Vernal, Utah to Grand Tetons National Park, Wyoming:
Believe it or not, we pulled out at 7:40 a.m. today. The first thing we had to do this morning was cross an 8,400’ pass with an 8% grade. Hoo boy. Here we go again. Going up, Bob had to go into first gear a couple of times, but completed most of it in second. Going down we used second gear and the brakes.
After about 15-20 minutes, there was a nice information pull out with a loop driveway which was very easy for us to navigate. An added bonus was restrooms! We spent about fifteen minutes there. Continued on a while longer, then stopped to view Flaming Gorge Reservoir and the bridge. I took a couple of pics.
US 191 in Utah/Wyoming is the Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway. Along the highway are signs describing what era is represented in the rocks and the types of fossils found there.
[Pictures to follow in a week or whenever we find internet again.]
Our route took us across the dam. On the other side was a sign for a viewpoint of the reservoir. We turned off the highway and went down a very steep side road for half mile to the parking lot. There wasn’t much room to turn around. If there had been other cars parked there we would have had trouble, but there wasn’t anyone else there so we made it.
The rest of our drive on US 191 north was great. We were on top of a plateau for a long time and saw pronghorn antelope in a few places. The descent was gradual with wide, sweeping turns.
Upon our arrival in Rock Springs, Wyoming, it was time for lunch. The first exit had a Walmart, so we stocked up on some things for Yellowstone while we still had reasonable prices. After Walmart we crossed under the freeway for lunch at Taco Time.
Then we were back on I-70 east to connect back up with US 191 north. I drove about an hour so Bob could get a nap. There was a lot of high-desert-type scenery. We crossed the Pony Express Route and the Oregon Trail Route.
The scenery changed just south of Pinedale to irrigated farmland, marshes and willows. Between the two of us, we saw three moose today, a deer, herds of pronghorns, two osprey nests with osprey in them, magpies and turkey vultures.
The scenery just kept getting prettier. Soon we were in canyons with rock walls, pine trees, willows, and meadows. We pulled into Jackson, Wyoming and went to the Visitor Center where we asked about campgrounds for the next three nights. We didn’t have reservations anywhere. The Visitor Center staff were so friendly. They told us which campgrounds they thought might have availability and told us we could use their courtesy phones to call.
First we tried Colter Bay Campground right on Jackson Lake. They did not have availability for three nights. Next we called Flagg Ranch. They had availability tonight and Thursday night. We asked if we could be put on a waiting list for Wednesday night. The reservationist said we could ask the campground to do that. So, as we were making the reservation, a cancellation came in for Wednesday night and we were able to book all three nights in the same site! Sometimes we just live right.
We are now all set up and cozy in our site in the pine trees at Flagg Ranch. Very cool. No computer access even with our booster. The power is 20 amp, so no microwave, no blow dryer, no electric griddle, no vacuum, no A/C. The daytime temp is supposed to be in the 80s, nighttime temp 43F. No need for A/C.
We are getting up early tomorrow to go hiking. The trailhead is an hour from our site. We will be doing the Bradley and Taggart Lakes Volkswalk, 6 miles, 1,400 vertical feet. Description of the walk: Escape crowds at Jenny Lake with this scenic, leisurely wander through meadows and regenerating forest to a pair of glacial lakes. The untouched forests around Bradley Lake provide a vivid contrast to the Taggart Lake burn area. On a clear day, from the bridge over the outlet stream from Taggart Lake, you’ll find unobstructed views of the remarkable Grand Teton peak (13,770’). Switchback steeply over the moraine dividing Taggart and Bradley Lakes.
Good night all.