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June 12, 2014 / mws

2014 Grand Tetons May/June

May 25-27 2014  Sunday – Tuesday   After spending a week touring Wyoming, we arrived in Jackson Hole on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.  We drove through the park to Signal Mountain Lodge for our three night stay.  This is our favorite place to stay in the Grand Teton area and we looked forward to relaxing here and enjoying the gorgeous scenery.

Here are some highlights of our May adventure in the Grand Tetons:

The Barns  Lance loves barns!!  And posing with the Grand Tetons in the background are the two Moulton barns along the Antelope Flats road.  The little history I know about the area tells me that there was a small Mormon settlement here in the early 1900’s.  Part of the settlement included the Moulton family who constructed the barns on adjacent homesteads. Most of the buildings and plots were sold and became part of Grand Teton National Park.

Teton BarnAccording to an article in Wyoming’s Star Tribune, there is a one-acre plot that is still owned by the Moulton family.  Here the family gathers once each year to reminisce and plan for fund-raising for needed repairs to the barns.  Here is a link to an outstanding article by Mike Jackson on the history of the Moulton barns. We are grateful for the continued efforts to keep this area restored and provide an almost perfect composition for photographers to capture the iconic image of the Moulton barns.

What we call No-Bear Alley – Just off the Moose-Wilson Road is the road to Death Canyon Trailhead. (Whitegrass Ranch Road).  We have driven back this road dozens of time and many other tourists have told us about the bears they see here.  We have never seen a bear here, so therefore the No-Bear-Alley designation.  We do enjoy looking and parking at the trailhead for the Canyon hike.  We stroll on the ranger trails and see scat and paw prints but no bear yet! And yes, we always carry our bearspray!

THE ANIMALS

399 and cubsBears — One of the more famous bears in GTNP is 399. The Park service gives the bears a number rather than a name so that visitors will not think they are pets!  399 is an 18 year old grizzly with two cubs of one year. We followed them a few times and were delighted like everyone else with each appearance.

Jenny Lake MooseMoose — Moose are always a favorite of mine; they’re so awkward in a cute kind of way.  We most often find them in an area by a pond, lake or river…and most always in the mist of the willows.  We found a 7AM moose one morning at Cottonwood Creek.  Someone said that she had a calf, but it was out of sight.

Another sighting occurred at South Jenny Lake along the river.  This moose was out in the open and provided great photos and excitement for many visitors.

Coyote PupCoyotes — Most times when a coyote is spotted, it will be trotting along on it’s own or mouse hunting.  It’s fun to see them pounce on a meal!  This year was especially exciting when we located a coyote den with nine pups!!  We spend about 2 hours watching them at two different times.  There were signs posted, so we could not go very close but we did the best we could with the photos.

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June 9 -12 2014  Monday – Thursday   We checked in at Signal Mountain Lodge for our 3 night stay.  The park looks alive and summery with wildflowers and animals/tourists all around.

Here are some highlights of our June adventure in the Grand Teton

South Jenny Lake TrailJenny Lake Hikes  There are several nice hikes in the Jenny Lake area.  The most popular one is the hike to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point.  Since we had done this twice before, we chose to take a hike along South Jenny Lake. It was a gorgeous day and the mountain views along the way were wonderful.  We had heard reports of a bear sighting in the area, but did not see one.

However, on the way back to the parking area, we spotted a moose just along the river.  It was a more that adequate substitute for the bear!

The Lodges

  Signal Mountain Lodge   This is our “home” when we visit GTNP.  It has lodging, restaurants, a gas station, a gift shop, and a general store. It has wifi and TV reception, although the electronics are available ONLY in the lounge area. By far, the best aspect is the gorgeous scenery with the Tetons rising up from beautiful Jackson Lake.

For this part of our trip, we stayed in a “country room’ at the Signal Mountain Resort. This was located in a duplex with a shared wall.  There were 2 beds,  a small refrigerator, microwave and coffee pot.  All of the country rooms are designated as non-view, but some do have a view or at least a partial view.  Parking is just outside the duplex. The location is outstanding and you can easily reach Oxbow Bend, or Summit Mountain Road for early morning or evening wildlife watching.

  Jackson Lake Lodge  We always visit this lodge when we are in GTNP, but have never stayed here. Again, this lodge is located with a spectacular view of the Tetons from the oversized lobby window.  Our main purpose for stopping here is to eat at the Pioneer Grill.  The grill is a 60’s type diner with seated counter service.

Here’s a little story of one of our visits 🙂 We visit a bit early in the season and Lance orders burgers with mustard.  Since mustard is not as universally used, the waiter pulled one from under the counter. Lance could not get it “started” so he whacked it on the bottom and “VOILA”  mustard everywhere!!  Of course, it was aimed at me and I had mustard on my food, on my clothes and in my hair.  The lady who was sitting next to me took one look at me and said ” you better find the Ladies Room”.  It was a mess!!   So now we have a story to tell each time we visit the Pioneer Grill.

Jenny Lake LodgeJenny Lake Lodge  Typically, we visit in the spring before Jenny Lake Lodge opens.  This year we were able to stop in for a visit.  This lodging may be over budget for most people, and I have heard of federal conferences being held here. Jenny Lake Lodge has a reputation for high quality food and service.

The lodging itself receives a variety of reviews with most agreeing that the lodging has declined somewhat over the years and doesn’t justify the cost. We looked around and decided to have lunch here.  Dressy attire is required for dinner but for lunch, casual dress is acceptable.  This lodge does require reservations even for lunch.  The lunch menu is simple with salads, hot and cold sandwiches and a few entrees.  I would call the lunch decor Upscale Rustic!

Oxbow Bend 

IMG_0068This is the location I most often dream about in between GTNP visits!  Standing on the bank of the Snake River and gazing over the wide bend in the river always humbles me.  I can vividly recall saying to Lance on our first visit there, “Here is an experience that all Americans should have.”  To add to the majesty of Mt. Moran rising over the river, there is often wildlife in the area.  Bears, moose, elk, trumpeter swans, beaver and river otters have been photographed here.

There is a side road that leads to the Cattlemans Bridge area.  At the end of this dirt road, you can walk along the river and spot moose or elk.   When we visit, we just settle in here and wait to see what happens.  We have never  been dissapointed.

“One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between Man and Nature shall not be broken.” – Leo Tolstoy
To see more photos of our 2014 Grand Tetons trip, click here
 

2 Comments

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  1. Anonymous / Oct 6 2014 2:18 pm

    Marilyn, I so enjoyed your trip reports of Yellowstone and Grand Tetons. We plan to go next June and are so excited! Your Random Thoughts sharing memories of your mother was just like I was reading about my life and my mom. I was amazed as I read it, we share so many things! Just wanted to say thanks for your thoughts, it really touched my heart. When I left after seeing mom yesterday I was thinking so many of the things you mentioned. Even though she can’t say much her smile says a lot to me. We went through similar things with Dad and I will never forget him joining in singing Silent Night after sitting there half asleep in his own little world on Christmas Eve. Sorry to ramble but you made my day!
    Sandy Kruse

    • mws / Oct 6 2014 5:47 pm

      Sandy, thanks for your comments. Only those who experience a family member with dementia can truly understand. Enjoy your time in the parks in 2015!! You will love it!

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