Once again, I made sure to be up early in the morning to see the sunrise. I stepped outside from the bedroom into the cold morning in my night clothes to get the pictures. Thankfully, it was not as cold as it had been during the first few nights of this trip. The two pictures below were taken as time progressed as it got closer to sunrise. Sunrise that day was not as colorful as it had been the previous morning.I went to the other side of the house to take pictures of the moon. These came out better than the pictures I had taken before going to bed.Here is the moon setting behind a hill.As it became brighter outside, there was enough light to see the horses out in the field next to us. We saw these three horses together regularly. I imagined them as a family. I jokingly said that one of them was named Jack. I did not take the trouble to identify which one of them was actually Jack.In a little while, the sun itself finally made its grand appearance.Breakfast was once again a leisurely affair before we set out to the park.
I was able to take pictures since I was not driving. The picture below was taken as we were nearing Teton Resort. Once again, we went into the park through the south entrance, without passing through Jackson, hoping that the moose were still hanging out where they had been sighted the previous day.This was a view of the mountains to the west as we drove into the park. Our first stop was going to be Signal Mountain, towards the north side of the park.
We drove slowly through the section of the earlier moose sighting without any luck.
We saw bikers once again after entering the more developed section of the park.This is a picture of Grand Teton mountain taken from the car.This picture was taken from one of the parking lots along the park road. I think it was Potholes Turnout.We had to drive up a winding road to get to the viewpoints on Signal Hill. The road ended at the top of the mountain at the location of a cellphone tower.
This was the view of Jackson Hole Valley with the Snake river flowing through it.This bird stayed around us while we were at the lookout at the peak. I have not been able to identify it.These are views in the direction of the Tetons. Unfortunately, they were not as unobstructed as I was hoping for. I jokingly noted that they should be cutting some of the trees that block the view – just for the tourists!We sighted what I think were mule deer on our way down the mountain.This picture was taken half way down Signal Mountain.We stopped at the Chapel of the Sacred Heart on our way further north after leaving Signal Mountain. The chapel was closed for the season. It belongs to the Catholic parish in Jackson.This is Jackson Lake and reservoir. The Snake river flows south through the lake. The river actually begins a short distance to the north of the lake and flows through it.This is where the Snake river reemerges from Jackson lake. The main road runs over the dam that creates the lake behind it.We drove off the main road to a river access point to have our lunch.The Snake river looked quite peaceful and the waters were low.The water was crystal clear.I spotted a common merganser in the river. It did not hang around too long.After lunch, we headed out to the Willows Flats overlook. We were going hike the Willow Falls Trail starting at the parking lot. Our goal for the afternoon was to see moose. We had been told that this was one of the areas where they hung out!
The trail lay below the parking lot, behind the trees (towards the front of the picture below).The Tetons were visible in the distance, beyond Jackson Lake, as we began the hike.We kept our eyes peeled, looking for moose (and bear). There were a few occasions when our eyes were drawn to something or the other in the distance that drew our attention. Even the growth seen in the picture below caused us to pause and look more carefully. (I had to zoom in to the maximum extent allowed by the lens to get this picture.)The trail followed the twin tracks of a an old dirt road. We forded a stream at this point.The flats were covered with brush. We could see occasional pathways where animals had forced their way through the growth to get to drinking holes by the waterside. The occasional scat on the trail indicated that this was the abode of the animals and that they were around somewhere.We continued to look for moose. We were also keeping an eye out for bear. I did not want to disturb a bear inadvertently and annoy it. We tried to keep up a conversation to alert the bear ahead of our arrival. I was especially alert when walking in the wooded areas between the open spaces.We crossed Pilgrim Creek on a road bridge at one point. The creek looked wide and impressive enough to be a river. It runs from the nearby Bridger Teton National Forest into Jackson Lake.We saw these two birds along the way. I have not been able to identify them yet.The trail ended up at a fork in the road where you could continue either left or right.We made a different decision! We decided that this would be the extent of the hike. We turned back. We had already walked a few miles without seeing moose!These pictures were taken on the way back.We did see a herd of elk in the distance as we were leaving the place. I am sorry to say that the moose eluded us the entire duration of the hike.It was time now to head back to Victor. We would be driving south, all the way through the park, on our way back to Idaho.
Along the way, we stopped at one of the turnoffs and noted this curious sight. The woman was facing the direction of the Tetons. It took us a few minutes to gather that she was actually taking a picture of a car that was in the parking lot in front of her. She was taking the picture against the background of the mountains. A person who looked like the driver was also hanging out in the parking lot. Our guess was that this was for some kind of advertisement.The sun was going down behind the mountains by that time.We did have enough time to stop at the Chapel of the Transfiguration – in the park and near Moose Junction. It is a functional Episcopalian church that was built in 1925. The setting of the chapel is very dramatic. (A morning view of the chapel against the mountains would have been even more impressive!)The interior of the chapel is very simple. The opening behind the altar revealed the Grand Tetons.The benches that formed the pews reflected simplicity, and the nature of their surroundings.We continued our way south through the park even though it might have been faster to drive on the main road through Jackson. We stopped at the parking lot of the earlier moose sighting once again. We had no luck once again. I did get a picture of what I suspect is a Goldeneye duck in the water.The mountains looked majestic in the fading light as we left the park.We stopped at a place called West Side Yard in Victor for dinner. It was more of a bar, with a lot of open space, space for games, and random sitting arrangements. The separate, very small, formal dining area was full when we arrived. So we sat at a high table on high chairs near the bar and ordered our beer and hot sandwiches. It was great food and drink, and a nice atmosphere. The place looked new. The draft beer came from some of the local microbreweries. (There is even one in Victor.) I sensed that this place represented a kind of change coming to these old country towns, with a goal of serving people who were visiting the area in addition to the local population. Victor was not a tourist destination in itself, but there was enough overflow traffic from the nearby more touristy areas to bring in additional foot traffic to keep a business going.
We headed back to the cabin after dinner. The rest of the evening was spent chilling out. This was the last evening of the holiday for the folks from Massachusetts. Their were taking a red-eye flight in the evening the next day.
Next blog in this series here.