Road Trip Day 2 - Grand Tetons

September 04, 2014

Day 2 of our road trip took us to the Grand Teton National Park. Due to my last minute nature of my trip planning, I was researching what things to do at GTNP in the morning while i waited for my sister and cousin to wake up from their slumber. I stumbled upon Rebacca’s blog where she detailed her trip to GTNP and Yellowstone. Having done zero research into the area before deciding to there, it helped give me a general idea what I should plan as must see and do. We drove from Idaho Falls to Jackson and then off to GTNP after lunch. We stopped by the visitor center to confirm what we wanted to do for the afternoon before it got dark. We decided to try to hit the Taggart Lake hike (3 Miles RT) and the Jenny Lake hike hike (6 Miles RT without boat). The first thing about Rebecca’s post that got me concerned was her encounter with bears on her excursion. We did arm ourselves with some bear spray which I acquired with an REI gift card. However, on our whole trip we didn’t encounter any situation where we even needed to think about using the spray. I’m almost certain it was because we went later in the day, when all the animals will typically be resting and getting out of the sun. Or we went a bit later in the season, when they aren’t migrating as much. At any rate, it’s one of those things that you would regret not having when facing a bear.

Our trek to Taggart Lake went pretty smoothly, it’s really flat, so we made pretty quick work of it. There were pockets of rain that we experienced on the hike. But for the most part it was a clear hike. Afterwards, we did attempt the Jenny Lake hike. However, in the process of the doing the hike it started to rain pretty hard and it didn’t appear to be letting up. We waited a little bit but decided to bail on it and just drive around the rest of the park basically doing a scouting mission. We drove up to the top of signal mountain to get a birds eye view of the park.

From there we just headed north towards Colter Bay. We stopped at a few other observation points to admire the beauty. We attempted to go wildlife searching by going to a marshland. When we arrived we noticed a group of tourists, but being naive we decided to stay away from the crowd. However, there was a crowd for a reason. They were observing a beaver swimming through the marshlands. Lesson learned, if you see a crowd, you should investigate quickly before the animal disappears! On the drive back towards Jackson, where we were staying for the night, we saw some brown bears (maybe grizzles) playing in the meadows near the tree line. Unfortunately, by the time I was able to switch lenses on my camera, they had disappeared back into the woods. If animal observation is your thing, it appears the best time to observe them is in the early mornings, or late evenings. Additionally, while driving through the park, be very mindful of the other drivers. Many times drivers will pull off to the side of the road to observe animals, and many times they don’t do so safely.

As for our stay in Jackson, things around GTNP and Yellowstone are very overpriced. One would imagine if you planned early enough, you’ll be able to find much more affordable/nicer options.
Alternatively, I would have loved to camp in the park. However, I was making a cross-country drive, and didn’t have the room for camping gear, in addition to the stuff I was moving back. The stay from Jackson to GTNP is only a short 30/45 minute drive, so I recommend staying there if you are visiting the park.

In closing, GTNP’s beauty is better observed in the morning / late afternoon hours, when the mountains are lit by the sun. As you will see in the photos in the next post

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