Some people like the ocean and beach; others like to travel to the mountains. Some go by car, train, plane, or cruise ship. No matter how you get there, going on vacation is something almost everyone looks forward to.
Last week we looked at Seattle & the Pacific Northwest. This week let’s look at a couple of national parks. Although Smoky National Park is the most visited, which makes sense due to its location, the granddaddy of them all and America’s first National Park (1872), Yellowstone has to be pretty near the top of anyone’s list.
There are 5 different entrances to the park but the best way, if you can do it, is to enter from the south. The reason: Jackson Hole and the Tetons. Jackson Hole is a cowboy town that still boasts wooden sidewalks and is known for its four antler arches in the downtown square. Sandra Bullock and Harrison Ford have homes in Jackson, WY where there are less than 60 frost free days a year. There is an elk refuge right outside town that has thousands of elk that winter there. But one of the best things about Jackson Hole is the view as you leave town going north when you get your first glimpse of the Tetons. Sometimes people actually gasp when they see the mountains the first time.
A hole is a French word for valley and the hole runs about 40 miles with no foothills up to the mountain, which helps give the area such a dramatic aspect. As you look at the Tetons you can understand why the Arapaho say it is the place where the maker’s work is not yet finished. The mountains are still rising! And where did they get their name? Well, the story goes, some sex-starved Frenchmen came into the hole for the first time and thought they looked like breasts¦thus the word Tetons.
One time I was having breakfast out along the Snake River and one of my travelers said that sure is beautiful wallpaper. What a neat way to describe the view. And if you go there and you are by the Snake, don’t forget a rafting trip. One time a moose actually walked right in front of our raft and we were too much in awe to realize how dangerous the situation might have been.
A stop at the Chapel of Transfiguration, Jenny Lake, Coulter Bay and Jackson Lake Lodge are also a must as you make your way along the road that leads into Yellowstone. Although it is less than 90 miles between Jackson & Yellowstone, you can easily spend most of the day getting there due to all the wonderful stops along the way; that is if you don’t make any overnight stops on the way.
Next up: The Granddaddy”Yellowstone.
Editor’s note: To read more in depth about the Seattle area, check out Kileen’s book, "Journey Beckons." You can order it through her website (as well as preview the first few chapters) at www.kileenprather.com or you can order it through Amazon either in book form or the kindle edition.
Have questions? Kileen would be happy to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.