Grand Teton National Park - Day 2

Grand Teton National Park is a great place to see fabulous mountain peaks and lakes.  It doesn't have the range of short hikes we like to take these days but has lots of longer hikes, so it is not as great a place for a longer time.  We are here for two more days so we decided to take a leisurely time going around the driving tour.

Today, the skies were much nicer.  Although there were some clouds at the peaks, we were able to occasionally see clear to the top of Grand Teton as well as other peaks.  We followed the driving tour and saw the peaks and lakes from a variety of views including from the top of Signal Mountain.  We learned why it is called Signal Mountain as we drove past the cellphone and repeater tower. I know a lot more about repeaters given my new interest in ham radio. I set up my HandiTalkie with APRS so that our friends could track us as we drive. Of course, someone with an Internet connection must listen for our signal for it to appear on the map.

After Signal Mountain, we drove around Jenny Lake where you can see how steeply the mountains rise right from the shore of the lake. We had lunch there on the shore.  We won't get to see the lower Jenny Lake area as there is construction this year.  We have seen a lot of construction in the parks and although we don't care for the delays, we sure do appreciate that the parks are getting some needed attention.

We stopped at Menors Ferry where we saw a replica of the ferry that Menor built and operated across the Snake River at one of the few places where it flows in one channel.  We learned about some of the early settler life and about the history of the park.  It was quite the compromise that created this national park.  We have seen a lot of private dude ranches and other private dwellings and learned that this was part of the compromise. At least they are tastefully done and fit in with the character of the park.

Heading back north, we again saw the BOTD bison herd near Elk Ranch Flats but no elk. They must be here a lot since they didn't seem to have moved since yesterday.

After dinner and before the ranger talk, we went to Willow Flats as we had heard that this was a place to see wildlife.  We saw some elk including one large herd although it appeared too late for me to get a photo given the low light.  The two elk in this photo are really small even though I used my longest telephoto lens.  We waited for the sunset and were rewarded with the large elk herd as well as a nice sunset.

The ranger talked about the geologic history and timeline that created the earth and the park.  It was interesting to us to learn that the Teton Range is made of very old rock that very recently was risen up into the mountains when the mountains went up and the valley went down along a fault line that is still active.