After living it up in Coalville, we headed east and north through one of the most deserted stretches of the trip so far – on the highway 95 that skirted the border between Utah and Wyoming, with a brief foray into Idaho for good measure. I really liked this road: it was flat, but with sharp mountains tempting us in the distance, and dotted with isolated ranches as well as villages boasting of populations barely into triple figures. We also drove into a spectacular storm – like the mountains, it loomed on the horizon, and sure enough we were headed straight into it. Luckily this was my dream road (two lanes, hardly any cars), and so the driving rain and menacing clouds were enjoyable rather than terrifying.
After stopping for some gas and hot dogs in Afton (a veritable metropolis with a population of 1,952) we drove through the prettily named Star Valley, which gradually led us into the forested slopes of the Tetons. And as the afternoon drew on, we found ourselves finally coming towards our destination: Grand Teton National Park.
Grand Teton National Park
We didn’t have much time to spend in Grand Teton, but had decided to pass through and camp here overnight en route to Yellowstone, and were very glad we were able to fit in at least a brief visit. At last I’d set sight on some veritable Rocky Mountain peaks, that – once again – looked great for hiking. So many places I’d love to come back to on foot!
I also had a mission in Grand Teton to fulfil: have a swim in Jenny Lake. When I first saw it I was a little underwhelmed, but then realised we had misread the satnav and were actually standing in front of the much smaller String Lake. A little drive back and Jenny Lake proved itself quite picturesque, although sadly the cloudy sky above stopped us seeing it in full glory. It was, however, not warm in the slightest, and so I went in for a decidedly glacial, oh, around 30 seconds. Still, mission accomplished.
And so, after a short drive to the campsite it was time for our first night camping. Until now the tent had been sitting in the car, but it was finally its time to shine. I’d like to pretend that we got it up in the 10-15 minutes that the pack estimated, but that would be a lie. However, it did prove to be rainproof and passably warm, although the campground at Grand Teton seemed to be particularly stony, and I wished that my sleeping mat was 10 times thicker.
Highlights: Swimming in a namesake lake, the beautiful mountains of Grand Teton, great driving.
Lowlights: seriously, who makes a campground that is literally a bed of stones?