The second leg of our Northwest Trip, led us from Sonora, CA to Lake Tahoe as an overnight stop. While we have visited Lake Tahoe in 2011 and we had it remembered as a beautiful place, this time, we didn’t have the same experience. Hotels in Summer are way overprized, service went down the drain and traffic competes with downtown L.A. at rush hour. Needless to say, we were happy to leave after one night. My advise: If you plan to visit Lake Tahoe, do it in June. The place is very quiet and the scenery with the mountains still covered in snow is breathtaking.
Since the drive to Jackson, WY would have taken more than 11 hours from Lake Tahoe, we took another overnight stay in Salt Lake City and arrived early afternoon on the 3rd travel day in Jackson, WY.
We have been here before, so we knew the area. Right after we checked into our hotel, we headed out to Grand Teton National Park which is about 15 miles outside of Jackson. Entrance fee for both parks is $50 for 7 days. Very reasonable if you consider the size of the parks, the activities and scenery offered and the number of days you can enjoy in the park.
We took a hike to Taggard Lake which is about 4 miles and takes roughly 90 minutes. Unfortunately we were there in the afternoon, so it was already very hazy and picture taking was a challenge. A few turned out good anyway.
Lake Taggard, Grant Teton National Park
I headed out the next day early morning in the hope to catch the golden light at this time of day. Due to a wildfire in the area (more on that in a bit), the air was not as clean and clear as it usually is at this early time of day.
Our plan was, to visit Geyser Basin at Yellowstone. So we took off and headed towards the park. About 25 miles before the park, we hit a ranger station where the ranger explained us, that the wildfire has spread out and they were forced to close I89 which is the only way from the south into the park. The deviation would be through the west entrance, a short 3 hour and 150 mile drive…. Needless to say, we didn’t go into the park that day.
Later that afternoon, the smoke from the fire could be seen at Jackson and the air smelled smoky. So we changed our itinerary and left Jackson the next day to drive towards our next stop, Glacier National Park, but we stopped at Butte, MO and drove into Yellowstone through the west entrance for a few hours to visit Geyser basin with Old faithful geyser. Another long day of driving, but we didn’t want to miss Yellowstone just because of a “minor” fire of 6,300 acres (status 8/22/16) called Berry fire. Taking it from the positive side would be to think: Well at least the super volcano under Yellowstone didn’t erupt – that would have changed our travel plans a bit more.
Geyser basin Yellowstone
After that we drove on to Kalispell, MO for Glacier Park.
More on that in the next update.