From Idaho I crossed the border into Wyoming, rolling into Jackson midday where I got the best pizza lunch special deal thanks to a rec from a friend, and wandered through the town square for about 5 minutes before deciding there were too many dumb non-social distancing, non-mask wearing crazies and hopping back in the van. Not before snapping a pic of the crazy antler arches marking each corner of the park. Woah, elk. I guess this is a thing here? I saw another giant elk antler arch in Idaho the day before…

Before entering the park proper, I stopped by the T.A. Moulton barn, which is the remains of a homestead on Mormon Row with the most spectacular view of the Tetons, and is one of the most photographed spots in the country. So of course I had to add to that number.

It being the week of Independence Day, this was unfortunately a high traffic time in the park and everyone and their grandma wanted to be out camping to escape quarantine stir-craziness, so all the free camping spots I went by were full and I had to suck it up and pay for camp sites for 3 days in the park, which was actually kind of nice because I had amenities and cooked a bunch of stuff for later knowing I could dump my water any time I needed and reload. Hello campfires and cooking! Aside from the loud bros nearby at one site it was very nice. I caught lovely sunrises and sunsets over the lakes, hills, and peaks. Magic.

My first full day in the park I drove around, stopped by all the turnouts, and did a hike to two lakes where I stopped to snack, read, and wade in to my knees in the cold but refreshing water. I was so, so tempted to strip down to my underwear and swim but the there were kids around and my sanity prevailed. I was also treated to crossing paths with a mama bear and her 3 cubs from a decent distance. So cute!

The following day I went to Jenny Lake and took the boat one way across to the Cascade Canyon trail. Before reaching the canyon trail I passed Hidden Falls and the Inspiration Point, both of which were full of tourists with no masks shoved together. No thank you. Snapped a quick pic and off I went to the thankfully much emptier trail. Amazing how the more effort required the less crowded, huh? Well done, America.

Anyway, this was one of the prettiest trails for the least effort I’ve ever done. So gorgeous! The trail runs through the canyon between the mountains offering amazing views of the famous peaks from a different perspective, and follows a stream most of the way with some rocky patches, ponds, and woods intermixed. I spotted 3 moose and a bald eagle along the way, so that was cool, as well as the tail end of a pika that hid before I could really see it, and a few carefree marmots. I made it to the end of the canyon trail with half a notion to continue one on to Lake Solitude, but I’d started later than intended and am still getting blisters on one toe from my new-ish boots so turned back and saved myself 5 miles.

At some point I drove up Signal Mountain, stopped by some more turnouts, and scoped out all the parking lots for license plates (down to just Delaware… where are you!?!) before taking off down a terrible bumpy dirt road on my way towards Yellowstone. This is one of the most fantastic places I have ever been and I know I’ll be back. So. Amazing.

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