Family Vacation: Grand Tetons

Grand Tetons  |  Yellowstone  |  Jackson

After Boston, I fly directly to Jackson Hole. The plane circles in from the north and tucks in under the blanket of clouds. Below, the valley is beautiful, dotted with golden cottonwoods and aspens in a two-colored mosaic. Upon landing and after getting the car, I rush to the Snake River Overlook for a sunset shot. The color had vanished from the sky, but the valley floor still resonates with the feel of autumn.

The next morning, I drive through the rain, visiting various parts of Grand Teton National Park. A lone tree greets me at the National Elk Refuge. Just beyond, a young moose trots alongside the highway and suddenly crosses the road. Beaver dams create the serene flow at Schwabacher’s Landing. I return to the hotel for breakfast, pick up my parents, and head to Teton Village for a stroll. Afterwards, the drive around Jenny Lake is a tour of fall color at its fullest.

Torrential rain pummels our car on the return trip. Pulling off at the turnout to the old historic Cunningham Cabin, we wait a little. Suddenly, the sky parts, and behind us, a bright rainbow arcs over the stands of cottonwoods. I rush to the Snake River Overlook and capture a shaft of sunlight streaming in from a hole in the clouds. From Teton Point Turnout, a fiery sunset contrasts with the purple mountains and fall foliage set ablaze.

Dinner is at the Wild Sage, featuring grilled quail, pheasant, and bison ribeye.

Tuesday is a driving tour. The rain has cleared, and I take the scenic drive out of Jackson to Pinedale to Farson to Lander to Dubois and across Togwotee Pass back to Moran Junction. This 375-mile loop through the Wind River Range is specatular.

I return to Schwabacher’s Landing in the late afternoon to take pictures. My parents are strolling back to the car, and suddenly, I hear a car rev its engine and plunge into the water. It turns out to be visitors from Ireland. The driver had stepped on the accelerator instead of the brakes. What a way to mess up a vacation. I get more pictures from Teton Point Turnout and the Snake River Overlook.

This evening, Andy and Alice arrives. After getting some rest for the night, we head first to Mormon Row to photograph that famous Moulton Barn. Then, we make our way north, stopping for Lunch at Scheffield’s in Flagg Ranch before entering Yellowstone.

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