John and Sandy's RV Adventure Journal

June 2012 Journal

June
28 – 30 
We’ve had a few full days, so we decided to hang out at the campground and get some domestic stuff done.

27   John needs another big hike today.  We headed to Jackson Lake Lodge.  John headed out to hike 8 miles to Colter Bay.  I hung out at Jackson Lake Lodge for a while and took in the beautiful scenery from the overlook.  Then I drove over to Colter Bay and found a nice place to set up my chair and do some reading and get some sun.  I am right along the shore of Jackson Lake overlooking the Tetons.  When John finished his hike we were heading home.
However, we got sidetracked at Pilgrims Creek.  We saw a bunch of cars, so we stopped to check it out.  There is a couple of Bull Moose that hang out here.  Today there was only one here, and we had a great view.  After a while, he headed into the trees and we headed home.  We checked out the Osprey nest we go by all the time and there were two Osprey’s in the nest.  When we finally made it home, we made a cocktail and took a walk around the campground.

 26   The mornings are getting much nicer.  We enjoyed our coffee outside this morning while taking in the beauty of the Grand Tetons.  We are heading into the Grand Tetons Natl Park today.  Down near Jenny Lake is String Lake.  There is a 4 mile hike around the lake.  It’s a perfect day, nice temps and clear.  This is a nice hike, some elevation but not much and very scenic.  After our hike we had a snack overlooking the Tetons and then headed out to explore a new road.  This is a dirt road south of Signal Mountain.  It heads out to the Snake River.  We stopped and looked around.  We saw a pair of Bald Eagles hanging out together.  On the way out we saw a Pronghorn.
25   After relaxing around the cow for a few hours and doing some reading, we headed out later in the afternoon for Moose.  At Doran’s Spur Bar and Chuckwagon there is a Hootenanny on Monday evenings. I’m not sure how it works.  This is similar to an open mic jam night.  So I brought my harmonicas and hoped to play.  It didn’t work out for me to play.  It was a nice night and the place was packed.  I don’t have an individual act, and that is what you need to play.  I did sign up as a sideman on harmonica, but no-one needed a sideman.  That’s ok.  We had a good BBQ short rib buffet and enjoyed watching the individual acts.  Mostly 1 or 2 people playing guitar and singing.  There were about 30 different acts, so each on had only 1 song.
It was around 9pm when we left and the sun had just set over the Grand Tetons.  There was still light but it was going to get dark fast.  We have about a ½ hour trip back to Moran.  Along the way, we stopped at the overlook across from Triangle X Ranch.  There was a herd of elk.  Not just a herd, but hundreds of elk in the field.  We watched them for a while.  We couldn’t get any pictures because it was already to dark but it was very cool to see.  We continued on home and after a few minutes, we had a big bull elk with a huge rack, cross right in front of our truck.  We had another really nice day.

24   Today we had a domestic day.  John cleaned Big Red and I did stuff in the cow.  We enjoyed the nice weather, had a good dinner and relaxed.

23  
Today we went in a new direction.  We headed to Dubois which is about 50 miles East of Moran.  It was a beautiful drive.  We crossed over the continental divide on the Togwotee Pass.  We stopped at the Dubois Museum to look around then took a walk through town.  There isn’t much here, but we stopped at the Rustic Pines Tavern and had a couple beers.  Then we went next door to the Rustic Pines Diner for lunch.  There is a grocery store here so we stopped a few supplies before heading home.

