Grand Teton National Park

My sister, Jules, wanted to drive down from San Fransisco to Texas to stay for four months over the holidays. A road trip seemed like a much less Covid risky way to spend time with our parents than flying. I didn’t want Jules to drive all the way from San Francisco to Dallas by herself and, since our annual sister trip was canceled this year, it was the perfect excuse to make this our actual sister trip. We decided to spend a little bit more time exploring the US on our way back from San Francisco so, instead of driving south and then east to explore Arizona and New Mexico like we had done previously, we decided to go straight east through Nevada and Wyoming and down through Colorado and New Mexico into Texas.

A few days before we were going to leave, Jules noticed that the weather was going to be freezing! While it was 70 in Dallas, Yellowstone National Park was predicted to be between 0 to 15°! Thankfully we had time to prepare and fully pack with extra-warm, cozy clothes to bundle up with during our time in Wyoming.

I flew over to San Francisco after work on a Friday night. This was my first flight during Covid and I was a little bit worried. Thankfully everyone on the flight was wearing a mask and it wasn’t too full. I watched a few movies and had a very uneventful flight even though we were delayed by an hour and a half. The delay was problematic because Julia and I had a six hour drive to do after I landed in San Francisco! To prepare for the drive, Jules bought me a banh mi sandwich dinner before my delay. By the time I got to SFO around 8 PM, my dinner of was stone cold and the spring rolls Jules got were a really strange and texture. It was still delicious though because I was starving!

We took off in the dark to a little town in Nevada. We hadn’t seen each other in so long that we talked the entire drive! We didn’t arrive until 4:30 AM Dallas time, 2:30 AM San Francisco time and were exhausted and looked a bit rough.

We lugged everything into the hotel and quickly fell asleep. We had quite an early morning the next day to make the rest of the 10 hour drive to Wyoming. It was supposed to snow in Wyoming, so we got up a bit early to try and beat the snow! Jules had a all-wheel-drive Subaru (the “boobaroo”), which can handle this snow, but it’s still better to be safe than sorry.

Before we took off we went to the local coffee shop to get some extra tall coffee’s because we had such a short amount of sleep and a long day ahead of us. Fortunately for us, the view was absolutely beautiful and we had a scenic drive to our destination, Jackson Hole. We talked most of the way, with a few hours dedicated to listening to a audiobook. My job had been very stressful lately, so we had long conversations about how to distress, take deep breath‘s, and incorporate meditation into daily life. It was very refreshing to talk about those topics because I definitely need to find ways to destress and my sister had some wonderful recommendations. 

We stopped a few times for gas and for some vegetarian jackfruit tacos for lunch. They were absolutely delicious. Because of our stops and the time change, we arrived at Jackson Hole around 6:30 PM. It was a very long day! Before we got to our Airbnb, we went to the local grocery store to stock up for the week since we were going to cooke most of our meals to save some money while we worked from our Airbnb. When we pulled up in the parking lot of the grocery store it started snowing!

It was a quick drive from the grocery store to Teton Village which is at the bottom of Jackson Hole ski slopes. It was a bit icy and we definitely used the traction control on the car to make sure we didn’t drive off the road. Eventually made it safely to the Airbnb. There was 4 feet of snow on the ground so it took a bit of effort to lug everything up to our adorable Airbnb. It was the perfect space to working over the next couple of days. We unpacked quickly, made a quick dinner, and then relaxed after such a long day of driving.

We had a really early morning for our tour of Grand Teton. Originally, we were supposed to be touring Yellowstone National Park today but, because of all the snow, the roads were too dangerous and the park shut down. We are a bit disappointed, but we also came without any expectations, so we let our disappointment go and were ready to explore and started the day with an amazing view of Teton Village.

The road down to Jackson Hole was foggy but not enough to hide the moose crossing the road! It was our first animal siding of the trip and we were very excited! We drove into Jackson and found a parking lot to meet our guide Mike. Mike was referred to me by a good friend that I used to work with who had absolutely raving reviews about his tour with Mike. Mike was really nice, wore a mask, and drove us so we could enjoy the views. He had a fascinating story of how he moved from Florida with his family to Wyoming after being so love with the State. Along our drive the mountains weren’t showing because of all of the overcast clouds but it was still a beautiful site with all of the snow. We found the Grand Teton National Park sign and took a photo at the beginning and end of our trip. The difference in visibility was crazy!

Mike told us all about the history of the area and how Rockefeller secretly bought up all of the land in Grand Teton National Park and then donated the land to the government for public use. How awesome is that! Mike also told us about his son Isaac who happens to be a fantastic wildlife photographer. His work was even featured in the Smithsonian Museum. Mike told us about how Isaac waited in a river one early morning to catch three moose right above the water’s steam looking at each other. Such an awesome story and incredible picture.

Mike then drove us to the Mormon Barnes. We had the whole place to our selves because it was so cold and in the off-season for tourism. It was so cool but we got very lucky with the timing of our trip. If it had been a week later the parks would’ve been completely closed! We were able to experience some really neat things without a lot of tourists. 

We continue driving and the sun finally started to come out. The Grand Teton started peeping through the clouds and it made for an absolutely incredible view! The landscape looked like a painting, not real life.

We stopped quite a few times to look at scenic views vistas and just taking all the snow on the trees because there was also a unique and if itself. Mike was excited too as he had never driven this route with snow all around as the parks are typically closed by the time it snows.

We stopped at Jenny Lake, named after a Native American woman who married a trapper and had many children but tragically died. While her life was tough and cut too short, her legacy lives on in such a beautiful place.

My favorite viewpoint of the day was Snake River. It was the last stop of the day and we were getting pretty tired but the view made it completely worth it. I FaceTimed my hubby, Ryan, and he told me that the background looked like a painting. I could not agree more. We spent some time taking it all in and then headed back to town after a good eight hours of driving.

After our tour, we said “Goodbye” to Mike and walked around Jackson Hole to do some exploring. There were quite a few cute shops around the town square and we looked at all of the gadgets, gizmos, clothes, and jewelry that was on display. We even went to visit Isaac, Mike’s son, at the camera store to look at some of his pictures. The were are amazing and we followed him on Instagram to keep up with his work.

After looking at all the options for food we decided to go to a Italian place on the way back. We actually saw it while we were driving in the night before and it had really cute lights and a great set up so we were already leaning towards going there without even looking at the menu. When we saw that it was pizza we were sold! We enjoyed some yummy pizza, a charcuterie board, and some brussels sprouts that had a lot of potential but too much sauce. After dinner, we went back to the Airbnb, turned on a movie, and got ready for our next few days of working from the Airbnb.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s