We decided to “break camp” at Antelope Island the night before our departure for Grand Teton National Park in anticipation of a longer drive than we generally like to travel – about 300 miles or roughly six hours. All that was left to do in the morning was to unplug, do a few other small chores and head the Silver Manatee toward the causeway. Fortunately, we did not wait until the morning for our preparations as during the night, a Pacific storm front moved in bringing a good deal of rain and heavy wind. At sundown there were two tent campers within sight of us who were not there in the morning. Departing from Antelope, John dodged bolts of lightning as we were on our way in a rain/hail storm which made so much noise hitting the truck we could hardly hear one another. The wind, however, was not as severe as during the night. Visibility was just adequate, the wind was tolerable, and so our journey continued.
Once we reached Idaho, we were out of the storm front and were able to truly experience Idaho’s landscape which neither of us had ever seen. Idaho appeared to be quite a productive state, at least from an agricultural point of view. From our car window, the green rolling countryside showed evidence of a wide variety of crops and the farmlands appeared healthy and prosperous. Previously, we have driven through some areas of the country which are mile after mile of corn or scrub land which gets tiresome, but Idaho had variety which made it interesting to try to guess what they were growing. Since we were pressed for time, John thought it best to pass on the Potato Museum.
Just before we came to the Wyoming state line, we found ourselves in Idaho Falls where we decided to take a lunch break. We found a local “hot spot”- the North Highway Café, established in 1934. We are confident that some of the people, waiters and alike, are the same as when the café first opened. This café would remind you of Wheelers in Arcadia. The place was full; everyone knew one another and cordially looked after the new strangers in town. We ordered the special of the day – Shrimpkin. Before you read further, define Shrimpkin. Time is up. This is a combination of shrimp and chicken! After our enjoyable lunch break, we headed out of Idaho Falls along Highway 26 where the mountains around Targhee started reaching for the sky and you wished you could linger and try your hand at fly fishing along the crystal clear Snake River.
Later that afternoon, we arrived in Jackson, Wyoming, often called Jackson Hole, with its singular Teton peaks, the teenagers of the Rockies. We skied Jackson Hole a number of years ago and left with respect for the steep rugged terrain. This mountain range goes from flat plains straight up to the most jagged show covered mountain tops we have seen thus far.
As we proceeded through Jackson, the road skirted the National Elk Refuge along the way to Colter Bay Campground where we would stay for 3 nights. Some of our highlights of Grand Teton Nation Park were: the Chapel of the Transfiguration, built in 1925, which frames one of the most famous views of the Tetons; Oxbow Bend Turnout with its willow thickets and the stunning backdrop of Mount Moran; Jenny Lake Overlook with its view of Cascade Canyon, the trail along Lake Jenny, String Lake and Lake Leigh and the Bridger-Teton National Forest access road where we had our first sighting of a Grizzly.