After four wonderful days in Yellowstone, we left Old Faithful Inn in the rear view mirror quite early on the sixth day of our trip – headed south on Highway 89 toward Grand Tetons National Park. Our first glimpse of the Tetons was just as first light was casting its pinkish hue on the mountains, far off in the distance. The morning was cold enough for mist to be rising off of the Lewis River, perfectly completing the composition. As we continued south and the sun rose over the horizon, the pastel colors gave way to vibrant blues behind the ever-growing vista of the Grand Tetons. Though we only had about 4 hours to spend in the park, it was a morning well spent, gazing at these rocky monoliths rising 5,000 feet above the valley floor, and accented, as in the photo above from Colter Bay, by the golden glory of the autumn aspens.
We chose to venture along the less-traveled Teton Park Rd which runs along the lakes that border the Tetons. Being more or less acclimated to the utter flatness that is Florida, looking out just over a mile away to see a summit, nearly a mile above us, was a pretty spectacular contrast. Near Moose, along the southern edge of the park, Bryn suggested we stop by the village of Menors Ferry – a pioneer settlement built around a ferry crossing along the swift-moving Snake River. Preserved much as it appeared 120 years ago, the collection of buildings includes a few small homes, a general store, and an Episcopalian Chapel (above). The general store is run by the national park and offers many period-true items for purchase, and in the adjoining rooms there’s a museum offering a glimpse into frontier life at the base of the Tetons. During the summer months, you can even take a ride on the ferry. One last note – if you stop by, be sure to check out the small poll barn on the property. The barn holds three wagons – two Yellowstone tour wagons (used to take guests to the park from lodge to lodge up until 1913) and the covered wagon the Menor family used to cross over the Tetons into this valley.
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Autumn in the National Parks – Grand Tetons