July 4, 2009
Our day started out calm and clear. Our plan for the day was to get to the Tetons and secure a site at a campground in the area. The fourth of July weekend could pose a problem but we were told if we get to the National Park early we should be able to reserve a site.
Our first order of business was to get out of Lander. Unfortunately we left just as they were starting their annual fourth of July parade. We roamed around the side streets of Lander until we found a place to park at the high school. Route 287 was a stones’ throw away but since we didn’t know the town, neither our GPS systems or we couldn’t fined an alternate route to get to it. We spoke with some locals and they told us there was no way out unless we went to the other end of town. They also mentioned this was the biggest parade and most people ever!!! Luckily Ron spoke with a DPW person who told him of the access road behind the high school that would bring us on to route 287. We turned the rig around dodging lots of horse manure (boy they love their horses here) and were on our way to the Tetons via the scenic route.
The ride to the Tetons was no less adventurous. There is road construction going on everywhere with one lane roadways and lots of waiting. We ran into all types of weather from bright sunshine to windy to a hail-storm where the temp dropped from 75 to 43 degrees in a matter of ten minutes. We drove through so much dirt and mud that both the Jeep and RV were covered. They both look pretty gross.
As we were coming over one rise you could see the Tetons in the distance and their beauty took my breath away. Every turn gave us a different but equally great view of the mountain range. The roads to the campground were narrow and winding with the speed limit averaging 15 MPH. The trip took us six hours to drive 170 miles.
We arrived at Gros Ventre Campground and after some juggling were fortunate enough to secure a campsite directly facing the Grand Tetons. What a view and the Tetons are beautiful, majestic and magical. We can’t believe we can look out our window and there they are. Part of our travel dreams fulfilled.
We skipped lunch today so I made an early dinner. We decided we should head out to the visitor center and get some info on activities in the area. On the way to the center we crossed over a bridge that was packed with people looking into the woods. Of course we had to look and there in the woods were two beautiful, huge Moose. It was difficult to get a good picture because they were moving among the trees. They were the biggest Moose we have ever seen.
Next we headed to the Antelope Flat Road to see the famous barn picture scene with the Tetons in the background. At this point everything went wrong. We stopped at a roadside area that was very uneven and since I have become a shutterbug I volunteered to get out and take the picture. It was downhill from there and I mean downhill!!!! I slid on some gravel and since I have no balance or good recovery reflexes hit the ground with a thud – breaking the camera in the process. There I was laying on the ground thinking – not again and what kind of an idiot am I while Ron was standing on the other side of the car not noticing that I wasn’t there. I scrambled to my feet, fe eling like a fool and Ron was shocked to learn that I had fallen – again!!! Remember, I hiked up steep rough inclines without incident – what’s the story with my feet???? I guess on flat terrain I need a walker.
Needless to say breaking our only camera put a bit of a damper on things. No picture taking and two aggravated people. Tomorrow we will have to go into Jackson to buy a new camera. Ron, the optimist hopes to get our camera fixed but I doubt it.
Despite the setback we decided to continue on and check out more of the area. Incredibly the camera still worked so we took some additional photos. We stopped at the Gros Ventre landslide that blocked the flowing river, flooded the town and created a beautiful lake. There is a trail that allows dogs so we will return tomorrow and bring Jewel for a hike.
We drove through a tiny town called Kelly. It has a coffee shop with free WiFi. We have been experiencing difficulty maintaining a connection at the campsite so Ron plans to go to Kelly and get all of the blog posted before we head into Yellowstone on Wednesday. It is our understanding that there is no cell service in the park. We’ll check that out when we get there.
Ron was taking pictures and as long as the zoom was not used everything was going ok. Then Ron tried the zoom and all the pictures were blurred and concave. The lens had moved and could not be realigned. We will definitely need to get it fixed or purchase a new camera in the morning.