Sunday, July 13, 2014

Grand Teton National Park

At the top of Teton Pass, looking down on Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I had the best possible tour guide in RV friend Sheila. She lived there as a child in what is now Grand Teton National Park. I learned a bunch of interesting tidbits from her. Like this one: The town is really Jackson, WY...the Hole is the whole valley. She used to pull tourists' leg by pointing to a pothole in the street when asked where Jackson Hole is. Glad I won't fall for that one.
Pierre's Hole on the Idaho side of the mountains didn't become as famous.
Sheila lived here before Jackson was a tourist town. You can barely find a place to park a small car...don't bother trying with an RV unless you arrive at the crack of dawn.
The famous Elk Antler arches around the town square have been here since 1960.
The antlers are from elk that winter on the National Elk Refuge north of town. 7500 elk spend their winters here. The bulls shed their antlers each spring. The antlers are collected by boy scouts and sold at auction on the square.
The four arches were built by the Jackson Hole Rotary Club.
In the foreground is the Elk Refuge. The mountain formation is called "Sleeping Indian." He is on his back, his head toward the right with headdress below, and arms folded over his chest on the left. Got it?
Entrance to the National Park
One of several bison herds.
Another Sheila tidbit...the French fur trappers named the Grand Tetons....meaning "Big Tits." Figures.
Another French term, "Gros Ventre" was given to the river and the Indian tribe that lived here. Early Mormon homesteaders along the Gros Ventre named their  community "Grovont," spelling it the way it sounds in English. This is a picture of Sheila's childhood home.
And next to that is her grandfather's homestead, and one of the most photographed barns in the U.S. Her grandfather, John Moulton, built the barn and other buildings in the 1910s.
The famous Moulton Barn.
Just down the road was the rest of the community, now known as Mormon Row.
Another Moulton Barn, this one built by John's brother, Sheila's Great Uncle, Thomas Alma (T.A.) Moulton, also built in the 1910s.
Several homesteads are still standing along this road. Gone are the church and school that once were here. Notice the cattle brands on the bottom board. The settlers here became cattle ranchers and grew hay and other grains in their fields.
The church building was moved to Teton Village in the 1970s where it houses a pizza parlor today.
Sheila was excited to see her grandfather's cattle brand on the sign.
View from Mormon Row.
Some of the other homesteads along Mormon Row in Grovont. All these homes are now park of the National Park, except one which is still privately owned.
The John Moulton homestead. John and Bartha Moulton lived several years in a small log cabin, building the pink stucco house in the 1930s.
Map of the buildings on Mormon Row.
Sheila's grandparents lived on the left, her family on the right.
Another view of the John Moulton cabin and house.
Irrigation ditches were dug by hand to divert water from the Gros Ventre to the fields. Sheila's testing the water temperature.
Sheila posing in front of her childhood home. Other tourists there when we were were impressed to find out who she is and hear her story.
Mountain bluebird was shy.
Can you imagine growing up with these views?

Then on to other adventures within the park. This is Jackson Lake.
String lake is popular for swimming and kayaking.
We hiked the trail from String Lake to Leigh Lake. Kayakers often paddle to the end of String Lake, then portage their boats to Leigh Lake.
Young Huckleberries. Someday I'm going to be here when they are ripe!
String Lake
String and Leigh Lakes are not far from the larger Jenny Lake where there is a campground. Next time through I will try to get a site there and kayak here.

Portaging canoes from Leigh back to String Lake. I told them about my 13-pound kayoo.
So many trails, so little time...
The canoe/kayak ramp at Leigh Lake.
Leigh Lake, named after "Beaver" Dick Leigh, a well-known Idaho Mountain Man.
Looks like a great kayaking lake. I told Sheila we'd go kayaking next time.
This is the waterway that flows from Leigh lake into String Lake, which is why they have to portage the boats.
Looking toward String Lake.
The trails continue beyond the bridge, but we turned around here.
On the way back we took another back road that Sheila knew, looking for moose...but this is what we found instead.
One more look at the Moulton've probably seen it in magazines.
Thank you again, Sheila. I'll be back.


  1. Awesome tour! Jimmy Hubbard would be jealous. He loves Jackson, WY.

  2. I got an awesome tour. How wonderful to visit with someone who not only knew about the places but was part of them.


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