Thursday, October 18, 2007

Roadtrip 1995 - Part 8: Grand Teton National Park

The night I arrived in Jackson, I walked the central square. The square, bordered with high-end stores with western motifs, is decorated with arches made of elk antlers. It was pretty neat.

The next morning I got up early and found a hole in the wall restaurant for breakfast. The line to get in was long but, since I was alone, I was able to get in before some larger parties. I had a humongous plate of Chicken Fried Steak and Eggs – Yum Yum.


Breakfast was followed by a trip to the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and a
tram ride up to the top of Rendezvous Mountain. The tram closed in 2006 and a larger tram may be built to replace it. It was cold up at the top. There was spotty patches of snow on the ground and it started to snow while I was up there. A lot of people were underdressed. I had a jacket on and I was pretty comfortable. I hiked up to an overlook and enjoyed the views while I was waiting for the next tram.


After returning down to warmth, I drove into the Grand Teton National Park and headed to Jenny Lake. There was a loop trail around the lake which I decided to take. I also took a spur trail that climbed up to Inspiration Point (Inspiration Point ... most overused place names ... Yada Yada).

The trail with the spur was about 7 - 8 miles long. The hike was nice. It wasn’t too crowded and most of the trail is relatively flat. You did have to watch out for horse exhaust on the trail but only for the first half or so. Along the trail I ran across a deer or two. When I got to Inspiration point the sun was starting to get low and a chilly wind was blowing. While I had a jacket at Rendezvous Mountain, I did not have my jacket on this hike. The wind was bracing and invigorating. I headed back down to the lake loop trail and headed back to the parking lot. As I approached it was getting dark and I missed the side trail to the parking lot. I realized my mistake a little further on when I recognized a fallen tree that I had passed before. I turned around and managed to get to the car.

I drove back to Jackson and went to bed early. The next day was going to be a driving day on the way to Rocky Mountain NP.
When I left the hotel the next morning, my car was covered in frost. I drove back into the park and turned east on US-26 which goes over the continental divide. As I got closer to the pass the road became more and more snow and ice covered. I slowed down as I passed cars sitting in the ditch. I managed to make it over the pass without incident. I continued southeast through Wyoming. It was kind of weird to see the buttes covered in snow. I ended the day in Laramie.

The next day I left Laramie planning to enter Rocky Mountain NP from the west and take the highest continuous road in the United States (peaking at 12,183) ending up at Estes Park on the east side. I reached the west entrance to the park and discover the road through the park was closed due to snow the previous night. I asked the ranger if the road would open soon and was told that it should be open in a few hours. I looked at short hikes in the region but didn't find anything that really grabbed me so I decided to drive around the park to the east entrance. This part of the drive sucked. Lots of traffic and stop and go until I got through Denver.
I reached Estes park and found the park entrance. Turns out the road through the park was still closed. It never did open up while I was there.

Pictures are
here. Next stop: Rocky Mountain National Park.

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