Going to the Chapel…

Located within the boundaries of Grand Teton National Park are two chapels, both of which are open daily to the public.  Both offer services on Sunday for park visitors and area residents, during the summer.  And weddings are held at both chapels, with a special permit through the national park service.

CHAPEL OF THE TRANSFIGURATION

Built in 1925, this is an Episcopal Church, affiliated with St. John’s Episcopal Church in Jackson, WY.  It was built to provide local ranchers and residents a place of worship without having to make the 12 mile ride into Jackson, which was a treacherous trip at that time, before automobiles and roads were commonplace.

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Chapel of the Transfiguration

The cozy chapel seats 65 people, and does offer additional outdoor seating, weather permitting.  They do have a Christmas service, but you need your cross country skis, or snowshoes, to make it to the chapel.  The roads to the chapel are closed in the winter.

The window behind the altar offers a spectacular view of the Tetons.

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I think it might be hard to focus on the sermon, when you are staring out at this view!

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CHAPEL OF THE SACRED HEART

Built in 1937, the Chapel of the Sacred Heart is a Catholic Church, affiliated with Our Lady of the Mountains in Jackson, WY.  It is right on the shore of Jackson Lake.

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Unlike the other Chapel, it does not take advantage of the views of the lake, as there are no windows overlooking the lake.  My guess is the Priests want you to pay attention during Mass!

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No view out this altar!

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The chapel holds 115 people for mass.  The stations of the cross are very simple plaques.

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stations of the cross

AND A WEDDING TOO!

Well I can’t have a post about the chapels, without putting in some wedding photos!  The step-sister of our boss was getting married on Sunday, and they had the wedding on the grounds of our cabins.  I was working in the office that day, and fortunately all of my check-in’s for the day had arrived.  Many of our guests noticed several people all dressed up, and I mentioned there would be a wedding in the early evening.  They  all commented on what a beautiful setting it would be for a wedding.

Since all my office work was technically done, I decided to be a ‘wedding crasher’, and attended the small family wedding.  It was a nice ceremony, and Brad gave away his step-sister.

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Despite the clouds from a recent rainstorm, it was a beautiful backdrop for a wedding.

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ATTENTION BIRD NERDS

One final note, when I was out watering the planter boxes by the cabins, I noticed this small bird, or a large moth, pollinating the plants.  I have never seen this type of bird/moth before, so if anyone knows what it is, let me know!

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Quote for the day: “Faith makes all things possible.  Love makes all things easy.” – Dwight Moody

 

Grizzly, Moose and Eagles…oh my!

Before I broke a bone in my foot, we did manage to get in two small hikes in Grand Teton National Park.  And we were rewarded with plenty of wildlife sightings!  Before we even got into the park, Karen and Al spotted this Osprey in a tree.

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For our first hike, we went to Hermitage Point Trailhead in Coulter Bay, and opted for the short 3.5 mile hike around Heron Pond and Swan Lake.  It was a relatively easy hike, with beautiful views of the Tetons (actually, there is no bad view of the Tetons!).

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We had some nice views of Mt Moran, which contains what is called the “skillet glacier”, but the locals refer to it as Jimmy Hendrix’s guitar glacier, based on the shape.  The more I stared at it, I started to see a profile of a face (might be the high altitude!).

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What do you see?

Karen, Al and Dan quickly spotted a Bald Eagle in a tree, and it must have taken me 5 minutes before I could see it.  Karen was able to get a nice photograph of the Eagle.

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We also saw a few sandhill cranes, ducks and geese on this hike.  Later that night we went on another short trip down by Shwabachers Landing, and found a very active beaver in the water, along with evidence of his recent tree trunk trimming.

DSC_0607 (1)DSC_0644 (1)The next day we went on another hike with our co-worker Jane, and literally ran into a fox crossing our path.  Fortunately, he/she ignored us, but it did startle us.

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We also spotted a coyote off in the distance.

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But the highlight of our day was spotting our first “wild” grizzly bear.  I will pass along a tip for spotting a grizzly….when you see this:

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bear jam!

Make sure you pull over, because something exciting is lurking nearby!

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The park rangers did an excellent job at keeping traffic moving, and keeping the tourists from getting too close.

After I broke my foot, I was relegated to looking for wildlife from the car, and not on a hike.  Fortunately, I was finally able to cross ‘bull moose’ off my bucket list of animals to see in the wild.  This young man’s antlers are just starting to grow, and still have the velvet on them.  Again, Karen had her nice camera with her, and got some excellent photos (Dan’s worried this will cost us money, as I have been looking at new cameras online!).

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Hello Mr. Moose!

But the photo I was most surprised with (and one I took!) was of the bee that popped into the picture I was taking of a flower.  I really didn’t notice the bee until I was looking at my photos later on.

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We hope everyone has a safe and happy Fourth of July!

