It is only about 300 miles from Arco through the Tetons and to the gates of Yellowstone but to the early settlers, those 300 miles would have been very hard – because of the need to cross the Tetons. Although we are doing this journey in the opposite direction to them, it takes little imagination to appreciate the challenges thrown up by the landscape.
Having driven across a long flat volcanic plain out of the Arco
region, we enter an area where there are lots of fields and a first
glimpse of The Tetons which are a long range of high mountains
running North – South down Wyoming. A live webcam of the Tetons can be found here during daylight hours Mountain Standard Time.
although a lot of the towns are now full of faux settler style buildings
there are some which clearly date back to the early 1900s
The Tetons are a barrier for anyone travelling east-west, for us however it was simply a matter of crawling up the long steep Teton Pass in Idaho to a height of 8431ft and then to be welcomed by a sign announcing we were in sight of Jackson Hole in Wyoming. Then there was an equally long alarmingly steep descent
down into Jackson Hole – the name given by the early settlers to this flat area surrounded by mountains. Pushing a horse or oxen led cart up rough tracks to achieve the same is something I am grateful we do not have to do.
The town of Jackson trades on a faux western image
with a Stage Coach giving rides around town to tourists
a Cowboy Bar built fairly recently
and a few old buildings scattered around the Town Square
each of the four entrances of which comprise an arch of Elk Antlers built by the local Rotary Club.
One charming aspect of the town (and of many towns we have been to in the USA) is the amount of public art scattered around the town.
Here we have Pat sitting with Abe Lincoln,
then Albert Einstein
and then Mark Twain
There are also statues of Elk, Native Indians, Settlers and many more.
The entrance to the Grand Teton National Park is just up the road and having entered, you then are presented with animals, flat lands, vistas and the Tetons to the West.
In the Park at Menors Ferry, they have preserved much of the settlement which grew up around the rope guided ferry which provided the only means of crossing the river until around the 1920’s
The General Store looks like it should do, both outside and inside
The Toilet is position adjacent to the river
with a Smoke House nearby used to preserve fish and meat for winter consumption.
The ferry was beached when we were there (sometimes it is put back into use)
and its operating instructions show quite clearly the use of forces (pure Physics in action) generated by the flowing river to get from one side to the other.
Around the back is a large barn within which are some genuine
vehicles dating back to the Pioneers such as this removals van which was used to transport furniture around the area
There is a wooden church here which is open 24 hours a day during the main tourist season
when you are in the area you can hear the church bell ringing, it seems that every visitor (including us) cannot help ring the bell as they pass through the entrance gate.
Inside, behind the Altar is an unobstructed view of the Tetons – this badly exposed picture does not do it justice
and the stained glass in the entrance is beautiful.
There is a superb view of the Tetons from the very flat fields in the valley
above are three peaks known as “The Cathedral Group”
Lake Jenny is very quiet and placid
we get our first view of some distant bison
and are able to enjoy a couple of the classic views of the Tetons
with some old barns sitting in the middle of the fields
It can be a very peaceful place if you can get away from everyone else!