The Great West Trip 2023: Part 5

 This is a cross-post from Flyin' the Coop

When we left Yellowstone by the South Entrance, we immediately entered Grand Teton National Park. Except there wasn't a sign so I was a little confused as to where we actually were.  We were soon greeted by an amazing sight:

I was feeling pretty patriotic seeing this just as we left Yellowstone. I thought it was extremely exciting. And then, as we drove further into the Park, a bear ran across the road ahead of us and down the hill. And that was the extent of seeing wildlife in Grand Teton. 

As mentioned in the last post, we managed to snag the last spot in the Colter Bay Campground. A huge thank you to the person who canceled just before I booked it! When we rolled into the campground I had to show the employee that we had the reservation because his paperwork didn't have the updated reservation. I didn't take any pictures of the campsite; there was nothing spectacular about it. I think it may have actually been a tent site since we had to park on the side of the road. To the best of my recollection, there was a fire pit and picnic table. The public restrooms had a flushing toilet and sink but no shower. The next morning we went to the Colter Bay Visitor Center to shower and do laundry. The pay showers were amazing. I think we paid $5 each for lengthy showers. It helped that we were there fairly early and were one of the first ones there. There is also a store that has groceries, coffee and breakfast sandwiches, as well as a gift store. 
View of Jackson Lake
I was awestruck by the beauty
After we were showered and our clothes cleaned, we started driving out of the park. We came across a young couple carrying a bicycle wheel. We stopped and asked if they needed a ride somewhere. This couple was cycling the Continental Divide from just next to the Mexican Border up to Canada. They were walking to the post office (about a 10-mile hike from the campground) to pick up a part a friend of hers overnighted to her. They had both just graduated from college and were taking the summer to cycle before "becoming adults". Once we dropped them off at the post office, we decided to wait for them and offer them a ride back to the campground since we weren't on a timeline. I know they appreciated it, but we kept telling them that we would hope someone would do the same for one of our boys. 
View as we drove to/from the post office
We drove through Jackson and stopped for groceries. Honestly, I wasn't very impressed. It was so crowded; I wanted to get groceries and get out of there. It was too touristy for our taste.

At the last minute, we found a Harvest Host for the night. This was another dairy farm that had an ice cream/dairy shop. We weren't so thrilled with this spot. It was hot, there was absolutely no shade, and we were told to park right next to the cow pen. On top of that, this was our view:
Thanks, but no thank you. We ended up getting a hotel room for the night so we were cool and were able to take luxurious showers in Afton, Wyoming. This was a very cute little town whose claim to fame is the largest arch made out of elk antlers...over 3000 of them, in fact.
It would have been nice to have had a few more hours to look around. This one street is pretty much the whole town. There was a shortcut from the Oregon Trail that went through Afton (Lander Trail). "This shortcut saved emigrants as much as 7 days travel." If only we had known!
We made it to Utah!
Since we didn't get a picture when we originally crossed into Wyoming, after taking the picture in Utah we crossed the street & snapped this picture! rock! This was at a beautiful rest area in Utah
This was also taken at the rest area. So unique!
Moving on, we clipped Idaho and then made it to Utah. We discussed going to Craters of the Moon National Park. While it looks like a very cool place, we decided to keep moving on. CH has a friend in Park City, UT that he attempted to see. Unfortunately, we weren't able to make that happen. Our oldest son lived in Park City for a while so it was cool to see a glimpse of where he lived, as well as the skatepark where he spent some of his time.
This is a pavilion right next to a skatepark
Again, Park City was very crowded and hot, so we traveled on to Salt Lake City and spent the next day there. We didn't see was well over 100 degrees. I hear people joke all the time, "But it's a dry heat" and now I get it. Yes, it was hot. Hot is hot, but without the humidity, it certainly didn't feel like it was over 90 degrees. We managed to see the Great Salt Lake in the distance before driving down to Provo (another hotel) for the night. People in Utah love to put things on the side of the hill:
The "Y" is for "Young"...of Bringham & Young. We weren't far from the university.
Afton had a star in the hill behind our hotel since it is in the Star Valley. This "Y" is on "Y Mountain" and was built in 1906 out of lime and rock. It has been reinforced with concrete and paint. Believe it or not, this project was not a university project; the idea started because the junior class of Bringham Young High School wanted to paint '07 on the mountain, which of course upset the senior class of '06. A compromise was reached with the university president and high school principal coming up with an idea. Originally, there was going to also be a "B" and "U" but after hours of hauling lime and rock up the mountain, the project was abandoned. So now there is just a "Y". There is a parking lot roughly a mile away and it is one of the most hiked trails in the Utah Valley. I had no idea you could actually go up there. I don't know that we would have done it, but it could have been a possibility!

So far, we have seen some pretty incredible sights. But what was coming the next day was the best yet!

1 comment:

  1. I miss those days of camping years ago and also the 18 years we went up to Mammoth Lakes and rented a cabin each summer. We have been to the parks you mentioned and they are so beautiful. That was sweet of you to help those people. Your photos are lovely.


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