Before i get going on this post this needs to be known, i have never been to Yellowstone National Park (YNP), or the Teton Valley despite living very near Silver Gate off and on for quite some time.
I have been looking forward to the Snake River Wooden Boat Festival since last fall. So despite the rainy forecast i was very excited when Lea and i loaded the gear up on a rainy Thursday morning and headed for Cody, the East Entrance of YNP and beyond.
Before we even hit the entrance to YNP we found the recreational vehicles.
These RVs are thicker than road tar and move just as slowly. We cleared the east entrance and stopped for a boat photo opp.
We decided to drive around the park loop past the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, River Old Faithful and then down to Grand Teton National Park (GTNP) giving us a chance to see some of the splendors of YNP.
The above photo and below photo are what the National Park Service (NPS) and most people wish YNP was like.
The below picture is what it's really like. Tourists foreign and domestic getting in each others way to take the two above pictures in a attempt to convince themselves and everyone else that YNP is not an over crowded amusement park.
On we drove... We arrived at Old Faithful. Had a snack and in light of the late time and crowd decided to keep on going to West Thumb and the South Entrance. After about a mile on the road we found it was closed. Completely shocked and confused, we never noticed any signs, we turned around and headed back the way we came. YNP did a terrible job of posting that the road was closed and we would find that their constant excuse was, "sorry its early season".
Tired and grumpy from our YNP detour we drove into GTNP and were greeted with this amazing sunset.
Soon after we hooked up with AJ and Greg at AJ's Tipi Camp. It was fantastic to get to our destination and have a good nights sleep. Looking at my photos i never took any shots of the camp. It is beautiful, here is a link Jackson Hole Vintage Adventures.
Friday arrived, coffee was consumed and Lea, Greg and i found ourselves at a put in.
For Lea, our unborn child (aka Fredna Stubegge) and i it was the first float of 2015.
The Snake River Valley is a breath taking place. Here are some snaps of Greg and the Tetons.
Upon arriving at the camp eddy we were able to use the boat elevator to move the boats up and into the pond. Very slick.
Saturday dawned wet. Pouring rain followed us to the coffee shop and the festival location.
As the coffee switched to beer our little campfire (candle) and big tarp couldn't keep us from heading to the Stagecoach Bar for food, drink, and warmth. The discussion at the bar centered around the float scheduled to begin around 4pm. The forecast was grim. Showers, thunderstorms, possible hail but we held on.
4pm arrived and some of us headed to the water. The rain threatened until we hit the water. Almost like we ordered it a blue hole sprang up and lit our way down the river.
After basking in the surprise sunshine we arrived back at the camp eddy and slid the boats up and into the pond.
Burgers and dogs were on the menu as the rain returned but the cozy tipi camp and good conversation made it disappear into the background.
After dinner Greg, Lea and i decided to get up early and float a section of the snake in GTNP. This section begins just above the spot where Ansel Adams shot his iconic Teton Photograph. Sunday morning we got up early, grabbed some coffee and headed to the park.
Have i mentioned how beautiful the Tetons are? With this back drop we pulled into Moose Junction to inquire about the proper tags and inspection. If you go to Moose Junction don't expect any answers at 9am as they are not open yet or not awake enough to be bothered with customer service. So we headed over to the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center. Here we got some answers from folks in National Park Service Hats.
We were informed that we had to go back to Jackson for the tag or had to drive 45min into the park for the boat inspection. "Sorry its early season" was the reason given for all the running around needed to get cash in the proper hands and proper permitting on the boat. Rather than spend a few hours dealing with the red tape of the NPS, Lea and i decided to help Greg set his shuttle then head home. (Greg was smart enough to get all the permitting ahead of time).
We all stopped to take one last photo with the Tetons in the background and then took Greg's boat to the put in.
With handshakes and hugs we left Greg at the put in and made our way back through the jungle of YNP and home. Greg continued on, you can follow his adventures here.
**I don't usually put this sort of thing in but here you go,
If you go be prepared for the fantastic hospitality of AJ and the Teton Valley folks. If you plan on floating in the park be sure to allow yourself a day of puttering around to acquire the correct tags and permitting. Go into YNP/GTNP with the attitude you would enter a busy airport. If you have the time and patience i think the payoff is well worth the effort.
Finally to add some more content to this already huge post here are two quick videos from the weekend.