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2006 Pacific Northwest Vacation - July 23 to August 12, Part 5

Index

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My 2006 Pacific Northwest Vacation - 21 days, 6700 miles.
Days 12 to 14, Yellowstone Bear World to Grand Teton National Park.

Yellowstone Bear World - August 3

The next day, I got my exhaust pipe fixed, and all was quiet again. And it didn't even delay my schedule. I had breakfast at a place right next to Art's Muffler, and by the time I was done with breakfast, so was my car.

Just up the road was Yellowstone Bear World. The idea was to go to Bear World, and then take Idaho-33 and enter the Tetons from the backside.

Okay, why would someone visit Yellowstone Bear World? That's a pretty darn good question. I suppose it falls under my mantra of "Never judge an entertainment venue until you've seen it." Well, I've seen it, and I'm sure I'm not going back.

It's not a sanctuary, it's not a preserve. It has nothing to do with Yellowstone, as a matter of fact, it's 80 miles away from the park. It's really a travelling zoo. At least that's how it's classified, and that's how the owners were able to skirt the law to get the bears there. Personally, I thought it was a bit pitiful, especially at $17 a head. It's no different than going to your local zoo, and I'd rather go to my local zoo...

At one point, a bear bit my car. Yes, it bit my car. I still have the bite mark in my bumper. I've left there. How many people can say they had a bear bite their car? But of course, Yellowstone Bear World isn't responsible. If you read the disclaimers, the bear can break into your car, pull you out and eat half of you, and they're not responsible.

But it is a tourist attraction, and draws tourists there every day. I've seen a couple of bears in the National Parks, and they're rare, so I guess I can't blame the tourists from going to Bear World.

Yellowstone Bear World, Idaho
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The backside of the Teton Range / Teton Pass - August 3

Visiting Bear World wasn't our only reason for coming this way, we were also going to enter Jackson, WY from the back door, over Teton Pass.

The last time we were going to do this, we didn't. We were going to take Idaho-31 from US-26 at Swan Valley to Teton Pass. But it was 9/11/2001, I had no idea what the road was like, and as we looked at it from US-26, it was deserted. So we took the safe route around by following the US routes.

This time, we were going to go a little North of Rexburg (where television was invented, btw), and take Idaho-33 through the potato fields, and down (or is that up) to Teton Pass.

The backside of the Teton Range / Teton Pass
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Grand Teton National Park - August 3 to 6

Sunrise
Sunrise, Grand Teton National Park.
We had been to the Tetons twice before, in 1998 and 2001. But we had never stopped in. We were always on our way to Yellowstone.

This year would be different. We were to spend three days and explore the park. We even had reservations at Jackson Lake Lodge, but only one night in a room with a view. And it was an excellent view.

Our first day wasn't more than getting over Teton Pass, doing a little grocery shopping and explore the Lodge and Resort. Oddly enough, I don't have that many pictures of the resort or the room, except for the view. Oh well.

We ate dinner at the Pioneer Grill, and got served fresh strawberries with hot fudge and whipped cream. Mmmmmm.... To this day it remains a special treat.

Grand Teton National Park, Day 1
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Grand Teton National Park, Day 2 - August 4

Day 2 started with a beautiful view of the Tetons at Sunrise. Turned the entire mountain range an orange I'd never seen before. After a quick breakfast at the lodge, we had a date with a float trip down the Snake.

Grand Teton National Park, Day 2, Sunrise
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Grand Teton National Park, Day 2 - Snake River Float Trip

I've said that of all the touristy things I've done; Swamp tours, Everglade airboat rides, Colorado River Jet Boat tours; I haven't run into a dud yet. Well, maybe I have now.

Maybe that's unfair. The problem with the float trip was two-fold. First, the Snake may have a fair flow rate, but it's still slow relative to the size of the Teton Range. So even though you're in the boat for hours, the scenery doesn't change all that much.

Second, we were in one of the parks *famed* for the wildlife that exists within it, but the most we saw was a Bald Eagle taking a crap. Not that that was bad, but it was a disappointment.

Our guide told us that for the first time in a while, Jackson Lake was full, and the Snake River was at full flow. I imagine that would make the Palisades Reservoir on US-26 full, too.

So if I actually went to Twin Falls, Idaho I might actually see some falls. But they had their chance, and they blew it.

Grand Teton National Park, Day 2 - Snake River Float Trip
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Grand Teton National Park, Day 2, Teton Park Road / Signal Mountain

A quick Pizza at Dornan's Ranch, and we ventured further into the park following the Teton Park road, which sorta follows the foot of the mountain range. We went to Jenny Lake, and up to the top of Signal Mountain, which provides a wonderful view of Jackson Hole on one side, and Jackson Lake on the other.

On the way back from signal mountain, we ran into one of those problems common in parks like this, an animal jam. This time it was a couple of bear cubs. Since bears, much less cubs are a rare enough sight, even in a place like Grand Teton, traffic stopped. All the places to pull over were taken, so people just parked their cars in the middle of the road, and went to take pictures.

There was some pretty nice lightning, so I got the camcorder out. I think I single handedly stopped a thunderstorm. I could have saved a life that day...

Grand Teton National Park, Day 2, Teton Park Road / Signal Mountain
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Grand Teton National Park, Day 3 - August 5

We had lost our scenic view room, and was in one of the normal rooms at Jackson Lake Lodge. It was Day 3 in the Tetons, and we were going to take the shuttle boat across Jenny Lake and take a look at Hidden Falls.

We had a quick breakfast at the Lodge, then headed out to Jenny Lake. We hadn't seen the Mountains that morning, but as we turned a corner, there they were, collared by clouds. I literally slammed on the breaks to make it into a turnout to take pictures. Another magnificent morning in the Tetons.

Grand Teton National Park, Day 3 - Morning
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Grand Teton National Park, Day 3 - Jenny Lake / Inspiration Point

We took the shuttle boat to the base of Teewinot Mountain, a popular starting point for hikes through the Tetons. We made it to Hidden Falls, and started walking up toward Inspiration Point. Almost made it all the way up, before a narrow ledge prevented me from going any further.

I hate it when that happens.

Grand Teton National Park, Day 3 - Jenny Lake / Inspiration Point
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End 2006 Pacific Northwest - Part 5.

Jump to: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8

Revisions:
  • 09/16/2013 - Finished update to v3.11
  • 08/31/2014 - Update to v3.2