Jackson to Grand Teton National Park

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Flag of United States  , Wyoming
Friday, June 8, 2012

"You must search for the loveliness of America. It is not obvious, it is scattered. But when you find it, it touches you and binds you to it like a great secret oath taken in silence."
                                -Struthers Burt, Jackson Hole dude rancher, 1934

The first full day of our Road Scholar program was a busy one. In the morning, starting in Jackson, we were on the bus a short distance to the National Museum of Wildlife Art, an amazing example of architecture suited to the surroundings. On the drive into the museum parking area, we passed a sign: MARMOT CROSSING.  And what do you know! We actually saw yellow-bellied marmots in abundance! They are sometimes called "whistle pigs" because of the squeaky sounds they make.

The museum houses beautiful western art but the building itself, inside and out, qualifies as art in my mind. Our guide, Roger, provided us with an introduction to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks in the auditorium, followed by a docent-led tour. Paintings, sculpture, photography and other art forms celebrated the beauty of the landscape, wildlife and people of the area. We had lunch there at the museum's Rising Sage Cafe---very nice with yummy cookies for dessert!

After arrival in Grand Teton NP our float trip on the Snake River was our first excursion.  They can call it a "float trip" if they want to, but it was as close to white-water rafting as I ever want to be! It made me a little nervous actually, particularly when the raft pilot went through his safety speech to start and talked about what to do if you fell overboard! (Now my old Navy man husband would tell this totally differently!) The scenery was gorgeous but wildlife sightings disappointing---mostly bald eagles and Canadian geese that we've seen before. We did survive the exhilarating trip!

By late afternoon we had checked into the Jackson Lake Lodge. The room was comfortable but not fancy. The view of Willow Flats, Jackson Lake and the Tetons from the common area and deck were spectacular and with a glass of wine in hand, close to paradise! Near dusk John spotted elk and moose out in the flats---the first BIG animals seen on this trip.

The next day we would get up close and personal with the mountains!
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