Thursday, September 5, 2019

Peaks and Valleys, Whispers, Roars and Ripples

August 25 - 29, 2019
Victor, Idaho

Our last evening in Ennis, Montana
We've been here separately many years ago. We've wanted to visit together since we started traveling. We were going to miss it again, until I did the reroute.

So now we're finally here for a few days - the Grand Tetons!!

In addition to near perfect weather all summer, we've also been blessed with calm driving days. Sunday's drive back into Idaho changes that - we have sustained 25 mph winds the whole way. Not too bad, but hitting us from the side on narrow country roads, it adds a little excitement :-)

The Teton Valley RV Resort in Victor, Idaho, is a medium size park that stretches the title a bit. After our last beautiful stop, it's a let down. Our pull-through gravel site has green space that is 90% weeds with a dilapidated picnic table. The sites are between two curbs so parking the Jeep means having to drop the front end into a hole. It's very strange. We'll find another place next visit.

The national park is only 30 miles away, but that 10% Teton Pass in between is quite the drive! We have friends who have done it in their RV, but not something I'm excited about ever doing.

Of course the rewards of getting to the other side are well worth it.

Stunning against perfect blue skies.

Beauty finding a beautiful background.

Our first look at the glaciers.

Mount Moran over Jackson Lake
On previous routes we entered Yellowstone from the east, west and north. We want to see the corner we've missed, and this is our best opportunity. Ends up being 140 miles round trip on Hwy 191 from Jackson, but it's hard to beat the natural beauty of our surroundings.

South Entrance

The last Monday before Labor Day.
It's a lot of forest, less diversity than the other areas of the park. Still, it's a lovely drive. We're glad we did it. 

Back in Grand Tetons National Park we take the park road through Jackson. It's dark when we get home in Victor, what a great day!

Lewis Falls

Snake River

Lewis Lake
Long vistas from Signal Mountain Summit.
Not hikers, bikers or kayakers, we still see a lot of gorgeous places in this country. And I read the blogs of friends who take me to the places that hiking, biking and kayaking take them. In between their more energetic adventures, these friends also explore places I look forward to seeing. Joe and Gay's (good-times-rollin') recent blog post on their Grand Tetons' visit not only inspired me to finally route us here, but gave me several fabulous places to see.

One of the most unique is the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve. The final 1,106 acre parcel of the Rockefeller ranch was donated to the park by Laurance in 2001 with a specific vision for its use. Starting with the removal of all ranch structures and reseeding of grazed lands, the preserve provides trails through meadows, forests and riparian habitats.

Parking is limited, and there's a line for a space. Bill and Tessa wait, giving me more time to explore before they join me. 

I could spend hours just in the simple visitor center. A purposely peaceful place where the appreciation of nature is key. Four videos of park flora and fauna play simultaneously showing the changing seasons. The well stocked library has views of the surrounding mountains. There's even a round meditation room with wonderful soft music and sounds of nature playing around you. I love this place!

Open space filled with the natural sounds of the park provide a unique opportunity to watch the changing scenes.

A picture made of photos.

A quiet, comfy spot to read. Must be wonderful on a cold day with the fire going.
Well maintained, winding trails find surprises that whisper and roar. We don't see any wildlife, birdsong teases from the thick brush.

Falls roar with power.

Creek water whispers over and around the rocks.
Late summer blooms and delicate parachutes waiting for a breeze.
No matter our specific destination, those giant mountain peaks are always there to distract us! We must say Wow! a dozen times just seeing them from a slightly different distance and location. I probably took 20 pics of them :-)

Bill got this pic with his peak identifying app. So cool!
With the snow gone, the glaciers are visible. 

These cars are all squeezed in before getting to the full trailhead parking lotIt's not that we're lazy and out of shape, we don't hike because you have to get up too early to access the trailheads. Toooo many people on the trails. Yep, let's go with that excuse. 
Jenny Lake - the one place my boys and I saw in the park 25 years ago. Still beautiful.

And thankfully still clear and pristine.

Entering the Gros Ventre (grow-vaunt) River area, we learn about the historic slide.

Almost 95 years later, the slide scar stands out from the surrounding forest.
 Scalloped lake edges.

Red air-brushed hills above Gros Ventre Lake.

