National Parks Tour: Jackson, Wyoming

Friday, September 10, 2021

The room was hotter last night than the night before and I didn’t sleep well. Tossed and turned and just got up at 4:00. We got our bags out at 7:00 and walked back over to the Old Faithful Lodge for another try at breakfast. Chuck got the same hot breakfast jumbled in the box. I chose yogurt and fruit.

Some of our fellow passengers were again eating their breakfast outside waiting to see Old Faithful in action. Chuck decided to join them. Too chilly for me, I opted to go back to the room and eat. Besides, my dessert from last night was waiting for me – cheesecake, yogurt, fruit, and coffee – breakfast of champions.

At 9:00, we made our last stop in Yellowstone. We stopped for a photo opportunity at the Continental Divide and Isa Lake. Al told us that the water on the west side of the Continental Divide flows west toward the Pacific and water on the east side of the Continental Divide eventually flows toward the Atlantic.

We left the Park and got on the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Parkway heading toward the Grand Teton National Park.

Our first photo stop was at Jackson Lake. The lake was way down. Al said it has been dammed up to supply water for the farmers. We saw some Sandhill Cranes walking in the shallow water.

I would have liked to have been able to stop at Jackson Lake Lodge to see the changes from 45 years ago when we took a family vacation to Jackson Hole. Though I cannot recall if I wrote about the trip, the old photos I found brought back fond memories of the Lodge cabin, the chuckwagon cookout, the hiking, and the river rafting trip.

At 11:00, we stopped at Jenny Lake for another photo opportunity. I have fond memories of Jenny Lake too.

Our family hiked the trails there in hopes of seeing wildlife during our vacation. We did see small creatures like the chipmunk that stole my Baby Ruth candy bar during a rest break at the Falls. We finally did see a moose. He was wandering around the Ranger station when we got back.

I thought my memories were playing tricks on me as today we stopped at the Lake’s edge to look at it but I remember riding a ferry shuttle. Al said that yes there is a daily ferry shuttle that runs east and west to the Cascade Canyon trailhead. It just saves time and energy if hiking that trail is what you want to do. Glad to know I was remembering correctly.

Our last stop before we got to Jackson was the Chapel of the Transfiguration Episcopal. It is a log chapel built in 1925 with spectacular views of the Teton Mountain Range. It can seat 65 people inside and there is outside seating. A unique point was the window inside the chapel that framed the mountains perfectly. We took some time to say a prayer of thanks.

At 12:30, we arrived in Jackson, Wyoming. We parked in the Visitor Center lot and Al told us that he and Wade were taking our bags to the Rustic Inn and would be back to pick us up at 3:30. We were free to eat and then explore.

Elk Antler Arch

Six of chose to eat at The Bunnery. It is mostly known for its breakfast offerings but Al said it had a great bakery. I got the vegetable soup and a piece of carrot cake. Another member of our group got the largest apple turnover I have ever seen. Chuck got a large chicken sandwich and skipped dessert. Al was right – the bakery goods were delicious.

Once we were finished, the group split up to look at different shops. Chuck and I commented about the number of motorcycles in town and the flags lining the streets. I also noticed signs that said cars had to be off the street by 3:00. I assumed they were having an early memorial parade for 9/11.

I was wrong. They were preparing to honor one of their own – a 20-year-old Marine who was one of the 13 recently killed in the airport suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan. His body was to arrive at the airport and then police-escorted through Jackson to the funeral home. Nobody was quite sure what time the procession would arrive but I hoped we would be able to pay our respects.

Just as we were leaving the parking lot, police were closing off streets but Wade knew enough back roads to get us to the hotel. Each room was a separate little cabin with its own front porch. Ours overlooked a little garden. The most expensive cabins overlooked a creek in the back. Each front porch had two Adirondack chairs and a small table.

Chuck and I relaxed in the chairs until we heard the sirens and we knew the procession was coming. We walked to the street to join the community and other members of our tour group to bear witness to the sacrifice of this young man for the freedom of all of us. He left behind a wife and an unborn child. There was not a dry eye on the street once the procession had passed.

We were not very hungry nor did we have that much energy to walk back downtown for dinner. We decided just to have appetizers at the Lodge restaurant. Jackson is a very expensive town. Appetizers and wine were almost $100.

We walked back to our room via the Nature Trail that took us around the pond and along the creek. Just as we arrived at the cabin, the skies opened up and we had the first hard rain we have had this trip. As we were sitting there enjoying the rain shower from our covered porch, a few of our fellow passengers were running hard to their cabins but still got soaking wet.

Next Up – Traveling to Salt Lake City

Travel Trivia

Grand Teton National Park

The Grand Teton National Park was established both in 1929 and then again in 1950. The former protected the mountain ranges as well as the lakes near the valley base and the latter expanded the park parameters to include all the adjacent valley area.

The Teton Range is thought to be the youngest mountain range in the Rocky Mountains, with its formation beginning between six and nine million years ago.

The Park has a total of 12 glaciers. Teton Glacier is the largest of all of them.

The Park has 242 miles of hiking trails.

The Park has some of the most ancient rocks found in any American national park.

Sixty-one species of mammals have been recorded in Grand Teton National Park, including the gray wolf and the elk.

Over 300 species of birds have been sighted in the park including the calliope (pronunciation: kə-ˈlī-ə-pē) hummingbird, the smallest bird species in North America, as well as trumpeter swans, which is North America’s largest waterfowl.

Jackson, Wyoming

Jackson is a town, while Jackson Hole refers to the entire valley—which also includes Teton Village, Wilson, the Aspens, Moran Junction, Moose, and more.

Jackson Hole was originally named Jackson’s Hole for Davey Jackson, a mountain man who trapped in this area during the late 1800’s. “Hole” was a term used in that day to describe a high mountain valley.

Jackson had the first all-woman city council in the US. They were elected to office in Jackson in 1920.

The four iconic antler arches on Jackson town square each contain about 2,000 antlers and weigh almost 12,000 pounds.

John Wayne’s first speaking part was in The Big Trail, filmed in Jackson Hole in 1929. It also is reputed to be the first time Wayne rode a horse. In addition, there have been over 15 feature films shot on location in Jackson Hole including: Shane (1953), Any Which Way You Can (1980), Rocky IV (1985), and Django Unchained (2012).

Whitewater rafting is thought to have been invented on the Snake River in Jackson in 1811.

The National Elk Refuge, located just outside the town of Jackson, is the largest established elk preserve in North America.

Author: mmmtravelmemories

A retired college administrator who loves to travel. I write to remember the experiences and, I hope, to inspire others to make their own travel memories.

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