June 21 - Victor to Jackson via Teton Pass

Trail Creek CG to Gros Ventres CG NPS near Jackson ID
77 miles
6500 elevation
N43.613; W110.671
Weather: Mixed sun and clouds. Nice day.

Camped at Gros Ventres CG (NPS) near Jackson but on south edge of Grand Teton NP. $11.50

Highlights from Day:
Teton Pass… Wow. Now there’s a mountain pass. No wimpy 6% grades here. No Sir. It’s quite a climb. Long 10%+ grades on both sides and it summits out at over 7,300 feet. But truck, complete with camper, gear, and two explorers, handled it fine. We didn’t go up as fast as a diesel pickup would… or come down as fast as many with diesels do… but it was a respectable showing for a naturally aspirated gas engine at 7,300 feet.

Jackson is a bustling town both summer (Grand Teton National Park visitors) and winter (skiers and other winter sports types). Might be a little less busy during spring and fall… don’t know for sure. The place reminds me somewhat of other tourist destinations (Gatlinburg comes to mind) but this one seems to have more of a heart for some reason.

Gotta love the America the Beautiful Senior Pass. Right through the gates of Grand Teton National Park and saved $25 as we did it. But considering the big bubble of baby-boomers about to hit their mid-60s, you gotta wonder how long it can last.

Got a very knowledgeable guy at the Inter-agency Visitor Center in Jackson who had a bunch of tips of what to see and what to avoid… kind of the insiders view of the area. At least, that’s how we felt. He was very helpful and fun to interact with. We’ve got a lot to choose from in the next few days.

We snagged a campsite in the Gros Ventres CG just a few miles outside of Jackson and on the southern edge of the National Park. For future reference, it’s pronounced “grow-von’” with the accent on the second syllable. Supposed to be a French word meaning “big valley”. I don’t think I’ll get into how the name “Grand Tetons” came about. Will save that for another day or you can Google it if you’d prefer. (link)

The campground is large (something like 350 campsites) among a bunch of Cottonwood trees along the Gros Ventres River. We’ve found campgrounds in National Parks to be wanting… for space, for level-ness, for solitude… but this one is perhaps slightly better than others we’ve seen and stayed in. As with many other compromises in life, location often trumps other needs.

Since the truck camper has no shower we’re looking for said facilities every couple days. Our plan has been to use campground showers when available and motels for a night here and there when we need to. But in Jackson we hit on another idea (actually provided by the knowledgeable guy in the visitor center)... the local Recreation Center. Often these facilities offer daily rates for folks travelling through, and that’s exactly what we found in Jackson. The top-notch facility there… with swimming pools, hot tubs, gyms, workout room and equipment… has daily rates for $7 per day. One could shower early in the morning, go out and do a vigorous hike or climb, and return in the evening for a second shower… all for the 7 buck fee. We took advantage of this a couple times.

Weather has been great. 70s during day, 40s at night. Good sleeping weather.

A few pics from the day...

Teton Pass summit. 8400 ft.
10% downgrade with 20 mph tight curves for next 5 miles.

The Grand Tetons

Campsite at Gros Ventres CG in the National Park.

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