1. Day 15, 1 June, was an easy and relaxing day for us. From the very basic motel the previous day, we moved into Ranch Inn, a more charming and comfortable hotel with a kitchen in the centre of Jackson. The room in Ranch Inn even had a fire place and here I was trying my hands at lighting up the fire place.
2. It had become part of our routine to look for hotel room with a kitchen when we had more relaxing day to cook. Reality is we do miss home-cooked food and when we can we cook.
3. Grand Teton National Park is a scenic park located in NW Wyoming, 800 thousands acres (1/3 the size of Yellowstone) in area. Its vast plain of 40 miles long and 10 miles wide is flanked by with snow capped mountain ranges, with Snake River running through the park in a N-S direction and flowing through the park's 2 main lakes, Jackson Lake and the smaller Jenny Lake. Rockefeller Highway runs through the plain, largely adjacent to the river.
3. We decided to take half a day to do the Jenny Lake scenic drive, starting at Moose Visitor Centre, then North to Jenny Lake, before looping back to Oxbow Bend and traveling South along Rockefeller Highway back to Jackson, all in about 40 to 50 miles. Along the way, we had lunch at Signal Mountain Lodge.
4. The Moose Visitor Centre was located in a charming, tastefully designed wooden building. The architect did a good job here. Inside, there were displays and information boards about the history of the park and what one could see and do there, in addition to the usual information counter manned by park rangers and shop. Surprising this visitor centre had Wifi; not always the case with other VCs.
5. In general, I am impressed with the quality of the National Park's visitor centres. They were always tastefully designed, often taking into account the environment of their locations. The park rangers were knowledgeable, patient and polite, and always smartly dressed in beige/brown uniforms. The National Parks Service had standardized the products for the visitors. Consistently across the board, each centre would hand out a one sheet colourful map with good information that could be folded into a very handy size and a seasonal newspaper (e.g summer edition, with list of events, road closures etc); and their sizes were standardised across all National Parks. After visits to a couple of National Parks you sort of know what to expect and how best to use the material provided. Very good work.
6. North of Jenny Lake, we drove up the winding road to Signal Mountain (7600 ft). From the top, we had excellent views of the of Jackson Lake on one side and the great plain on the other.
7. We made a stop at Oxbow Bend, as brochure indicated that it was a good place to see animals as they tended to congregate there for food and water. We waited there patiently for a few minutes but did not see any. I suppose we were not patient enough.
Not far from Oxbow Bend, however, we managed to see a herd of deers grazing among the wild shrubs.
8. We had a quiet and uneventful lunch at Signal Mountain Lodge. Here's a picture of the lodges, with a great view of Jackson Lake. We had originally wanted to stay here instead of Jackson but was discouraged from going because of some road closures. As it turned out, access to the Lodge was probably not an issue.
9. We returned to Ranch Inn early enough for us to catch up with laundry, emails and blogging and cook dinner.