22  
We’re ready for more hiking.  We are exploring an area we haven’t been to yet.  The Flagg Ranch on the Northern end of Grand Teton NP.  Since were so close to Yellowstone NP we are going to go there too.  Flagg Ranch is in the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway area.  After stopping at the visitor’s center to pick up a couple trail maps, John and I headed out to the Polecat Creek Loop Trail.  This is a 2.5 mile hike with half of it along the creek and small ponds.  We saw lots of ducks, a big Great Blue Heron and a mule deer.  John still needed another hike, so I dropped him off on the southern end of the Flagg Canyon Trail and he hiked up 2 miles along the Snake River where I picked him up.  While I waited for him, I enjoyed watching people fly fish for cutthroat trout, read my book, practiced harmonica and just enjoyed the scenery.
Since we are so close to Yellowstone NP, we are heading into the park and up to the Grant’s Pass Visitors Center.  We stopped at Crawfish Creek for a short hike to a waterfall.  Then on to the visitor’s center.  We are at a higher altitude and crossed over the continental divide.  Even though the temperatures are in the 70’s, there is still quite a bit of snow around.  Our drive takes us along the river with a deep gorge and beautiful views.  The road is narrow and winding with no place to stop for photos.  At the visitors center we watched a couple short films about Yellowstone and some of the fires that have happened here.  The ranger was very helpful and we got lots of maps, hiking trails and thing to do once we move in a couple weeks.  On our way back we did stop for a couple photos at Lewis Falls and Lewis Lake.
When we were back in the Grand Teton NP, and near the Lizard Creek Campground, we saw a Black Bear and he crossed the road behind our truck.  We got our black bear.  We are missing a wolf.  So far in this area we have seen, bison, elk, mule deer, osprey, bald eagles, coyotes, moose, grizzly bears and now black bears.  We had a great day.
 19 – 21  We enjoyed a few days hanging out at the campground.

18   John is ready for another big hike.  I dropped him off at Two Oceans Lake and he is hiking the Emma Matilda Lake trail back to the Jackson Lake Lodge.  It should be about 10 miles total.  I headed over to the Lodge.  It’s a beautiful sunny day with a few clouds but windy.  I found a nice spot at the Lodge overlooking the Tetons and the Willow Flats to work on my journal and photos.
As I was working on my journal the clouds moved in and so did the rain.  John still has about a 2 hour hike left so he’s going to be cold and wet when he gets done.  Luckily he only got a little rain and he had a garbage bag to use as a raincoat.  When he finished we headed home.  The grizzly family was still in the same area as yesterday, but we didn’t stop because of the rain.  We had a nice dinner and a few cocktails then relaxed at the cow.

 17   Today we hung around the cow and did some reading.  It’s a really windy day and a little cool.  We decided to head out for a game drive around 430pm.  Right before the Jackson Lake junction we saw cars and that means wildlife.  We parked and walked over to the ranger.  There was a grizzly bear mom #610 with her 3 cubs.  The cubs are 1 ½ years old and weigh over 100 pounds.  Mama weighs around 300 pounds.  Mama is the daughter of grizzly bear #399 which is still in the park.  We were about a 100 yards away from her.  After talking to the ranger we found out they have been here since around 630am this morning.  They had taken down a big elk and have been feeding on the carcass all day.
After spending around an hour watching her, we heard that there were 2 big Bull Moose down the road near pilgrim’s creek at Colter Bay.  We headed down to that area and once again saw cars so we knew we were in the right place.  We only saw 1 of the Bull Moose, but he was huge and we were pretty close only about 75 feet away.  After around a half hour taking photos and watching him, we decided to head back to see how our grizzly mom was doing.  The grizzly’s were still there and we decided to stop and watch them some more.  They were still feeding and just relaxing, so after about another ½ hour, we headed home.  We got our grizzly bears.  On the way home we saw a huge sand hill crane.  This area is just loaded with wildlife.

