Into the West 2012 - Part 2

Part Two of the Into West is the continuation of a multi-part series that chronicles the journey that Shelley and I embarked on in late August and early September;  a journey that covered over 5,000 miles, seven states, and two provinces of Canada over the course of about two weeks.  If you missed out on Part One click here to get caught up.

Day Four

Day four started out in Jackson Hole, Wyoming with a Chevy Tahoe that no longer had a spare tire.  This being just four days into our journey, we knew that going forward without a spare could prove to be a problem.  The tire change on the wild horse loop had already cut into the trip and caused us to lose an afternoon in Grand Teton National Park.  We really did not want to spend any more time waiting, but not waiting now could prove to be a major problem down the road.  With a fear that the morning would be spent waiting on the tire to be changed or repaired we set off for a tire store in Jackson.  The tire store gave us an estimate of an hour.  We desided on eating breakfast and doing a little shopping near the tire store while we waited.  As it turned out the wait was not as long as they had estimated.  The only problem was they did not have the same tire in stock.  They did however have a used tired.  They offered to move the spare tire to normal rim and put the used tire on the spare rim.  The cost was fairly inexpensive and got us back on the road.  After getting the tire situation squared away we traveled back to the main square in downtown Jackson.

The archway to Jackson square

After seeing the square and doing a little shopping it was back on the road and North to Grand Teton National Park.

Grand Teton National Park

We entered the park from the south and stopped at the visitor's center and gift shop.  Seeing as we were now in a time crunch to get to the lodging for the night, we had to cut down on the amount of time that was spent here. Like I've said before, this trip turned into a scouting trip early on, and with the tire issue on the wild horse loop we had to start cutting down the amount of things that we were hoping to see.  Luckily this really only affected the Grand Teton leg of the trip.  After leaving the visitor's center at Moose Junction we continued north along Teton Park Road.  Our first stop inside of the park was the homestead of James Manges.  The cabin was constructed in 1911 and according to the Park Service, is most likely the first two-story structure in the area.

Manges Homestead

After stopping at the Manges homestead we continued north along Teton Park Road.  We turned off and headed to the boat launch at the southern end of Jenny Lake.  The road down to the boat launch is a branch off of the gravel road to Lupine Meadows Trailhead.  You cross over Cottonwood Creek and take the right fork in the road.  This will lead you down to the boat launch.  The boat launch gives you quick access to Jenny Lake, and it also offers many photo opportunities.

Jenny Lake from the Boat Launch

Teewinot Mountain

After visiting the boat launch we traveled down the gravel road toward the Lupine Meadows Trailhead.  This road offers wonderful views of Teewinot Mountain and the east side of the Teton range.  Teewinot Mountain is the sixth highest peek in the Teton Range at 12,325 feet.  It is located to the northwest of Grand Teton and Teton Glacier.  Almost due west of it lies Mount Owen.

Teewinot Mountain

The Cathedral Group

We then returned to Teton Park Road and journeyed to north until the Cascade Canyon Turnout.  Here we were presented with a spectacular view of the Cathedral Group, which consists of Mount Owen, Grand Teton, and Teewinot Mountain.   Grand Teton is the tallest of the peaks in the Teton Range, at over 13,770 feet.  Mount Owen rises to 12,928 feet.

The Cathedral Group

Jenny Lake

We left the Cathedral Group and once again headed north along Teton Park Road to the entrance of North Jenny Lake Junction.  The road along Jenny Lake runs in only one direction and is on the east side of the lake.  The one way-starts on the north end and follows Jenny Lake to the south.  There are a few turnouts along the drive.  The photograph below was taken from lake level at the parking lot at the beginning of the one way.  It was little bit of a walk down what appeared to be WPA-era stairs,  that had definitely seen better days.  Jenny Lake was noticeably lower than normal.

Jenny Lake

The Snake River

After driving back north on Teton Park Road we turned off and drove up to the top of Signal Mountain.  The road is narrow and is a switchback road, but the view from the top, even with the haze of the wild fires off to the west, was well worth the effort.  For most of the drove to the top there was limited space to pass on-coming traffic.

The Snake River

After driving back down from the top of Signal Mountain we stopped at Signal Mountain Lodge for a late lunch.  The view from the dinning room was stellar with the Teton Range and clouds reflecting off of Jackson Lake.  After Shelley and I finished eating our late lunch, we headed north again along Jackson Lake until we came to the Jackson Lake Overlook where we stopped to enjoy the view of the mountains and clouds dancing across the waters of Jackson Lake.

Jackson Lake

Leaving Grand Teton National Park

Prior to leaving Grand Teton National Park, Shelley and I stopped for the typical tourist photograph.  This photograph reminds me of the fun that we had in the brief visit to the park.  It was way too short and I could have easily spent a week photographing the Tetons, the lakes, and the waterfalls, of which we totally missed out on.

Yellowstone In Passing

With the day fading into evening we were pressed into passing by many stopping places in Yellowstone as we headed for our lodging for the next three nights in Island Park, Idaho.  We did stop long enough to take a picture of the sign at the Southern Gate of Yellowstone.

Southern Gate of Yellowstone

We were also able to stop a couple times for things that we thought we might not see again, at this distance.

And there was the setting sun over the Madison River.   And then it was on to West Yellowstone to pick up supplies for the cabin.

Madison River Valley, Yellowstone National Park