Saturday, June 23, 2012


June 19th through June 22nd.   
We arrived in the Tetons from Yellowstone on Tuesday the 19th. It was an easy 2 hour ride down into the Park. Since then, we have been doing quite a bit. On the 20th, we took a driving tour of the Tetons all the way down to Jackson (Hole) by way of Teton Village. The scenic route to the Village is one we won’t take again. It is unpaved in spots and lots of frost heaves. The views, however, were fantastic.  Especially the ones from the top of Signal Mountain overlooking the Potholes (small ponds) and valley on one side and Jackson Lake and the Teton Range on the other.
View from Signal Mountain to Jackson Lake and Teton Range
View from Signal Mountain of Potholes and Valley

 We stopped at quite a few overlooks and, of course, Jenny Lake which is magnificent.
View from our lunch spot on Jenny Lake
Jackson Hole is actually the name of the whole valley between the Teton Mountain Range, but many people call the town of Jackson, Jackson Hole. As you drive through the valley, you can see why they called it the “Hole.” There are mountains as far as you can see on the east and west of the cavernous valley. While the elevation is 6700 to 7200 in most areas of the Park, the peaks of the Teton Range loom over us as high as from 10,000 feet all the way up to the Grand Teton at 13,770 feet. The snow covered mountains that sit directly next to the lakes, look so close that you feel you can reach out and touch them. 

On the main thoroughfare, there are many meadows and warnings for wildlife crossing the road, but to date we have not seen any. A little disappointing after all that we saw in Yellowstone. We do see quite a lot of bicyclists with their bikes bogged down with all of their camping gear. Each of the National Parks reserves so many spots at each campground for hikers and bicyclists so that they are always able to find a place to rest. It is amazing they can make the climb up these hills with all that gear.

The main route through the Park is named after John D. Rockefeller, who, after visiting Jackson Hole in 1926, was upset that there was “haphazard development” going on in the area. He began buying up the land and eventually donated 32,000 acres to the Federal Government for the Teton National Park. Thank you Mr. Rockefeller! The area became a National Park in 1929 with earlier protection from the federal government as The Teton Forest Reserve in 1897.

The earlier inhabitants of the Tetons were the Paleo-Indians about 10,000 years ago and then, in more modern times, the Shoshone, Crow, Gros Ventre and Blackfeet frequented the area in the summertime following the animal trails across the Continental Divide. From the 1820s to the 1840s the fur traders would meet and exchange their wares in designated valleys.

As if the wonderful vistas are not enough, the lovely warm weather has arrived! It has been mid-70s to 80s for a couple of days and we have put aside our polar fleece jackets, warm hats, and gloves for layers of short sleeve shirts under long sleeve shirts and zip off hiking pants that turn to shorts. The mornings are cool, noon time is hot and evening is cool again. But so much better weather than we have had thus far in this area.  We aren’t even using the heater in the RV anymore!
Thursday, the 21st, we canoed on Jackson Lake which is quite large. Our campground is about a quarter mile from the lake, the village and the marina. There is a boat launching area there which makes it really convenient.
Jackson Lake Marina

The weather was perfect with very little breeze and the lake was like glass. We canoed for over 4 miles all around one area of the lake. The lake is huge and we could never canoe the whole thing. We lunched on an island and took in the scenery before heading back in.
Canoeing on Jackson Lake

On our road trip the other day, we explored where to put in the canoe and the take outs for the Snake River. We decided upon putting in at the dam from Jackson Lake and to take it out at the Pacific Creek Landing/Cattleman’s Bridge.  We arrived at the dam today about 10am and unloaded everything for the paddle down the river.
Jackson Lake Dam

 I waited with the canoe while Tim drove the car to the takeout spot 5 miles downriver. He rode his bike back, uphill all the way, and we headed out at about 11:30.
Tim Riding Back from Pacific Creek Landing

The current was swift and we didn’t have to paddle much at all until we rounded the Oxbow Bend. Then the wind hit us straight on and we had to paddle quite a bit to make any headway. We were warned that just before the takeout the Pacific Creek merged with the Snake and the current would be very swift to cross to make the landing before going down into a white water area. We reached the takeout sooner than we thought we would and had no trouble navigating the currents. This is a favorite take out spot for many kayaks, canoes and rubber rafts, while many white water rafters continue down the snake to rougher waters and bigger rapids. We were happy with floating down the top half of the river and think we may do it one more time before we leave the Tetons.
We only did the first part...our canoe in background.
Cruising Down the Snake River!

1 comment:

  1. The Tetons are spectacular, and we loved them. The only animal we saw when we were there was a young moose, right near the Visitor Center in the river. Canoeing certainly adds another dimension to visiting... Enjoy your stay- and the warm weather!