Grand Teton National Park (Honeymoon Day 2)

The Journey – SLC to Jackson
We got up v, v early (you know you’re a grown up when you get up voluntarily at 5am) so as to get to Jackson, Wyoming (a four and a half hour drive) in time to have a good half day in Teton National Park (smaller than, and south of, Yellowstone).

The initial part of the drive was otherworldly – dramatic landscape, spooky sunrise and mist that would come on you in an instant. The highlight was seeing an elk eerily loom out of the fog into the headlights, waiting to cross the road.

A couple of hours in, we had breakfast in Cokeville, Wyoming (population – 535) at Blondie’s Diner, next to the Baptist Church :

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After that, the drive was exactly what I was hoping for from a western road trip – miles and miles of forest, gorges and desert, devoid of people, punctuated by small towns of a couple of hundred people with small town post offices, a garage with an unfortunately dilapidated sign and a local gun store (and for some reason, an inordinate amount of fireworks shops) :

Post Office

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Town with gun shops and welcome banner made of elk horn

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Garage
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The Destination
Then the main feast – Grand Teton National Park :

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It’s a great place – driving in down a flat valley the hills suddenly rear up a couple of thousand feet and you get a great mix of snow capped peaks, lakes and sagebrush flats. Hard to do justice with an iPhone, but here are a couple of photos :

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Highlight
Once upon a time an Englishman came to America and married a native girl. This tale, however, doesn’t have a happy ending.

Richard Leigh, a Mancunian, came to the US at the age of about 25 in the mid 1840s. He worked for the Hudson Company, fought in the Mexican War and generally had adventures. He moved west in about 1860, settling in what is now Grand Teton National Park with his wife Jenny and producing six children with her.

There he made his living ‘harvesting’ beaver pelts, earning the unfortunate nickname ‘Beaver Dick’ Leigh. In 1876 he had possibly the worst Christmas ever.

A few days before a friend had visited. She had left the gift of smallpox and on Christmas Day, Beaver Dick (who was immune due to a previous infection) watched as the disease killed his wife and all six children.

They were buried nearby and a lake, Jenny Lake is named for her.

Now, it’s a really tranquil and beautiful place with the mountains in the background when you look up.

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Lowlight
Not seeing any animals. Apart from possibly a chipmunk. And a dog, but that doesn’t count. That’s something we’re hoping to rectify tomorrow in Teton’s big brother – Yellowstone national park.

Aim for tomorrow
Apart from seeing some animals in the flesh, the main aim is stopping Mrs Bunting spending $2,800 on this cat bench :

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