Grand Tetons is a more physically active version of Yellowstone without the geothermals. Instead of picnic tables, you will see miles and miles of bike paths – paved, which are by and large curb-protected from road-hogging RV’ers. You will see lots of horse trailers, car-topped kayaks, and canoes just the way you won’t in Yellowstone.
While the traffic was substantially lighter in Tetons, the number of unpredictable tourists seemed unchanged. Here we were halted on a one-lane road by a traffic jam – a sure sign of a wildlife sighting – and it soon became clear this one was a grizzly. Last time, in Yellowstone, we missed a snapshot of the hundred photographers with spotting scope-equipped SLRs. This time we caught a few of them. Again we were late. Last time we didn’t think. This time the bear began to move at a quick walk toward the road and all those photogs, Kat among them. The bear is not in good focus, because he was beginning to move when Kat took the first shot. The photographers shot was taken from the safety of the truck. This is not combat photography, but a grizzly within 50 yards might explain poor focus.
The mountains are newer and higher, with even a glacier or two, but the only way to see them up close is to find a trail. The road through the park hangs low, safe and easy. You will see some wonderful sights, and we were surprised to find meadows full of wild flowers in full bloom. Here’s a shot of The Cathedral Group, for its angular resemblance to the old gothic cathedrals in Europe. The Grand Teton is the tall mountain. Think of Monet’s Cathedral at Rouen with better light.
On the way out we stopped to overlook the Snake River with the Grand Teton mountain above and behind it. Back in 1941 Ansel Adams made a silver gelatin photograph from a similar point of view. Here’s an image of it.
A baseball fan would tell you that the Grand Tetons National Park is a lot like extra innings at Fenway. It’s free (if you’ve been or will go to Yellowstone), and by golly it’s such a beautiful setting: what better do you have to do?