Ken's Journal
No. 4 - Summer 2004

Grand Teton National Park,  - 08/07 - 08/10/2004
Days 42-45 on the road. Part I.


I had several routing options from Devil's Tower on one side of Wyoming to Grand Teton on the other. In any case, there'd be an overnight on the road. I chose a route to minimize Interstate time - I had a short stretch of about 28 miles on I28 and about 38 miles on I25. The rest of it, another 250 miles to Riverton WY and then 150 miles the next day to  Grand Teton, was all on secondary roads.

After taking SR24 and US14 south from Devil's Tower, my route was west on I90 to SR59 at Gillette WY, south to SR387, west to I25. Then it was south on I25 to a west on US20/26 at Casper WY. In Shoshoni WY US20 took a north and I kept straight on US26 - and that took me into  the Wind River Indian Reservation and Riverton WY for the night. This was another of those "in the middle of nowhere" routes. I'd covered most of the distance across Wyoming, and had seen maybe four towns with a population over 1000. This is all high plains desert - farming and ranching are the major occupations with oil and gas extraction running a close second.

The 2+ million-acre Wind River Indian Reservation is home to the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes. The Wind River Reservation is significant among Indian reservations in the United States because it is the only reservation in the U.S. that occupies lands chosen by the tribe compelled to live there. If you'll remember, the Indian dancers, drummers and singers at the Cheyenne Frontier Days were from the Wind River Indian Reservation.

The next day was just a short hop of 150 miles from Riverton WY to Colter Bay Village in Grand Teton. After just a few miles, the road started climbing out of the Wind River Valley - so named because the wind is constant - 24/7 so to speak - the average wind speed is 5 mph. Whiskey Mountain, just south of Dubois off US26, is host to the largest Bighorn sheep herd in North America with 800-900 gathering here on the protected range here. It seems that there's never much snow so there's plenty of grazing for the sheep. Why no snow? Well, it seems the constant wind just blows it all into the next county! Through careful management of this herd, since 1950 some 1800 sheep have been transplanted to Utah, Idaho, South Dakota, Nevada, New Mexico and other areas of Wyoming. The National Bighorn Sheep Center is in Dubois and probably deserves a visit -- perhaps next time.

See for more info on the whole of Wind River Country and what the area has to offer.

After reaching Dubois, you're traveling with the Wind River Mountain Range to the south and the Absaroka Mountains to the north. US26  crosses the Continental Divide through the Togwotee Pass at an elevation of almost 10,000 feet. After this, it's all downhill into Teton Valley and Moran Junction. After rounding some unnamed curve, this is what pops into view!

  This is Mt Moran, at 12,600 one of the more prominent peaks in the Tetons. This photo is a composite of two photos taken from somewhere near Colter Bay Village (where I stayed) on US26.
  To help orient you, I've scanned a map of the Tetons and put it on-line.
Each of the maps below covers an area of about 660 square miles, or 22 miles north to south by 30 miles east to west.

For low resolution, low bandwidth connections: Teton North (217 kb), Teton South (230 kb)

For high resolution, high bandwidth connections: Teton North (835 kb), Teton South (883 kb)

All of the images I've taken in Teton were taken on the Teton North maps.

You won't see much of the Tetons unless you take a hike or two. This is Hidden Falls, found on the Cascade Canyon trail.

This is a view of Mt Owen, almost 13,000 feet tall. This shot was taken half-way up the Cascade Canyon trail.

The Cascade Canyon trail can be done two ways. One, you can start your hike from the South Boat Docks on Jenny Lake, in which case the hike is almost 7 miles one way to the forks in Cascade Canyon - and the normal turn-around point. If you take the shuttle boat across Jenny Lake, that cuts 2.4 miles from the one way mileage. That's what I did. The total for me, since I took the shuttle boat both ways, was about 9 miles round trip. Pretty much the whole trail is above 7,000 feet and the elevation gain going up is a little better than 1200 feet - several hundred of that in the first mile. I was told that along the way you're likely to see bear, moose, elk and sheep. I saw no bears - probably because I carry bear spray. I saw no elk or sheep either. More likely the lack of bear, elk and sheep is because this is a heavily traveled trail - Cascade Canyon one of the most picturesque, it's easily accessible, the hike won't kill you, and it provides access to a number of back-country camp sites. I did see signs of bear on the trail - they are likely using the trail at night as a travel corridor. Hiking at night is not a good idea out here.

The view from Inspiration Point, a stop on the Cascade Canyon Trail.

I've converted this vista into an image suitable for use as wallpaper on your computer - see wallpaper.

One of the many "cascades" for which the Canyon is named.
Bullwinkle standing in the shade just to make it hard for me to get a good picture of him. I almost didn't see him because he was so far in the shadows. He was munching on the willows by the stream bank, a favorite food of moose.
A Yellow-bellied Marmot. When I first saw this one, he was laying on his back soaking up the rays! He spotted me, rolled over and was gone in seconds.
  Next, Grand Teton, Part II

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