7/27/13 I had a chance to cover the tourist areas of the park on my drive into Jackson Hole. I then spent one more full day in the valley to take in the sites, get my backcountry permit, and prepare for the solo expedition.
1 After business was done in Casper, I made the road trip across Wyoming to Cody and then down through Yellowstone on my way to Grand Teton National Park. The drive was pretty boring to Cody, but got increasingly beautiful on the way into Yellowstone.
2 There were several great, scenic turnouts along John D. Rockefeller Jr. Highway 89 heading South through Yellowstone. Here I spot a small herd of Elk running across the meadow.
3 Driving around the Northern edge of Yellowstone Lake.
4 An impressive waterfall from one of the turnouts along the highway.
5 A river runs through it. Iconic Yellowstone scenery is everywhere.
6 Driving around the West Thumb area of Yellowstone Lake.
7 A closer look at the Bison.
8 I came across a couple Bison on the way into Grand Teton National Park.
9 Now officially in Grand Teton National Park, I start to get my first view of the Tetons and the Snake River. I then continue the drive all the way down to Jackson, which will serve as my staging area for the hike.
10 The morning of Day 2 I head to the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center at Moose Junction to get my backcountry permit. The center is big, beautiful, and is the new park headquarters. I arrive before they open and had only one person in line before me. I end-up getting lucky and am able to reserve the exact backcountry sites that I wanted, including Holly Lake for the third night. There are only three sites on the lake, so they are extremely hard to get. Fortunately, two thirds of the backcountry permits are held for onsite reservations, ony available 24 hours before hitting the trail. The other third are reserved online and are sold out six months in advance.
11 I stayed at the Painted Buffalo Inn. Absolutely the worst hotel experience I have ever had. Crazy to think that I would probalby be in a quieter, cleaner, more comfortable environment soon in the wildnerness.
12 Jackson Hole is evidently the historic name of the entire valley below the Tetons, and is used interchangeably with Jackson for the city name as well.
13 The entire town sticks with the western theme despite having a number of very upscale, tourist attraction stores. It's an odd combination of Tombstone and Rodeo drive.
14 The Jackson town square. Jackson is a great little town of less than 10,000 that dates back to the late 1800s.
15 The tram out of Teton Village. It was just recently build in 2009 and climbs almost 4,000' from around 6,500' to 10,450' in about 15 minutes. Most people start the Teton Crest Trail from the top of the tram. You can skip the tram (which I would normally do), but it adds another day, which I unfortunately didn't have time for in the travel plans.
16 During the summer, the ski slopes and chair lifts turn into mountain bike runs.
17 Later in the morning, I drove up to Teton Village, which would be the start of my hike the following day. Teton Village is a beautiful, world class (and expensive!) ski resort that lies just South of the National Park.
18 After leaving Teton Village, I take the little Moose-Wilson Road towards Jenny Lake. The road turns to rough dirt and was originally built only to reach Laurance S. Rockenfeller's ranch, which has now been donated as a Preserve to the park service. The road is slow going, but is a shorter route to Jenny Lake, and it's a beautiful drive.
19 Back on the main road at one of the many turnouts with picturesque views of the Tetons. It has been raining for most of the day, which doesn't bode well for weather conditions for the hike.
20 The Cathedral Group of the Teton Range... Grand Teton, Mount Owen, and Teewinot.
21 A closer look at the Cathedral Group and a good view of Teton Glacier nestled in the middle.
22 Jenny Lake, which will be the ending point of my hike in four days. Small boats shuttle tourists back and forth across the lake to avoid having to make a two mile (beautiful) hike.
23 The end of String Lake that drains into the larger Jenny Lake.
24 Leigh Lake. A gorgeous area of the park unfortunately easily accessible by all the tourists.
25 Another view of Leigh Lake.
26 Probably my favorite spot in the front country of Jackson Hole valley. Fortunately, the back country is even better.
27 Jenny Lake Overlook with a great view up Cascade Canyon. I then headed-up for a quick tour of Jackson Lake before making the hour drive back to Jackson. Tourist time was over and tomorow would start the real adventure.
28 The slanted roof building is an original structure from the 1800s.