Quote for the Day:  “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”  – Anatole France

Two Sundays in the Park

The past two Sundays, we have ventured down to Grand Teton National Park, about 2 hours South of West Yellowstone, MT. The 40 mile long Teton Range was formed over 10 million years ago, during a series of earthquakes along the Teton fault line. The western side of the line rose up, creating the mountain range, and the eastern side sunk down, creating the valley referred to as Jackson Hole. Over two million years ago, glaciers were present, carving out the mountains, and creating Jackson Lake, which is over 400 feet deep. The lake is very popular for boating, canoeing and kayaking.

Jackson Lake

Jackson Lake

Our first visit to the park, was mainly social. We met up with friends, old and new, for lunch at the Signal Mountain Lodge in the park. It was great getting caught up on everyone’s summer jobs, and we have some great opportunities to think about for future work camping positions. Karen and Al are working at Luton’s Teton Cabins. Steve and Joan, along with Maxine and Dave, are working for a company that maps out BLM land.

lunch with friends

lunch with friends

After lunch, instead of driving on the heavily populated main roads, Al led the pack in an off-road adventure on the Snake River. It was a great way to view the park and wildlife, without fighting all the tourists. July is the busiest month for both the Tetons and Yellowstone.

Snake River overlook

Snake River overlook

herd of Pronghorns

herd of Pronghorns

Once we completed our off-road adventure, we headed back to Karen and Al’s fifth wheel, to visit for an hour or so, before saying our goodbyes, as we all had two-hour drives back ‘home’. On our way back, we did stop at the sign in Yellowstone where the Continental Divide passes through the park (I like to take pictures of signs)! The Continental Divide, in case you are wondering, is the line that divides the flow of water between the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. Every continent except Antarctica has their own continental divide.

I stop for signs

I stop for signs

While we were stopped at the pull-out, this gentleman pulled up with a very cool RV set-up. A Ford Falcon (year unknown) towing a T@B trailer.

a cool RV set-up

a cool RV set-up

This past Sunday (July 19), we drove back down to the park to do a little more exploring, and met up again with Karen and Al.   They were running a little behind, so Dan and I stopped in to check out the Jackson Lake Lodge. While we were looking at the scenery out back, a women came up to the man next to me and said ‘did you see the moose’? He shook his head and she said to follow her. I quickly followed her as well! She pointed to an area of tall brush, and we waited and were quickly rewarded with this quick view of a moose!

Moose!!!

Moose!!!

I have never seen a moose before (Dan has while fishing in northern Minnesota with his college roommate Mike) so this was very exciting for me. And then there was more movement in the brush, and we saw a brief glimpse of a baby moose!

Mama and baby

Mama and baby

That just made my day right there! They both went out of sight, and we waited a while, but then continued on to meet up with our friends. We headed up to the top of Signal Mountain, which overlooks the valley.

Signal Mountain View

Signal Mountain View

If you look at the photo above, you will notice a uniquely shaped lake. We discussed various names, and Al came up with “Viagra Lake”. We will leave it up to you to decide what object you think it resembles! We headed back down and continued along the Teton Park Road, stopping at various overlooks. The first one overlooked Mount Moran (elevation 12,605 feet). We had low-lying clouds in the morning.

Mount Moran

Mount Moran

We stopped in at String Lake, which is a very popular swimming and kayaking area. It is also where many of the backcountry hiking trails begin. We saw a number of very tired, but happy guys that were just completing a multi-day hike.

String Lake

String Lake

We continued on down the road, and we were going to stop by Jenny Lake and the Jenny Lake Visitors Center, but they were overflowing with cars and people. We headed down towards Moose Junction to do some hiking in the Rockerfeller Preserve and noticed a lot of cars pulled over with a Park Ranger nearby trying to clear the traffic jam. We were briefly able to see another moose, fairly close to the road! This is when I am glad we have a sunroof in our truck, as I can pop up and take pictures while Dan continues driving.  Now we just need to see a Bull Moose with a big rack.

Another Moose!

Another Moose!

Unfortunately, when we arrived in the parking lot at the Preserve, it was all backed up and the Park Ranger told us there were eight cars ahead of us waiting for a parking spot. We talked it over with Karen and Al, and decided to just head out to lunch. We will plan on a hike later in August, when the park is less crowded. This is certainly a huge advantage to work camping, in that you can pick and choose when to do the things you want. Gone are the days of cramming in everything in one exhausting week of vacation. We see many people at night in the gift store that have “hit the wall” and are just exhausted from battling the crowds all day.

We had a nice late lunch at Dornan’s, which has an upper viewing deck overlooking the Tetons.

our lunch view

our lunch view

After lunch, we headed over to Lower Schwabacher area to view the Grand Tetons, before heading back home. The Grand Teton, at 13,770 feet, is the tallest peak in the range, with the Middle Teton and South Teton beside it. Since the clouds had finally lifted, it was a beautiful view with a nice reflection in the Snake River..

view of Grand Tetons

view of Grand Tetons

Life is Good

Life is Good

We had another great day, with friends, in the park. There are still many more things to do, and we will plan another visit in August. We also plan on spending some time in the city of Jackson, just south of the park. Most people refer to the city as Jackson Hole, but that is the name of the valley region, not the city. And we do plan on coming down through Idaho next time, so we can view the western half of the Teton Range.

Quote for the day: “The mountains are calling and I must go.” – John Muir