The next day my son, his wife, grandson and I did the park loop drive while the rest headed to Jackson Hole Ski Resort to take the gondola to the top then left for the cabin outside Yellowstone.
Stopping for breakfast at the Bunnery Bakery and Restaurant in Jackson we filled up on a delicious meal before heading out of Jackson. My son and I each had a Breakfast Sandwich of two eggs and cheddar or Swiss cheese with choice of ham, sausage or bacon on a homemade croissant. My daughter-in-law had the Croissant Breakfast of 2 eggs, chocolate Croissant and hash browns. Grandson ate off of everyone’s plates. WOW a wonderful place for breakfast, friendly staff, great service, and outstanding food.
Stopping inside the park at the pullout I had lunch in yesterday, we got out for their first look at the Teton Range. But like any 2 year old, playing with his cars was more important.
The four of us had a great time exploring Grand Teton National Park. Our plan was to do the driving loop around the park. Although we first tried to get to an old settlers road named River Road along the Snake River but as it had been washed out over the winter by the river the dirt road was closed about 2 miles in off the pavement on the south entry so we retrace our tracks back to the pavement.
Stopping at Teton Glacier viewpoint we admired the view and took some photos as my grandson got out his cars and played on the sidewalk with them. Mom and Dad took him on a short ¼ mile hike for a better view and at the end of the trail he sat down opened his box and now drove the cars in the dirt. Marveling at the scene we were ready to head on although a caterpillar moseying along the walkway took my grandsons attention so we stayed a little while longer as he watched it crawl.
Leaving we continued our grand loop arriving at the Jenny Lake loop drive. We bypassed the South Jenny Lake Road as it had a traffic jamb of cars trying to go to the boat launch. Driving the Jenny Lake Loop Road in traffic we stopped for a view of the lake at a crowded parking lot for a few pictures then continued on to our next stop.
Off the one-way loop road and onto the main road we saw a turnout called Potholes and decided to check it out. The parking lot was empty with only 1 other car. Hiking a short ½-mile trial around one of the potholes we learned these were created from melting glaciers. From the ground you cannot see the potholes, only scattered clumps of trees that enjoy the water collecting in the depressions. From the aerial view on the information sign it was a sight to see, a platform needs to be installed to raise your vantage point so you can marvel at the forces of nature above the grasses.
It was close to lunchtime when we left the potholes and with all of us very hungry we high tailed it to Signal Mountain Lodge and ate at Trappers Grill. Sitting on the outdoor terrace overlooking Jackson Lake we enjoyed our meal and the company, it was a wonderful lunch. The Turkey Brie Sandwich of Boar’s Head Turkey, creamy Brie spread, spinach, cranberries and apple on Salt City sourdough really hit the empty spot in my stomach. When we arrived the parking lot was about ¾ full, when we left after visiting the small market and gift shop people were waiting for spots to open up, we arrived just in time.
Backtracking a short distance along the grand loop we went to the northern entrance of the River Road to see how far along it we could actually go, although where the River Road turns south off this east/west dirt road it was again signed and barricaded “closed”. From there we continued on east as we wished to see the Snake River. Arriving at the end of the dirt road we had a short hike to the river where my grandson again played with his cars in the dirt/sand and threw rocks into the river. We just marveled again at the vistas and talked to a few kayakers floating by. It looked so relaxing to float down the river enjoying the peace and solitude of the area.
Returning to the pavement we drove off the main loop road for a scenic drive climbing 800 feet to the top of Signal Mountain for breathtaking views of the Teton Range and the valley of Jackson Hole below.
Getting late in the afternoon, having 1/2 the loop to complete and a 2-1/2 hour drive to our cabin we continue on around the loop only stopping at Cunningham Historic Cabin and Mormon Row for quick looks and photos.
The Cunningham’s were homesteaders that set claim to these 160 acres between 1888 and 1890. On this piece of land overlooking the Snake River Cunningham farmed what he could and grazed cattle. At the historic site the original cabin remains along with foundations from the Ranch House, Barn, shed and outbuildings. It was a hard life on the homestead with long cold winters, little fertile soil and lack of rain. In 1927 the ranchers in the valley started selling their property for use as a National Park.
Followers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sent groups from the Salt Lake Valley to establish new communities in support of their expanding population and settled Mormon Row. These homesteaders settled east of Blacktail Butte in the late 1890’s clustering their farms to share labor and community that was in stark contrast with the isolation typical of many western homesteads.
The Mormons established 27 homesteads in the Grovont area because of the relatively fertile soil, shelter from winds by Blacktail Butte and access to the Gros Ventre River. Using irrigation the settlers grew crops in the harsh environment. The existing buildings are photographic icons of Grand Teton National Park.
Heading out of the Park along Moose-Wilson Road about 4PM we stopped at a massive grocery store to pick up something for dinner and the few food items we need for the remaining days of the vacation. It was a long day as we started this morning about 7:30 arriving at the cabin around 7PM , well worth it as we had so much fun.
You really need a few more days if not a full week here to just explore, hike and enjoy this wonderful National Park. This place is so wonderful; I will be back delving deeper into the scenery and hikes it has to offer. One and a half days just isn’t enough.
Tomorrow we visit Yellowstone National Park.