|My good friend
Scott volunteered to be bumped off a Delta flight during Thanksgiving 2008
and got a $600 voucher for his troubles. One year later on the night
he needed to redeem the
voucher or lose it he booked 2 tickets for us to
Salt Lake City for May 2010 which we would use for this trip to the
Grand Tetons &
It's my third trip to the area and my second at this time of the year
which I love. Yellowstone National
Park didn't open for car traffic until May 15 this year.
The two advantages I've noticed in going in May or going in July which I did as a kid are there are not nearly as many tourists in the parks which is huge. When I was hear in the 70's as a kid the traffic was outrageous. I can only imagine how bad it is now 35 years later. There just isn't a whole lot of parking at the sights. The second is that the wildlife hasn't been scared out of the tourist areas as the parks have just opened. We saw some elk and a few moose on my first visit as a kid but when I came during May in the early 90's there were animals everywhere. That was the case again on this trip.
This was basically our travel day. We flew from Baltimore to Salt Lake City then proceeded to pick up our rental car which took much longer than expected. I had 2 reserved, one a full sized car and one a SUV. The full sized car was under $200 for the week and the SUV was going to be close to $400. We decided to go with the full sized car and just hope we didn't run into any real bad weather. We finally chose wisely as except for some rain and a little hail at Norris Geyser Basin the weather was fine.
The distance between Salt Lake City and Jackson, Wyoming is about 300 miles so it took us about 6 hours to make it up to Jackson. We flew into Salt Lake even though Jackson has an airport because Scott's vouchers practically covered the whole price of the 2 tickets to Salt Lake as opposed to flying into Jackson we would have had to pay about $150 more per person. Renting a car in Salt Lake was also cheaper so these 2 factors swayed us to make the drive instead of flying directly into Jackson.
We got to Jackson and checked into our hotel the Jackson Hole Lodge which I had a 1 Bedroom Suite reserved. It's a really nice hotel and very close to the ski area. I can see this being a great hotel for skiers especially with the 1 bedroom suite. We had a full kitchen, fireplace, washer and drier and we are within walking distance of Jackson's Town Square. The hotel also has an indoor pool building with 3 hot tubs.
After checking in we really didn't have much time to see any sights so we went to the Jackson Hole Visitor Center on the outskirts of Jackson. It's right up against the National Elk Refuge but we didn't see any Elk from the center. Scott talked with the information desk people about where to do some hiking tomorrow and came up with pretty much the plan I had originally made for hiking around Jenny Lake. One of the bad things about this time of year is there is still a lot of snow on the trails and some are still closed which we would find out for real tomorrow.
It's a real nice Visitor Center with displays of all the animals in the area. We spent about a half hour at the center before leaving and heading for the hotel to get ready to go out for the evening.
It is nice being within walking distance of things. We took the car back to the hotel and just walked down to the Town Square area. I immediately took Scott to The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar which I think is great. It's been a bar in Jackson since 1937 and won the first liquor license in the State of Wyoming following the repeal of prohibition. The most distinct part of the bar is the seating at the bar. Instead of bar stools they have horse saddles set up to sit on.
We hung out at The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar for awhile listening to the band before heading around the corner to the Silver Dollar Bar And Grill in the Wort Hotel. This is another neat bar with another unique feature. They have 2032 inlaid Silver Dollars in their bar.
We finished up the night by having a huge pizza across the street at Cafe Ponza's. It was also really good pizza. Scott had his 2nd Pabst Blue Ribbon of the night (mostly because that was the only beer he saw in the display) and decided PBR is a once a night beer for him. Cafe Ponza's is open really late at night and worth a stop for the late night munchies. They also toss their own pizza dough which is always fun to see. After Cafe Ponza's we called it a night and went back to the Jackson Hole Lodge to get some sleep for our exploring of Grand Teton National Park tomorrow.
Forward To May 16
Hiking Jenny Lake
Grand Teton National Park