Day 22 (Saturday, May 22, 2021)
After a cold and wet settling into our site yesterday afternoon and lots of rain overnight, this morning is presenting bright sunshine and glorious views of the Teton Range just across Jackson Lake, a few steps from our campsite at Signal Mountain Campground.
Knowing the weather isn’t going to hold all day, we head out and start our driving discovery tour heading south on Grand Teton Road, from Signal Mountain towards Jenny Lake. We stop at the various sights that allow J.T. to come with us (as she’s not allowed on trails, there won’t be any hiking for us today).
The Potholes are not what we’re used to from commuting on I-580 , but rather are “kettles” created some 15,000 years ago when sediment carried by glacial meltwater buried huge blocks of ice that calved off retreating glaciers. As the ice melted, the ground sank leaving depressions behind which can range from 15 feet to a quarter mile in diameter. Trees take root in some kettles, creating forest islands, while water pools in others.
Viewpoints for Mount Moran follow next. This mountain reflects all the geologic forces shaping the Teton Range, including gneiss, granite, sandstone and glaciers.
In case you did not know – there is a Teton Fault. An earthquake fault line between us on the road and the mountain peaks, where tectonic plates crash. No quakes recently though, so we’re good there!
Next along the route is Jenny Lake, with a great view of the mountains just across the lake. No boat crossing for us today, as again, dogs are not allowed.
After passing through Moose Junction and crossing the Snake River, we head north on Hwy 191 for just a mile before turning onto Antelope Flats Road and towards Mormon Row Historic District. Known for the Ansel Adams photos of historic barns in front of the Teton Range, we stop to (try and) recreate the shots. Dark clouds are starting to roll in, making for a nice variation of the picture!
Back on the highway, we follow the Snake River, stopping at the river overlook where another one of Adams’ famous photographs was taken in 1942. The shot of the unspoiled beauty of the Snake River and the jagged Teton Range captured nature as exemplified by national parks. Adams’s photographs helped promote and protect western U.S. landscapes.
After one more stop along the river, at Oxbow Bend, we head north toward Colter Bay Village before turning back south. No bears in sight at the Willow Flats overlook, but the signs say otherwise …
Last but not least on today’s tour is Signal Mountain, where a windy and steep road gets us all the way to the summit. From here, we have the full views of the valley, including some of wildlife spotting: a group of elk bulls about a mile away and a small herd of bison over two miles in the distance. As we make our way back down the mountain, the rain clouds have finally caught up with us and it starts pouring down with no end in sight!
Day 23 (Sunday, May 23, 2021)
It’s been raining all night and continues to rain all morning. How do I know without stepping outside? Well, the aluminum roof of the airstream trailer lets us hear it loud and clear! What to do? Make it a lazy Sunday …
We don’t really get the day started until the early afternoon, taking a stroll through the campground when the rain stops and the sun peeks out for a moment, check out the gift shop at the Signal Mountain Lodge, hog their internet to listen to the A’s game (they lost :() and catch up on blog posts and photos to tag.
Tomorrow will be another day for another park … but more on that later!
For the rest of the LATE afternoon Kirk wants to get out and about to see if we can shoot a bear… with a camera of course. So we head off in the late afternoon and, well, we don’t find bears yet. But we do see some wildlife. During out evening journey we eventually take a long dirt road to the lake. It was quite a treat since it was also full of exciting elk sightings.
But the hunger pains set in and we had make our way back to our little trailer. Pork, broccoli, and toasted bread settled us in just fine.
It was another nice day of relaxing and enjoying the wilderness. Not too bad eh?