A peak peeks out from the Aspens (see this Janis??).

Mormon Row was a hardy community living in brutal winters with outstanding views.

Just a little duct tape and this cute pink cottage would be perfect!

Old barns and rugged peaks.
Thistle blooms all on the same plant.
Wednesday we stay on the Idaho side of the pass. The Teton Valley is a different kind of beautiful, the peaks more subtle. The cute little towns of Victor, Driggs and Teton Valley include large ranches and farms. No crowds, it's a more laid back day of exploration.

The drive up Grand Targhee.

Teton Valley

Teton Creek ripples through narrow meanders.
The natural art of long grass under water.

Protected salamander habitat.
Valley farms.

Processing field gold.
I sleep late on our last day so we again stay in our little valley. Dear friends Steven and Linda (The Chouters) have a beautiful property known to many of us as Lot 5 (very cleverly from the number of the lot......) Linda let's us know where to find it so we take a drive to check it out. 

Wonderful views from Lot 5.

The Big Eddy has not only great boondocking spots, but also the most fish we've seen anywhere this summer. Bill makes sure I put it on the list for our next visit!

Farm art.

This stunning hawk poses for a his photo op.

We missed most of Idaho again, but are so glad we made the time to see this amazing area. We're already planning to come back!

Next we continue south to try, and fail, to see all of Bill's family in Ogden. 


  1. OMG - Fabulous pics of of a fabulous location! ... just WOW! We 'passed tru' a couple years ago, but you have some great experiences and memories. Thanks for sharing the details!

    1. Thanks Jeff. It's one of those places that will call us back again.

  2. We only did a one day drive over to the Tetons from Idaho Falls. We did get to see the main mountains and get in a hike, but it was not nearly enough. Gay has me needing to return for a longer time. Now your post is just fueling my fire. There is so much to see. Hopefully, we will return next summer/fall. Your photos are beautiful. Glad you and Bill could visit together this time.

    1. So many beautiful places to see in the west - one of the best reasons to have a base in the on this side :-) Yes, Gay's' posts were definitely inspiring!

  3. Isn't that area just stunning! Our Montana friends own a home in Driggs and we also spent a summer long ago working for those friends--living in a wall tent--our view from the tent was the spires. I was a whole lot younger then!

    1. Unbelievable beauty, nothing like seeing it in person. How fun to spend a summer there.

  4. We happen to love hiking, biking, and kayaking—but the most important thing to me is to really see and appreciate the beauty of our surroundings. And you do that so well, noticing the tiny details and immersing yourself in the experience. And sharing with us. :-)
    I still cannot believe that we've been so close and have still not been to the Tetons. Your photos and writing make me long to be there!

    1. We thought the same thing - couldn't believe we hadn't been yet. Hope you'll be able to add it to a future route, you'll love it.

  5. Love the Tetons! We were fortunate enough to show our Golden Retriever Jenny the lake she was named after in 2011. We were delighted when she was so animated after she got there.😊. So glad you were able to see so many wonderful sights in the area, Jodee!

    1. Ahh, sweet puppy memories. Beautiful place for a namesake!

  6. Our beloved Lot 5! I’m so glad you had a few
    minutes to go see our little plot in the valley. We had a lot of dreams wrapped up in that plot for a lot of years. Decided to travel instead of settle down, so far so good! We’ve not stayed in Victor, only in Tetonia and the Big Eddy. Maybe one of these days we can be in the area together! Love ya!

    1. We thought the same thing!!! It's such an amazing place, I can sure see why you fell in love with it.

  7. Thanks for the shout-out Jody. And I am so happy you went to the Preserve. I have already made reservations to return The Tetons next summer...I LOVE it there ! We drove over Teton Pass when we left Island Park. It was NO fun doing the "down" part, but we did get a taste of what The Tetons are like from the Idaho side...just gorgeous! The photo of the hawk should be published...magnificent! gay

    1. So glad you guys went first!! It was fun to follow in your tire and foot prints. I was lucky that the hawk was so curious about us too.

  8. Love this post, so well written along with the beautiful pictures. I have not been to that preserve, now there is a reason to return!
    Lets see if i can post this comment :) Cookies had been allowed.

    1. Yay! There you are :-) That preserve is truly wonderful.