I live in a suburb of New Orleans and have been writing here off and on for 10 years. I have been married 53 years to the same crazy guy.
Arriving and Accommodation in Jackson Hole
My husband and I made two spectacular trips to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to see both Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park. We first went in May and again in January a few months later so we could see the same things covered with snow. We did the trips on a budget and had a grand time doing so!
We had an uneventful flight to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on our first trip in May. We actually chose the destination because it had two national parks that we could visit. After the pandemic lockdown, we just wanted to be outdoors. We reserved seats on the very last seat of the plane so we wouldn't be breathing breath anyone was expelling behind us and never took our masks off.
The shuttle took us to Hertz and we picked up our rental car, then headed for Flat Creek Inn. It is a cute two-story motel on the highway into Jackson Hole at a price we could afford. We were happy with it as it was immaculately clean, very tastefully decorated, and even had a small kitchen. We ate all but one meal in our own kitchen—the exception being a dinner out for our anniversary. Flat Creek Inn isn't fancy, but we are not fancy people and have no desire to be, so we were happy.
The only disadvantage was the rooms with the kitchens were on the second story. We are in our 70s and made it a point to be extremely careful climbing those stairs! The biggest perk is that it is directly across the highway from the Elk Reserve and we had a clear view of their movement both coming in from and leaving for the mountains.
Now, on to a bit of what we saw away from the hotel!
The Mormon Barn and Other Sights
The barn is part of a village of buildings built by Mormons at some point during the early to mid-20th century. The building is part of the Mormon Row Historic District which is part of the National Register of Historic Places. The buildings are abandoned now, but seeing them lets the imagination run wild. I can't even imagine being surrounded by all that beauty every day!
We drove all over the Teton range taking photographs and just enjoying the views. It was phenomenal. I have Afib and was a bit nervous about the effects of the altitude, but I literally ended up not experiencing any. I did get afraid at one point and we had to turn around before reaching the pinnacle of a particularly high area. The abyss looking down out my window was just too close for comfort for me!
There is nothing like the beauty of the Teton Mountains. They send a message: We've been here forever and will still be here when you are nothing more than scattered ashes.
Words fail when trying to describe their beauty. We decided to go back during the winter, (in January) because we wanted to see them covered in snow. It ended up being even more spectacular.
A Wagon Ride in the Elk Reserve
The wagon ride in the elk reserve was another of our favorite experiences. We went out to the middle of the reserve and were surrounded by hundreds of elk that paid no attention to us whatsoever. The guide told us if we dropped something, it is just gone. The elk are fine with the wagons because they view them as a whole, the people plus wagons. But if someone gets out, it can frighten them and they can be dangerous. Nevertheless, I had no desire to get out!
This pair of grizzlies were just wandering along on the edge of the highway. There were at least 25 cars parked just watching them. They seemed oblivious to us and went on eating whatever it was they were eating. I have a very healthy respect for bears of any kind, having seen a few black bears around our cabin in Arkansas and having seen what they can do to a deer feeder.
We kept the windows up as they passed us. They were gorgeous though and were exciting to see. We saw tons of buffalo grazing in fields along the side of the highway as well.
The Geysers of Yellowstone
This is a geyser field where we believe the chemicals from the geysers killed the trees. It actually made a beautiful field! There are geysers everywhere in Yellowstone; they seem to be around every turn.
There are some that are more spectacular than others. Old Faithful, the most famous, is something everyone should see. But still, they are all beautiful. We never tired of seeing them when we were there.
Just Take the Trip!
When we began to think about going to Jackson Hole, people kept saying, "That's where the rich people go." Well, they do, but to ski! The town is full of shopping spots if that's your thing. However, you definitely can make the trip we made for a reasonable amount of money.
We loved Flat Creek Inn, and there are other places along the highway that are equally reasonably priced. There are countless videos online with things to do and pictures of all the sights to see. Do some research and figure out what you can do that is within your budget. In this article, I wanted to give an idea of what it's like to be there and that you don't have to be "rich" to go. We certainly aren't!
I will be 77 in the spring. I think we are going to go one more time next year during the fall to see the gorgeous yellow leaves. You have the availability of two national parks within a convenient driving distance and the view is one marvel after another. I hope I've encouraged you to just go. I'm so glad we did. Godspeed!