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Day 20/21: Road Trip in the Time of Covid

Grand Teton National Park

The morning dawned with a beautiful sunrise shining directly on the Teton mountains. The first thing I did was head out to the old wooden barn on Mormon Row. (That’s an area where Mormon pioneers first settled in the valley.) It’s an iconic photo and I wanted to catch it during morning light. I had taken one the day before, but it just didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped. Just goes to show lighting is everything.

I also drove over to a quaint little cowboy chapel in the park to snap its photo. Unfortunately, the interior was closed due to covid, but I was still happy to get an exterior shot.

Before I left the park, I stopped and purchased some bear spray. #lessonlearned

I had three conference calls with my office scheduled from 11 AM - 4:00 PM, so I decided to stick around Jackson for the day to take advantage of the good cell phone reception. (The calls were with the product team to discuss the 2021/22 brochures. This is something we would have done in person if we had been able to meet at our annual conference in April.)

I then made myself at home in Jackson Square. Due to Covid, the city had created outdoor seating areas to encourage people to eat take-out food instead of eating indoors. It was perfect for me. I had a view of one of the town’s iconic antler arches and a stagecoach would periodically roll on past me.

After the calls, I went back into Grand Teton National Park and snapped a picture of a bridge I hadn’t taken a photo of the day before at Jenny Lake.

The no no-camping sign pull out worked so well as an overnight spot the night before, I decided to try my luck, again. The sunset was another stunner. A bit of rain tried to creep in, but the clouds were moving so fast, it cleared up quickly.

Day 21: Grand Teton National Park > Yellowstone National Park

My world’s greatest stealth car camping site worked out well for me, once again. As I was about to pull away, I dutifully checked my mirrors and this is the view I saw - so of course I had to take an artistic picture.

On my way out of the Tetons, I stopped at Coulter’s Bay campsite for a shower and found a cute little picnic area overlooking Lake Jackson for breakfast.

Yellowstone National Park is conveniently just a few miles north of Grand Teton National Park. Yellowstone is massive, so I decided to ease my way into the experience. I have at least a week to explore, but my time in the park starts on Friday of 4th of July weekend so I know the main attractions are going to be crawling with hoards of vacationers. I decided to spend this first day doing one of my new favorite things: “Park & Chill.”

First stop was Lake Yellowstone. It is so amazing to see this massive lake with very few boats on it. I just sat back and watched the clouds roll by.

In the picture below, you can see two of the parks countless geothermal steam vents.

I was disappointed to find out that one of my favorite areas of the park, Dunraven Pass, is closed for the season. I assume it’s for repairs. Yellowstone roads form a large figure 8, so without the pass open, you have to do quite a bit of backtracking to see everything. I’m not opposed to backtracking, but I really wanted to see that particular section of the park since it is considered the most “wild.” I just wanted to find a viewpoint with sweeping vistas so I could Park & Chill.

I ended up finding a pretty decent sweeping visa on the north side of the park near Roosevelt Junction. It periodically rained and hailed, but I was safe and cozy in the back of my Honda Fit.

The wildflowers were blooming, so of course I stopped and got a bunch of pics. I may do a flower photo montage one of these days.

I was planning on stealth camping at Mammoth Hot Springs inside the park because they have the best cell reception, but I got paranoid about getting busted by a ranger, so I drove twenty minutes up the road to Gardiner, Montana, a small village just north of the park. I found a perfect little out-of-the-way parking spot at one of the local hotels

Financial Statistics:

Since this marks the end of week 3, I did a little financial tallying.

Food: $123

Gas: $42

Lodging: $260 (well worth it)

Misc: $76

Average: $71 per day


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