Island Park, ID

After having spent a total of 8 days in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, we took a short break in Island Park, ID,  When exiting YNP through the west entrance you immediately pass through the town of West Yellowstone, Montana.  This visit to Montana doesn’t last long, however, since Highway 20 turns south and you enter Idaho and very shortly come to Island Park.

There’s not really much of a town but there is a nearby lake and plenty of fishing and hunting opportunities.  We parked for 3 nights at the Sawtelle Mountain Resort where we once again had full hookups and WiFi service.  This gave us some time to catch up on email, blog posts, organize photos, do some laundry and clean the motorhome inside and out.  It was a pleasant and productive stopover.

Next up:  Idaho Falls, ID

Yellowstone National Park

Yes, Yellowstone National Park (pics) is home to Old Faithful, but it is so much more than that.  As most people know, Old Faithful is not the most spectacular or the oldest or the biggest geyser in YNP but it is one of the biggest that is most predictable, erupting approximately every 60 to 90 minutes.  Old Faithful is located in the Upper Geyser Basin which is part of the most active area of the park in terms of thermal features.

Old Faithful Inn - Upper Geyser Basin

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Grand Teton National Park

The Teton mountain range is somewhat unique in that it looks very different from the western side versus the eastern side.  The western side has rolling foothills which fits our picture of most mountain ranges.  On the eastern side, when the mountains were thrust upward, the eastern plane dropped leaving dramatic sheer cliffs extending some 6 to 7,000 feet above the plane that extends from its foot.

Grand Tetons from Colter Bay

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Teton Pass

From Ashton, ID we headed southeast in order to go around the southern end of the Teton range and to enter the Grand Teton National Park from just north of the town of Jackson, WY.  Highway 33 carried us from Idaho into Wyoming and across the Teton Pass which tops out at 8,431 feet and affords beautiful views of the surrounding Wyoming countryside.

10% downgrade for 5 miles

The problem is that on the eastern descent from the pass, the highway has a 10% grade that extends relentlessly for 5 miles.  On board a 24,000 pound motorhome with a 2,000 pound car pushing from behind made this a challenge I hadn’t bargained for.  Taking advice from the highway signs advising truckers to use a low gear and keep their speed under 25 MPH, we make the descent in second gear and attempted to keep our speed in line with the advice.  With the help of a couple of stops at large pull-outs along the way we made it down safely but with the telltale smell of brakes that got a little hot.

On to Grand Teton National Park.