We have seen a lot of mountains this year, including many beautiful peaks and mountain ranges. So when Gary told me that we were about to see the most spectacular range of mountains in the country, I was more than a bit incredulous. But as you drive down from Yellowstone to Jackson and get your many views of the Teton Range, you nearly gasp at their awesome beauty.
This mountain range was created by vertical movements along the plates of a fault line. The plate on the mountain side erupted up and the plate of the valley below pushed down an equal amount. As such, there aren’t the typical foothills leading up the the base of the mountains so the vertical faces are some of the tallest in the Rockies – the mountains just rise up out of the valley. And in geological terms, these are some of the youngest mountains in the Rockies meaning that that are much rougher looking as nature hasn’t had the time to wear them down smoother.
The setting at the base of the mountains is beautiful as well with the Snake River flowing right past the full range of the mountains. There are lakes, trees and meadows. Nice place for a picnic, eh?
We camped in the town of Jackson. It was the most expensive of our full timing adventures with a daily rate of over $60. But the campground was full every night so they really could command that kind of a price. The only consolation was that the other campground where we could have stayed wanted $89 a night. At least we were right in the town and could ride our bikes to the town square. At each corner of the Square there is an arch made of Elk Antlers (we are not sure who that other guy is that joined our picture). Jackson Valley or Jackson Hole as it is know is the home of a National Elk Refuge where thousands of Elk come down from the mountains to winter and to shed their annual growth of antlers.
The town Square is also the home of the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar where the bar stools are all genuine horse saddles and there are Silver Dollars embedded into the top of the bar. Every visitor to Jackson it seems goes in for a picture sitting at the bar in the saddle. We were no exception.
We also visited the largest of Jackson Hole’s ski areas. This mountain range also provides for a ski hill with one of the largest vertical drops in the US at over 4,000 feet on one of the smaller peaks in the range. For the summertime, they have fitted one of their chair lifts with bike carriers so that mountain bikers can take their bikes up the hill and ride trails down.