Days 1 to 4 based in Jackson Hole — the eclipse and exploring Grand Teton NP
After a long day’s travel we arrived in Jackson Hole and settled into our hotel, the 49’er Inn. The next morning, after a bit of pre- breakfast birding around the back of the hotel and having picked up our American sized lunch on the way, we set off for Flat Creek. After stopping at the visitor centre, we headed for Two Oceans Lake where we enjoyed our lunch and a walk around the lake. The highlight was a great view of two moose standing in the lake. We also stopped off at Jackson Lake Lodge for delicious and large size portions of ice cream. On our way back we encountered our first bison (traffic) jam. What a wonderful first day.
We set off early to beat the traffic and make sure we got a good spot from which to view. It wasn’t easy as there were already people parked everywhere. As we turned into Gros Ventre road we were met by a very helpful park ranger who explained that the road had been made one-way with one lane being used as a long car park. After driving past endless cars we eventually found a good place and parked up. Most of us climbed up the hillside from where we had some amazing views of the Teton mountain range. Even with all the people there for the eclipse, it didn’t feel crowded. And then it started. It took a while before we noticed much change in the light but then suddenly the light faded, the temperature dropped and there was an eerie stillness. At the point of totality, the whole hillside erupted in appreciation. Wow, words cannot describe the experience. We had some lunch looking over the river whilst contemplating what we had seen. We did some birdwatching and then drove back to Jackson where we spent the afternoon relaxing in the park with ice-cream (well some of us did anyway).
Day 4: The next day we set off to the National Elk Refuge. Driving round we spotted three Coyotes enjoying the sprinklers. We stopped off at Flat Creek Visitor Centre, where we found somewhere to have our lunch after which we headed back to Jackson for a break as it was now rather hot, though it had been surprisingly chilly first thing. Later, we set off to look for beavers. We drove down the Moose Wilson Road, which was rather busy, and then headed for the beaver site where we parked and walked along the river to a flooded area with a beaver lodge in its middle. We didn’t see any beavers but did find a large female moose in the water instead. After a while somebody noticed an animal swimming in the water but it turned out to be a muskrat. We walked back to the car with the sun setting behind us. It was a beautiful place.