After leaving Idaho Falls, we headed out-of-town toward another old stomping ground — Palisades Reservoir, a place where I explored while my parents enjoyed fishing. But I wasn’t ready for what I saw… the water level was over 30 feet down from normal, if not more.
Further up at the shallow end of the reservoir, the water had receded to the point where there were a couple of MILES of lake bottom exposed and it was filling in with plant life. Very surprising to see that first hand. We continued toward Wyoming and briefly stopped along the way:
That last photo is of a osprey nest! I don’t remember seeing osprey here when I was a kid, so it was a surprise to see them wheeling around in the sky and taking a fresh catch of fish back to the nest.
We finally made it to Jackson Hole to see the Grand Tetons — our first trip back since our honeymoon in 1990! This is what we came out to see — the big peaks of the American West.
Once the shadows began to lengthen, we turned back to find lodging for the night. Back in 1990, we tent camped in the wilderness between Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. But many years have gone by since then and my back can no longer tolerate the rigors of tent camping. But what to do? Jackson, Wyoming is notorious for being as pricy as Aspen, Colorado and we couldn’t possibly afford that… or could we?
The secret is to do as we’re doing on this trip. This region has three seasons: the summer crush (when they get 3 million visitors streaming through in a just a few short months), the winter ski season, and about four to five weeks to recover their senses during the months of April and early May. That’s the time to visit — when crowds are non-existent, the room rates are a 1/5th of their normal cost, and fancy restaurants are offering 2-for-1 deals. Take the meal below; it’s grilled Idaho rainbow trout, grilled spring vegetable salad and a roasted tomato vinaigrette — and I must say the trout was simply the finest and most flavorful I’ve ever eaten. Or how about the dessert of warm caramelized pear, almond brittle, puff pastry and the richest vanilla ice cream I’ve ever tasted? Truly a spectacular meal and one that we could afford due to the 2-for-1 special they were having due to the off-season.
After the meal, we decided to walk off some of the calories and take in the sights, like the famous elk antlers across the street. In my earlier quiz I indicated that the white knobby stuff could be found on Assateague Island, which is true; they have some elk there, plus some Sitka deer, which are natives of Japan that somehow found their way onto the island.
And when we saw that the sky was beginning to shape up for a nice sunset, we decided to hoof it back to the car so we could experience it with the Tetons. This was when we spotted the glacier rocks in the stream bed below.