Our first afternoon was spent strolling the streets of nearby Jackson, WY and restocking the larder. Lucky's Market turned out to be one of the best grocery stores we've seen in quite a while. With a focus on natural and organic, excellent prices, and a fun vibe ($2 local pints or glass of wine available to sip while you shop), we were hooked!
|Obligatory photo under one of the impressive antler arches on the Jackson Hole Plaza.|
|Wyoming is cowboy country for sure, but Jackson is more of a wealthy tourist cowboy town.|
|Savor your grocery shopping experience with a local beer at Lucky's Market!|
Gros Ventre Campground (and the Gros Ventre River corridor) is prime moose habitat so we were really looking forward to some wildlife watching...we were not disappointed! We saw moose every day, often several times a day, in the campground.
|You have to be careful around these gentle-looking giants...they can be very dangerous and unpredictable.|
It's recommended you always keep at least 25 yards away from them.
|We saw at least three bucks and probably ten females and a yearling or two.|
The bulls always seemed to be lying down and about all you could see was their antlers!
Photographers would set up and wait for HOURS to get good shots of the bucks.
|There was plenty of other wildlife besides the moose.|
Our first full day we drove out Gros Ventre Road to check out the Gros Ventre Slide, then on to hike to Grizzly Lake. At every turn we had to stop to oooh and aaah at the gorgeous scenery around us!
|Old cabin with a perfect view of the now visible and snow capped Tetons.|
|After days and days of rain and clouds the Tetons were a treat to behold.|
|Rock outcroppings along Gros Ventre Road are good Bighorn Sheep habitat...but we spotted a black bear instead!|
|Red tinged hills along Gros Ventre Road.|
|A pocket of fall among the red hills.|
|From Grizzly Lake trail we had a view back down the valley we'd driven and a peak at the Tetons with a fringe of clouds.|
|The trail also offered a view into the Gros Ventre range.|
|We never made it to Grizzly Lake, the trail was lost among cow paths and we decided we'd had enough after 2.5 miles, |
but the scenery more than made up for the missing lake.
|Another stunning view from Gros Ventre Road.|
Back at the campground we enjoyed more bull moose head and antlers. This guy had five females in his harem.
This had to be Rosie's favorite campground ever. We took her on very long walks (a quarter mile for a cat, on a leash, is a long walk) and she flushed out all sorts of critters: snakes, frogs, chipmunks, mice. But the best critter ever was this adorable short-tailed weasel!
|Terrible lighting, but seriously, how often do you see short-tailed weasels in the wild?!?!?|
|We watched this cutie for several minutes. |
It was just as curious about us as we (well, I) was about it!
The next morning I was determined to get out before sunrise to see what animals might be walking through the campground. I was especially interested in a beaver dam near our site that showed signs of potential habitation, and we'd seen what was likely a beaver swimming near it at dusk.
My preoccupation with the beaver dam put me in the perfect spot to witness two female moose crossing the river, covered in early morning steam, moments before sunrise! What an awesome way to start the day!
On this day we planned to hike the 7.2 mile Phelps Lake loop from the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve. Turns out a beautiful Sunday in September is a busy, busy time in Grand Teton National Park and we got one of the last parking spots at the Preserve at 10:30am.
|Drive by coyote sighting on the way to our hike.|
|The new snow is already melting away.|
|Mountain reflections in Phelps Lake.|
|At the far end of Phelps Lake we accidentally walked within 10 feet of this guy and another young male moose...scary!|
Fortunately when we stumbled upon them they were relaxing in the grass and had no interest in us!
Isn't he a beauty!
Wheeling It Nina recently did a comprehensive review of Gros Ventre Campground, so I'm not going to try to reinvent the wheel, her reviews are the best!... please read her excellent review here.
Here is our experience: We arrived at this first come, first serve campground at 10am and got site C-144 in the generators-allowed loop. It was a huge level site that backs up to the river (not visible, about 40 yards away). Since the site is kind of on the bend in the road it was pie-shaped - it opened up to the forest, with only one near neighbor, who really didn't seem all that near. We had good 4G Verizon signal with our booster.
This is an excellent place to stay when visiting Grand Teton National Park, the wildlife viewing is phenomenal, there's tons of hiking and amazing scenery nearby and it's only about 10 miles to Jackson Hole, we'd stay here again in a heartbeat!
|Site C-144. the forest/riparian area continues behind me to the river.|
|The beaver lodge I was so enamored with. I'd love to watch it evolve over a few years.|
There's a substantial base infrastructure in place to build a very large pond in the coming years.
|Rosie was in kitty heaven at this campground!|