16   This morning we hung around the cow and took care of some domestic stuff.  We haven’t been back to the town of Jackson since we drove through on our way here.  It’s about 36 miles to Jackson.  We need groceries, so we decided to explore the town and get supplies.  We took a walk through the town and checked out the park in the town center.  Its 4 entrances have arches made of Elk antlers.  We made a stop at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar for a cocktail and decided to head over to the Snake River Brewery for a couple beers and appetizers.  Now we walked back to the truck and then headed for supplies.  On the way home we saw elk, bison and mule deer’s.
15   Happy B’Day Magic!!  Today is Magic’s 14th B’day.  We gave her a gourmet breakfast and extra toys.  We are heading into Grand Teton Natl Park today.  We want to explore the Jenny Lake area.  We parked at the visitor’s center and took the 2 mile hike partway around the lake.  We have to wear our bear bell because there is lot’s of bear activity here and you don’t want to run into one of those.  We did see a bunch of Marmot’s.  We continued on the trail to Hidden Falls and then to Inspiration Point.  Hidden Falls is beautiful.  This is all from snow melt and it was pouring down.  The hike up to Inspiration Point is about a 550 feet elevation change and we just took our time.  Even though we took loads of pictures, pictures just don’t do justice to the awesome scenery.
When we made it back down, John is still ready for more hiking.  I sent him out on the rest of the Jenny Lakeshore trail and I hopped the shuttle boat back across the lake to the visitor’s center.  I found a nice spot to take in the Jenny Lake and the Tetons and did some reading.  Along Johns hike he saw a big mountain bluebird and a mule deer right along the trail.  John finished his hike and I ended the day with about 4 miles and John did around 9 miles.  We headed home, had dinner and played cribbage. 

 12 – 14   We are hanging around the cow, working on some projects, and doing some reading.  The weather is still cold and windy so we decided to just hang out.

11  
Right now it’s partly sunny and cold.  Around 35 degrees.  It is suppose to warm up to 60 today but with scattered showers.  John has limited the bird feed so we have a bird war going on outside.  The birds and whistle pigs are fighting over the feed.  We have a mama whistle pig and 3 babies.  Just in the last 2 days the babies are getting bigger.  They may have been newly born when we got here.
We headed out around 10am.  John needs a big hike.  He wants to do the Two Oceans Lake hike.  When we got there we found out part of it was closed due to lots of bear activity.  So he had to readjust.  He did the Two Oceans Lake and hooked up with the Grand View trail.  At the trailhead, the fish and game department was there releasing 15k cutthroat baby trout into the lake.  I dropped him off and headed out.  I did some exploring on my own.  I found cattleman’s bridge road and headed down it.  This is a beautiful area behind Oxbow Bend and along the Snake River.
On the way back to the main road, I saw a Coyote.  He seemed to be as curious about me as I was of him.  Then I found a nice area near Grand View Point to read and meet John.  We headed over to Jackson Lake Lodge to the Christian Pond trailhead.  This is about a 4 mile hike.  Along the way we saw a herd of 6 elk with a big male.  We finished our hikes and headed home.  Along the way we saw a bald eagle looking for his dinner near a river. 

 10   This morning is cloudy and COLD!  While we were having coffee we noticed it’s now also snowing.  So we got our warm clothes out and headed out for the day.  It’s not a good hiking day, since its windy, rainy and snowing.  We decided to check out another area in Grand Teton Natl Park.  We entered at our entrance, Moran Junction.  Then we headed south.  We stopped at Jackson Lake dam and saw quite a few people fly fishing.  I know, were wimps but that’s how it is.  We continued on and made stops at the various overlooks and turnouts.  With the clouds and snow in the area, you get a different perspective on the scenery.  We stopped at Signal Mountain Lodge to check it out, then to Jenny Lake Visitors Center.
Shortly after we left the visitor center we saw a herd of at least 15 Pronghorn just off the road.  After a few photos we continued on.  We saw some cars on the side of the road and people out in a field, so we knew something was going on.  We found out a mama Moose and her baby was hanging out on the rivers edge.  We watched them for a while then they had had enough of all of us, so they left and so did we.  We stopped at the Moose visitor’s center.  There is a hootenanny (jam night) on Mondays at the Moose Spur Bar.  I want to check it out so we stopped and had pizza and cocktails and got the low down on the hootenanny.  It’s outside on Mondays so we will wait a week or so until it warms up.  We had a good day and are heading home.  We saw a herd of Bison near the road.  We relaxed and played cribbage.  The internet is down, so no TV.  

