The Grand Treaton

Snowcapped mountains, bugling elk, grazing moose, crystal clear lakes – you name it, The Grand Teton National Park has it. Located in the massive and sparsely populated state of Wyoming, this is without a doubt one of North America´s treasures and might be my personal favorite so far. Unlike Yellowstone National Park, the good stuff here is hidden on the highest peaks – thus the title of this blogpost. It seems like wherever you hike, you will be rewarded with solitude, spectacular views and lots of wildlife. Most people seem to settle for the Yellowstone Park, which is just north of the smaller Grand Teton NP – Mistake! Drive a little further south, get the boots ready and hike to the Amphitheater Lake to get a close look on the highest peak of the Park, or hike into the narrow Death Canyon!

Of course, the town of Jackson shouldn´t be neglected either. The local outfitter Stio has the best souvenirs, or, if required, equipment for the adventurous. The Snake River Brewery, which is named after the beautiful river that flows through the National Park provides you with different kinds of locally brewed beer and burgers. And if you want to get into Line Dancing, join a free lesson at Million Dollar Cowboy Bar.

Although it is really disturbing to see people walking around town openly carrying a gun, this is the place to get a true “Wild West” experience. And if you´re still wondering who voted for America´s next president, you´ll find out here.

 

The Drive-Thru Park

The idea of having National Parks is awesome. But, after my visit to the oldest one of them, the Yellowstone National Park, I have mixed feelings about the whole system. Sure, the density of breathtaking sights, wild animals and healthy forests is just incredible. Animals are being protected here, and the Visitor Centres are very educational! On the other hand though, the amount of people that visit those parks and therefore the amount of cars is just ridiculous. All of the National Parks saw a drastic increase in visitor numbers in the past years, and so did the Yellowstone NP.

No wonder. It´s incredible what you can see here just sitting in your car driving around. To me, that is exactly the problem. After having experienced places that were hard to reach and therefore very lonely in British Columbia, this park was very “non-rewarding”. Why would you get out of your car, when there´s a road that goes through the most incredible, unique spots, like the Mammoth Hot Springs? For dayhikers, there are lots of options to get away from the crowds – but it´s really frustrating if you end up at a viewpoint that is also accessible by car. After two of those hikes, we were close to leaving the park early. On the way to the west entrance of the park though, we spotted a Grizzly and her cub! Even though we had to share that moment with quite a lot of people, it was majestic. The bear, knowing that it´s absolutely safe, grazed in the meadows just  a couple of hundred meters from the road.

Although that made up for a lot of our frustration (we were absolutely STOKED about having seen that even a week after), I couldn´t help but feel a little sad about the fact that everything in this park is so accessible. It makes sense for people who would otherwise not be able to see those natural wonders, but it just makes people so lazy, which I found very shocking.

Nonetheless, Yellowstone was an incredible experience!

See the pictures below – three of them were not taken in Yellowstone, but on the drive there through the massive state of Montana!

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