Blasting through Southern California, Nevada, Utah and entering into Idaho on my first day I arrive at the Pocatello Inn Best Western, Pocatello, Idaho for a nights stay after an 860 mile (1,384 km) 14-hour driving day. This very nice complex has a indoor pool and spa, seating area, free in room wi-fi and a buffet breakfast. When I arrived at 6 PM I was pleasantly surprised to find an Applebee’s Restaurant within walking distance of the motel to grab a small bite to eat for dinner.
Getting a good nights sleep I awake the next morning at 6AM, head for the buffet breakfast and pack for my 2 1/2 hour drive to Grand Teton National Park. This first day at the Tetons I will be by myself so I decide to drive Moose-Wilson Road, a back road into the Park. Along the way I was greeted by a few of the local residents upon entering the park.
Located in northwestern Wyoming Grand Teton National Park is a popular destination for mountaineering, hiking, fishing and other outdoor recreation pursuits. The park encompasses the 40-mile long Teton Mountain Range and the valley of Jackson Hole and is 310,000 acres (130,000 ha; 1,300 km) in size. Located only 10 miles (16 km) south of Yellowstone National Park it is connected to Yellowstone by the John D. Rockefeller Memorial Parkway, managed by the National Park Service. With the surrounding National Forest lands these areas encompass almost 18,000,000-acres (7,300,000 ha).
Efforts to preserve the region as a national park began in the late 19th century, and in 1929 Grand Teton National Park was established, protecting the Teton Range’s major peaks. The valley of Jackson Hole remained in private ownership until the 1930s, when John D. Rockefeller and conservationists starting purchasing land in Jackson Hole valley to be added to the national park. This went against opinion at the time and the valley of Jackson Hole was declared a National Monument in 1943. In 1950 most of the monument land was added to Grand Teton National Park and the Monument designation was terminated.
I first visited the Visitors Center in Moose to look around, get my National Parks Passport, have the passport stamped, purchase a Grand Teton NP patch, Park stamp and get a feel for the park.
After my purchases and talking to the park staff I enter the park about lunch time and pulled off at the first parking area for a bite to eat. With a magnificent view of the Tetons as my backdrop I have my quick lunch of tuna on a bagel, crackers and peanut butter cream filled Oreos. (See the Feature Photo for my view of the Tetons as I ate lunch)
After a filling lunch I continue a short distance in the car to another parking area to hike the 3.6-mile loop trail to Taggart Lake, a moderate hike that had a few rocky, steep sections thrown in for fun. A peaceful walk to a beautiful lake that overall was a fun hike. At the lake people were swimming and further around the lake shoreline people were sitting or fishing from it’s banks. It was so peaceful and quiet this would have been a better spot for lunch. The hike took me about 1.5 hours with all the photo stops although the park guide says plan on 2 hours. Thank goodness for all the walking I have doing at home, it really helped.
By the time I returned to the car it was mid afternoon so I started my drive back to Jackson, Wyoming to meet the family at our hotel for the night, The Wyoming Inn. What a place to spend some time, very nice with quiet rooms, beautifully appointed like an old National Park Lodge and well out of my $$ comfort zone for an overnight stay although I must say it would be a nice place to splurge for a nice time. The rest of the family was heading here from Washington state and got sidetracked visiting Craters of the Moon National Monument, which they really enjoyed. As they had missed lunch during their park visit they decided on an early dinner along the way and did not show up for another hour at 5 PM. I sat in the well-appointed lobby resting in a very comfortable leather sofa checking email, Instagram and FaceBook with the Inn’s wi-fi while I waited. When they arrived we checked in and dropped our bags in the rooms. My son and I walked down the street to Mc D’s for me to grab a quick meal, a Quarter Pounder and chocolate shake, then met everyone in a local park while my 2 year old grandson played for a while, stretching his legs and hopefully tiring him out as he had been trapped in a car seat most of the day.