Day 8, Monday, July 31, 2017
We got up that morning and packed up camp; we were heading out from Yellowstone today, after having arrived the previous Wednesday and spending 5 nights there camping! I was ready for departure way earlier than the rest of the family so after I broke down my camp, I went and took a shower, got ice for the cooler, washed the dishes and waited.
Our destination for the day was south and then west. We actually weren’t sure where we would be stopping for the night! We stopped by the Canyon Visitor’s Center to get our Junior Ranger booklets checked out and get our badges. Yep – I did it with the kids! We all took our oaths, and got our swag – a wooden pin on badge, a sew on patch (mine was a bison, but there is also a bear and a geyser), and a sticker!
On our way south through the Hayden Valley there were actually quite a few bison roaming! This was a big contrast from the previous day when we had gone through – seeing almost no bison at all! It just reminds you that it pays to not give up on a place!
We stopped by Grant Village for sandwiches for lunch and checked out the Visitor’s Center there – I got stamps for my passport! We learned about the fires in the park at the exhibit too; Yellowstone has had a number of fires over the years, in all areas of the park. Most seem to be started by lightning, but some are caused by careless humans.
We then headed out of the park, and drove south to Grand Teton National Park. We stopped at the Colter Bay Visitor’s Center, where the kids enjoyed playing on the edge of the lake. I liked watching the boats, and seeing the swallows swoop down and skim across the lake catching bugs!
Our next destination was the Cunningham Cabin. I had visited in 2016, but I was happy to see it again! The cabin has an interesting history, complete with horse thieving and shootouts! You can read about it here – as I detailed the story after my previous visit. The kids enjoyed it and we all loved seeing the elk that were eating grass in the fields in the distance beyond the cabin. It was so beautiful with the Teton mountain backdrop! This area is truly stunning.
We drove down to the Gros Ventre Road, which I had been told was good habitat for moose spotting, but once again there were no moose. My brother talked to a fisherman though, who said they frequently hung out at the river near the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center. We backtracked a bit and checked it out – I was already excited when we spotted a big Bald Eagle on the riverbank, but then we saw a huge Bull Moose! He was gorgeous! He lay down in the river right after we got there, so I don’t have any photos of him standing, but wow! He was an amazing sight! Everybody was really excited to see him and we watched for a while. We also saw a couple of Brewer’s Blackbirds perched on a branch in the river, watching for food.
Upon leaving the park, we headed out a small unmarked road to see if we could spot a bit more wildlife, but our sightings were limited to deer, birds and cattle. It turned out to be Highway 390 – the Moose Wilson Road. It was fun though – small and curvy, with one lane sections – we saw a couple wildlife tour vehicles heading in the other direction, so it was obviously a good spot usually!
We headed west through Teton Pass and ended up at the Teton Valley RV Resort in Victor, Idaho. They had a pool, so we had spaghetti for dinner and then went swimming.
We also almost cried when we couldn’t find a corkscrew to open a bottle of wine. I had accidentally purchased a bottle with a cork instead of a screw cap and we had forgotten to bring a corkscrew! My two nieces had been fighting after swimming (I think it was an argument about who was wearing whose shirt – important things, you know), and they got grounded to sit alone at separate picnic tables. There was a lot of pouting and whining, and trying to butter up the adults, so we really needed that wine! Fortunately, my brother saved the day and was able to get the cork out with his knife. YAY! Otherwise I might have been ready to start drinking whisky!
Other than the girls pouting, we had a great evening! Something about sitting around a picnic table with a lantern and booze soothes the soul.
Distance for the Day: Canyon Campground Yellowstone – Grand Teton National Park – Victor, ID (3 hrs, 52 min; 141 miles)
Fees: Grand Teton Entrance Fee – $30 per vehicle for 7 days, free with a National Parks Pass (our route on the east side of the park kept us out of the area of the park that charges a fee, but if you want to see the West side of the park, including Jenny Lake, you have to pay)
Teton Valley RV Resort, Victor, Idaho: $25 per night for a tent site