So Glad to Get to Jackson
If our first day in Yellowstone was the day of the bison, the second belonged to elk. We saw them everywhere, but our best sighting was on our way to the Grand Tetons and Jackson, as we left the park. There was a large Bull Elk right next to the road on the passenger side. Kerry pulled over and we watched as it sauntered across the road in front of other cars, looking at all of us like, “you DO realize that this is MY park and you humans are just visiting?” Buoyed by that close encounter, we took in the majesty of the Grand Tetons. Once again, it awed me how much the landscape changed in the short time we drove south. It was really just a slow hour and a half drive to get to the Grand Tetons and the landscape shifted to more open golden plains dotted with sage grass, with the dramatic peaks of the Tetons beyond.
Jackson Hole was a welcome back to civilization since we were without cell or internet access for the four days that we were there. The town was just as charming as I had expected, with rustic log buildings and small-town streets. We loved the Buckrail Lodge, where we stayed. It was motel-like, but each room had log siding and was charming and very clean. We had chairs to sit outside, have a cocktail and soak in the late day sun. It had a hot tub and a very private spot, surrounded by trees, but we were just a couple blocks from town.
Since we were in Wyoming, wild game capital, I was determined to sample some of the local wildlife. (You know, when in Rome.) We were told that the Gun Barrel was the spot with the tastiest game in town, literally. It was a large restaurant, complete with log sides inside and out and stuffed game EVERYWHERE (as you might imagine.) When we finally got the attention of our waiter, we ordered the mixed game platter to share, which included Elk Tenderloin, Bison Porterhouse and Venison Bratwurst. It was a huge portion so we were glad to share and it was all divine! I expected it to taste a little more gamey or foreign, but that wasn’t the case. The Elk tasted very beef-like, but a little sweeter and the bison was a more full-flavored beefy flavor. The Venison sausage just tasted like excellent, spicy sausage. We drank all of that with a Russian River Zinfandel and I was a very happy woman.
The next day we decided to head back to the Grand Tetons and go for a hike. We drove through Teton Village, where there are very swanky ski homes, up to the trail head that leads to Phelps Lake. It was, big surprise, another uphill hike, which our legs were complaining about. The trail was lined with sweet-smelling wildflowers and peekaboo vistas of the mountains beyond, and that was a distraction. The view at the top, of Phelps Lake and the Tetons was just stunning so we sat, ate pistachios, and just took it in.
Leaving there, we came across a baby owl sitting on a fence next to the rough dirt road. It actually let me come close enough to get a couple good photos of it and check it out up close. I haven’t seen many full-grown owls, let alone a tiny one. Amazing!
After that 5.5 mile hike, we headed to one of the two restaurants in Moose Village, Dornan’s for pizza with a view of the Tetons. We sat outside, basking in the sun, and ate our thin-crust pizza with four cheeses and a sundried tomato pesto and a spinach salad, accompanied by Moose Drool beer on tap, of course.