Hiking, biking, wildlife viewing, floating down the Snake River—boomers will find plenty of active travel ideas at Grand Teton National Park in Moose, Wyoming. And don’t get me started on the photographic opportunities that wait around every turn as you travel along Teton Park Road or Jenny Lake Scenic Drive. Since the park is open year-round, a winter trip to Grand Teton includes frosty adventures such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing or watching the elk at National Elk Refuge in Jackson Hole.
Alan and I traveled to Grand Teton during an ambitious Western National Park road trip that also included stops at the Grand Canyon’s North Rim, Yellowstone and Glacier National Park before joining a Tauck tour of the Canadian Rockies in Calgary, Alberta. We explored Grand Teton National Park on two October days when the sky was a cornflower blue and aspen trees reflected a golden glow in the water at Oxbow Bend. Our photographic antenna was on overload to say the least.
For accommodations, we chose Signal Mountain Lodge rather than the more luxurious Jenny Lake Lodge or Jackson Lake Lodge. The rustic two-room log cabin was clean and within walking distance of our two dining choices—The Peaks (dinner) and Trapper Grill (breakfast). Meals came with a view that was even more delicious than the food.
On our first Grand Teton day, Alan and I watched the morning fog lift to reveal snow covered mountain tops as we sat by the window at Trapper Grill enjoying a breakfast of eggs florentine with portobello mushrooms. Properly fueled for the day, we embarked on a combination driving and hiking tour.
First up, a 2-mile hike to the north shore of Jenny Lake. While Alan rested his sore back at the boat dock, I continued on the uphill trail to Hidden Falls. A bridge crossed over the water, giving me another trail to enjoy before meeting up with Alan at the boat dock for a pontoon boat ride back to the south shore of the lake.
As the drive continued along Teton Park Road, we discovered the Church of the Transfiguration. The Episcopalian log chapel sits in a meadow with the Grand Tetons as a backdrop. Peeking inside, I saw a woman preparing the church for a wedding. Blue and white hydrangeas, placed in mason jars and metal tins, decorated the window sills. The large window behind the altar framed the rugged mountains in a breathtaking scene. I was ready to drag Alan inside to see if we could join the romantic ceremony and get married all over again.
On the return drive to Signal Mountain Lodge, we scoped out Oxbow Bend for the next day’s sunrise shoot. Moose grazed near the water that captured the reflection of the gray jagged peaks of the Tetons along with golden fall color from the trees. The dream scene was repeated the next morning. Joining at least 20 or 30 photographers lined up along the road, Alan and I waited for the sunrise and our chance to photograph the beautiful setting.
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