The road to Yellowstone National Park (South Entrance) from Grand Teton National Park has re-opened, thanks to the brave efforts of over two hundred fire fighters. They spent a week battling the Berry Creek fire that had jumped over Jackson Lake and Highway 191/89. The fire is still burning, but has been contained enough to keep the highway open.
We had a brief scare last week when a new fire started just 3 miles East of Luton’s Teton Cabins, on US Forest land. It is believed someone had an illegal campfire which quickly grew out of control. Because this fire was so close to homes and businesses, they worked to quickly extinguish this fire. We watched several helicopters dump water on the fire, and they had it out in a few hours. It made a few of our cabin guests very nervous though! You can see the smoke and one of the helicopters in the photo below.
Just 3 miles away
BOAT/DINNER CRUISE TRIP
Brad and Joanne, the owners of the cabins, surprised all of us with tickets on the Jackson Lake Dinner Cruise. We only had a week to book the dinner though, as they were shutting down the cruise for the season. The State of Idaho actually owns the water rights to Jackson Lake. With it being so dry, the potato farmers have been requesting a lot of water this summer. Apparently it was the farmers that paid for the dam on the lake many years ago, and in return they received the water rights. They have been drawing down the lake at a rate of 1 foot every 5 days. So we booked a Wednesday night cruise with Karen, Al and Jane. If you look at the far left on the photo below, the water level is normally up to the trees.
Jackson Lake marina
The boat leaves the marina and docks on an island close to Mount Moran. The buffet dinner consisted of steak and trout. The salad bar is served out of the canoe!
a beautiful setting
We all enjoyed the boat ride over, as well as dinner. I think Dan was still chewing in this photo!
Jane, Karen, Al and Dan
After dinner we did a short hike up a steep hill and ha a great view of Mount Moran and the boat ramp on the island below.
A very popular “touristy to-do” in Grand Teton National Park is a float trip down the Snake River. There are many companies that offer trips. Barker-Ewing is the company that we recommend to our guests, as they will give them a discounted trip. To reciprocate, Barker-Ewing gives all of the work campers a free trip. We finally made time to book an evening float trip, and had a great time. We would definitely recommend a float trip to anyone coming to the area. Unlike whitewater rafting, this is more of a “lazy float” down an 8 mile stretch of the river.
the boat launched ahead of ours
having a good time!
We had good views of the evening sky over the Grand Tetons.
And beautiful views down the Snake River.
We were fortunate to see plenty of wildlife along the way as well.
a giant beaver home
Along with several beavers in the area.
This beaver was busy carrying a tree branch!
busy, busy, busy!
We saw quite a few bald eagles, and I was able to get a photo of one of them.
a majestic bird
The highlight of our trip was seeing a mama and two baby moose. Unfortunately, I was only able to capture a photo of one of the babies. Mama and the other baby were too hidden from my view.
Back in June, when I was still wearing the boot on my foot, we were looking for things to do in the park that did not involve a lot of walking. Karen suggested a ranger led talk on Menor’s Ferry. During the talk, Ranger Casey mentioned the Junior Ranger program that they offer in the park (almost all of the national parks have programs). When the Ranger mentioned the program was not just for young kids, but anyone “young at heart”, well that caught my attention! One of the requirements of the program is to attend a Ranger led program in the park. Check!
The booklet that you have to complete has various activities, geared to different age groups. All Junior Rangers have to complete various activities, from a hike in the park, to viewing some of the historical structures. For the older kids (and the “young at heart”) there are additional math and science related activities. (it’s always about math!)
After our ranger led program, I was reading the booklet and commented to Karen, Al and Dan that one of my activities is to pick up litter in the park. So they all obliged and threw trash down on the ground for me to pick up! (ummm….thanks?!) So I studied up on the booklet, and worked on it over the summer.
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Once I got my boot off and was able to do more in the park, I continued on the program. Last Wednesday I finally “graduated” and went back to the visitors center for my Junior Ranger oath and badge ceremony! Al played the ‘pomp and circumstance’ graduation march on his Apple watch!
an official Junior Ranger
taking the oath
my “official” badges
I would highly recommend this program to anyone. It really forces you to take the time to learn a lot more about the park that you are visiting.
Quote for the day: “You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.” – George Bernard Shaw