 9   Last night we had a cold front move in.  Luckily we are in a valley.  We got lots of rain overnight, but the hills and mountains all around us got a fresh layer of snow.  We are hunkering down in the cow today.  John is making salsa and doing some reading.  I am updating our photos, journal and website.  We have the space heater going and tonight we will have the furnace on with the arctic packs for the pipes.  It’s going down to around 30 degrees with snow showers.  Brrrrr!!!  

8   We have just beautiful views from our cow and campground.  We headed out to explore Grand Teton National Park today.  Before we even got to the park boundary which is about 1 mile from our campground, we had to stop for some pictures.  We entered the park and headed north toward the Colter Bay area.  First we stopped at Oxbow Bend Overlook and the Snake River.  There is a great view of Moran Mountain and glacier from here.  Then we stopped at the Willow Flats Overlook.  Once again great views of Moran Mountain.
Now on to Colter Bay area.  We took a drive through the RV Park there and walked down to Jackson Lake to check it out.  We met a man from Plainfield IL that had caught some nice cutthroat trout.  Now we went to the visitor’s center and got lots of park info including hiking trails.  A movie about the park wolves was starting so we watched that.  Then we went back to talk to the ranger and found out a ranger guided hike was starting.  So we joined in.  We love the guided hikes, we learn so much about the flora and fauna and geology of the area.  Today’s hike is about 3 miles and took about 3 hours.  We had about 25 in our group.  We hiked the Swan Lake and Heron Pond Trails.  These trails took us through different forest communities.  Part of the trail was also along Jackson Lake.  We saw a mule deer relaxing just off the trail.  We also saw quite a few trees that bears have climbed up and left their claw marks in the bark.
After our hike we checked out the Colter Bay marina and then on to Jackson Lake Lodge.  We saw a Pronghorn Antelope off in the distance.  We also saw little rodents similar to chipmunks but larger.  We found out they are whistle pigs.  We have a mother and 3 baby’s right out our back window at our cow.  We had a couple beers at Jackson Lake Lodge then headed back to the campground.  We stopped at Oxbow Bend again to check out the white pelicans.  It’s a nice evening so John made some martini’s and we relaxed and enjoyed the scenery at our campsite.

 7   This morning was a chilly morning.  We only have about 200 miles today, so we let the cow warm up before closing it up and getting on the road.  We are driving from Pocatello ID to Moran WY.  We checked on our route and decided to take the route with an extra 25 miles.  This way we don’t have to go over Teton Pass while were pulling.  Were glad we did.  It was a beautiful drive along the Snake River.  We even had a moose cross the road in front of us.
We are heading to Moran WY which is central east and just 1 mile outside Grand Teton National Park. 
Between Jackson and Moran we also saw Pronghorn Antelope and Bison.  We checked in at the Grand Teton Park RV Resort.  This park got bad reviews, but we love the location and thought we would try it.  It is a rustic park, but the views are spectacular in all directions, the bathrooms are clean, the wifi works well and it’s close to the park.  So for us it should work out great.
We asked where the town of Moran was, and found out the park is it.  It has a small restaurant and bar, gas station, and a few groceries.  The main grocery store is in Jackson which is 36 miles away.  We are planning on staying here a month so we took our time setting up.  Then we took a walk around the park and a couple pictures from our campsite.  The sun comes up around 540am and sets around 9pm so the days are long.  There is no tv reception and the park does not have cable tv, so we tried the wifi and was able to watch tv on the internet with hulu.com.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was something so that’s ok.

 6   Today we were up and tried to get going by 7am.  That didn’t work out.  We did get on the road by 8am, but we had to wait until the rubber on the kitchen slide in warmed up.  We are also glad we stayed the extra night.  We heard that a semi tracker truck blew over on the route we were going to take.  Today was a good travel day.  Low winds and a nice drive of about 400 miles from Bryce Canyon to Pocatello ID.  We got checked in and set up at Cowboy RV Park.  Now we are heading to Walmart to load up on supplies for the next 2 months.

