks)
Larkspur (flowery purple, more sparce-like)
Oregon Grapes (small white)
Biscuit Root (yellow like parsley, bears eat roots)
Rosy Pussy Toes (soft pink paw-like)
Sticky Geranium (ping with flat pedals in circle)
Other Plants & Trees:
Where I stayed
Coulder Bay RV Park
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