"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Grand Tetons Never Get Old

Kelly, WY
Atherton Creek NF

Funny that it was almost a year ago to the day that we were last here.  Since we had the opportunity to meet up with our very good friends Doug & Dotty, here we are again!  And really, who could get tired of this incredible view?!

The Grand Tetons viewed from the Gros Ventre area.

On the drive from Palisades Lake, ID we passed this colorful bridge.
Unless you're very lucky or very flexible with your time, it's almost impossible with a large rig to get a spot within the park. Even the private parks are almost always full.  We like to be outside the area with a more quiet atmosphere and more privacy.  Again, since we seemed to be following the path of Shawn & Kim of  Shifting Gears , we decided to take our chances and stay just outside of Jackson in a small National Forest campground called Atherton Creek in the Gros Ventre area.  It's about 20 minutes from Jackson and less to the Teton Park entrance.  It's just past the large Gros Ventre Campground by Kelly.  Shawn thought we'd be able to get in fairly easily as it's first come, first serve.
This is a beautiful campground right on Lower Slide Lake.  There are no hookups.  Just a couple bathrooms and some central water spigots.  Since we were going to be here about 2 weeks, some of that with another couple staying with us, we were excited to see how our new water storage system worked (more on that later).  We even had the same spot as Shawn and Kim, #19.  What a great spot, right?  Some spots are in wooded Aspen, some more open.  Some have great lake views and a couple are even very near the shore.  Across the lake was a beautiful farm.  We spent many evenings watching them plow and bale.  What a beautiful peaceful area. 
Watching the morning fog burn off the lake while sipping my coffee.
I even took the kayak out once.  This lake gets pretty choppy when the winds come up during the day.  Early morning or better yet, early evening is best to be on the water.
I know they are just purple thistle, but when you look up close at them when they aren't fully
open, some have some really pretty colors and designs in them.  They are not native to this area
and they have Forest Service crew that spray to eradicate them.

There is a lot to do in the Gros Ventre area too.  Gros Ventre (pronounced grow vont) has some interesting geological history.  On June 23, 1925, a mile-wide slide carried 50,000,000 cubic yards of debris down the mountain and then another 300 feet up the opposite slope.  The Slide blocked the Gros Ventre River, and formed a five-mile long body of water known today as Lower Slide Lake.
The Gros Ventre Slide is a large scar on Sheep Mountain and can be seen from miles around.  At the site of the Gros Ventre Slide there is an interpretive trail that winds through the debris and new growth from the Slide. Signs at the turnout describe this historic geological event. Earthquakes can be felt year-round.

The Gros Ventre Slide with an almost full moon in the upper left corner.
Much more impressive in person, especially if you walk down in the gorge/river area.
Just beyond the boundary of the national park and north of the Gros Ventre Range, are the Red Hills and the Lavender Hills. The Red Hills form the southern edge of the Mount Leidy Highlands that connects the Gros Ventre Range to the Absaroka Range. This area is an important wildlife corridor for some of the large game in Wyoming, including grizzly bears

There are several horse ranches along this road.
This was a beautiful drive that we took a few times we were here.  I didn't get a picture of the Lavender Hills, but they really are a purple gray as you drive around the Red Hills.  Very pretty contrast to the Mighty Tetons.

Sunset reflecting on the Gros Ventre River.

One problem for us at this lovely campground is that I underestimated the cell/internet connectivity.  It was quite poor.  I have a great app I use religiously once I find a spot to camp in to make sure Steve will be able to work from there.  It's called "Coverage?" by Technomadia.  A must have for fulltime RVers who work on the road.  I knew it was on the edge, but it turned out to be nowhere near what he needed to even minimally to work.  I even climbed up on the roof with our Redneck Booster and attached it to the TV antenna to boost it up higher.  Still nada.  So on the important days we drove into Jackson for a few hours and he worked at the library.  Libraries are great sources for free WIFI, quiet work spaces and most even have private rooms you can work in if you need to be on a conference call.  Even most small towns will have one.
Cute custom wood trailer in the library parking lot.  I love the
pine tree on the back.
The pooch and I will usually go for a hike or I'll do laundry, shopping or blogging on days like this.  In the late afternoons we take drives on the dirt roads to try and spot some wild life.  In the Gros Ventre area, the bison, elk and pronghorn are everywhere.

Even had a family of grouse lead the way for us.
There are many bike paths throughout the park.  We chose to ride a 14 mi. round trip portion from Gros Ventre Junction to the Visitor Center in Jackson and back.  A nice trail that follows large meadows and the Elk Refuge. (click on the map for a larger view)

What a great view while riding the trail!

Once in a while along the trail you'll see these mounds built in front of the fences. This allows the animals to come and go as they please on the northern and eastern boundaries, but 8-ft high fences on the southern and western boundaries have been built to protect the elk from traffic in Jackson and along Highway 26. These are mounded and raised “elk jumps,” or openings in the fence, on the western boundary that allow animals to get into the refuge, without letting them get out.

It's hard not to go picture crazy here.  These mountains are just jaw dropping.  Different angles, different lighting, clouds, etc.  So I'll close with just a few more shots of the first part of our trip here.

Good Night.  Next up, our friends Doug & Dotty join us!


  1. I'm sitting here in Illinois drooling over your photos and wishing I was there. It's stunning!

    1. Thanks! After spending 6 months traveling around in mostly "flat" states. I'm enjoying being back in the mountains again! I just posted Tetons 2 and Yelowstone is next. Trying to catch up on my blogging!

  2. Love the last shot of the cloud coming off Grand Teton, Debbie!

    1. Thanks Jim. I left out a few that I'll have to add to my Yellowstone post I guess.

  3. I am so glad you enjoyed the campgrounds. We loved them. We members of the class of 14 have to stick together.

    1. Yay, Class of 2014. We loved the campgrounds!

  4. Wow, wow, wow. I absolutely loved the information about the Gros Venture Slide. I am totally into stuff like that and it's probably something I would not have stumbled across on my own. Thanks!!

    1. You and Lee HAVE to make it through this area! Maybe next summer after New Mexico?


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