5  
We were going to have a travel day today, but there is a high wind warning for our entire route, so we are staying put for 1 more day.  Early afternoon we headed to Bryce Canyon NP.  Since were here another day, John needs another big hike.  He is taking the Navajo Trail down to the Peek-a-boo Trail then back to the Navajo Trail.  I needed a hiking break so I updated our photos and website while relaxing at the Bryce Canyon Park Lodge.  John really enjoyed the Peek-a-boo trail.  He said it was the prettiest of the trails he was on in Bryce.  We really enjoyed our time in Bryce Natl Park.  We were also glad our friend Eva was able to visit with us.
4   Today we headed to Cedar Breaks Natl Monument which is about an hour away.  We kept climbing and we were glad we had long sleeve shirts when we got there.  The elevation is 10,500 feet.  We checked out the visitor’s center and the view from Point Supreme behind the visitor’s center.  Then we hike the Spectra Trail which is 2 miles.  Along the way we saw lots of snow and made snowballs.  At the point we saw one of the trees that are over 1600 years old.  After our hike we headed back to pick up some supplies and get ready for our travel day tomorrow.
 3   Eva has to head home today but still has time for a hike and a picnic lunch.  So after relaxing and visiting at the cow in the morning, we headed to Red Rock Canyon Natl Forest for some hiking.  We stopped at the visitor’s center for some info and a trail map.
We did a 2 mile hike which was a combination of the Pink Ledges Interpretive Trail and the Hoodoo Trail.  On the Pink Ledges Trail, one of the things we learned is that Ponderosa Pines have a distinct smell.  The light colored bark smells like vanilla and the darker colored bark smells like butterscotch.  So of course for the rest of the hike we all had to stop and smell the ponderosa pines.  Then we saw a tree with hundreds of rocks on the limbs.  This is a memorial rock tree.  People place rocks in memory of someone who’s gone.  John and I placed two rocks.  One for each of our good friends that recently passed away, Joe and Dale.
We finished our hike and we were ready for a picnic lunch.  We had another visitor, a Stellar Jay.  We know were not supposed to feed them, but we gave him some banana chips.  He didn’t eat them.  We watched him find a hole in a tree, shove the chip in then place a piece of bark over the chip.  After or lunch, it was time for Eva to head home, so we said our see you laters.

2   Our friend Eva is coming to visit for the weekend.  She lives down near St. George UT which is about 3 hours away.  When she arrived, we visited for a while then headed to Bryce for a hike.  The ranger told us about the most popular hike.  It’s the Queens Garden Trail connecting to the Navajo Trail.  It’s a moderate/strenuous hike with elevation change.  We started at Sunrise point.  The trail headed from the rim down into the canyon so you get a different view of the hoodoos and formations.  We took our time and stopped for a snack break on the bottom.  A chipmunk joined us.  We started to head up and hooked up with the Navajo Trail.  This trail climbs quickly and has a whole lot of switchbacks.  John made it to the top quickly and Eva and I took our time.  We finished with a nice hike along the rim trail back to Sunrise Point.
Now we headed back to the cow.  We had appetizers and cocktails and watched the sunset.  We were thinking about going to dinner and maybe the pool but we didn’t do either one.  We started a fire, had a couple more cocktails and then we were all done for the day.

1   We headed over to Bryce Canyon Natl Park today.  I dropped John off at the North end of the Fairyland Trail.  He is hiking the trail and I picked him up at Sunrise point.  This was a 5 ½ mile hike.  Then we took the shuttle to Bryce Point and hiked the rim trail to Inspiration Point.  This whole area is just so beautiful; pictures just don’t do it justice.  We have not seen lighting and heard thunder in a long time.  Today however, we have lots of thunder, lightning and rain just to the North of us.  We finished our hike and headed home for dinner and a relaxing evening.