I love Jackson, Wyoming! It’s one of my favorite towns in America, matched only by Moab, Utah or Homer, Alaska. It has such a variety of world-class activities in the area that it attracts adventurous people from everywhere in the country and from around the world. That means its streets and stores are full of every kind of people from older retired RVers to young adventurous mountain climbers, kayakers, rafters and mountain bikers. Of course it’s also one of the most beautiful towns in the world with the Grand Tetons just north of it and the Snake River so nearby. Being so popular does mean that the traffic and crush of people can be very annoying. I read some bloggers who hate it because of the traffic, and I can understand that reaction, but if you spend enough time there you learn the ins-and-outs of how to make it bearable. I’ve gotten so that I know it well enough that the traffic is just a minor annoyance compared to how much it has to offer.
I stocked up on groceries there and then headed to my campsite on Shadow Mountain which is in the Bridger Teton National Forest but you get to it through the Grand Teton NP. It is directly opposite of the Grand Tetons themselves making it quite simply the most beautiful campsite I’ve ever been in. I know that sounds like hyperbole, but this time it’s fully deserved! If you’ve been following my blog for long then you’ll recognize it as the same camp Judy and I stayed at last year when we were in the Tetons. Believe me, I’d be delighted to send a week there every year for the rest of my life!! To get a Wyoming Atlas from Amazon, go here: Benchmark Wyoming Road & Recreation Atlas
This year was very different than last year though. In 2014 we got there in late May and road up to that campsite was snowed in so we couldn’t get there. I was only about a week later than last year but 2014 had an extremely heavy snowfall and it stayed cold till very late in the spring. This year there wasn’t nearly as much snowfall and the spring was quite warm. So warm that when I got to the Grand Tetons there were many spring wildflowers in full bloom. I was delighted by that because I love taking photos of wildflowers with beautiful mountains in the background—it’s one of my favorite shots to take and you will see lots of them in this post.
As always I studied the area before I arrived, these are some of the guide books I recommend to the Grand Tetons. Follow the link to Amazon to purchase them:
Dirt Cheap Photo Guide to Grand Teton National Park
Photographer’s Guide to Yellowstone & the Tetons:
Grand Teton National Park – A Photographer’s Site Shooting Guide
The key to getting these shots of wildflowers looming in the foreground and the mountains in the background is something called “depth of field.” It’s possible on some point and shoot cameras but you really need the control of a DSLR. Normally you need a wide angle lens and set the F-stop up to F-16 or higher and manually set the focus closer than you would usually. Once you’ve learned how it is quite simple.
My campsite had a great Verizon 4g cell signal so I spent about 10 days camped there catching up on website work and going around taking the photos you see here. I was lucky in that there was very little traffic in the park and up on my mountain campsite. On weekdays I was usually alone but on the weekends more people would come in. Fortunately, the Grand Teton National Park is not terribly busy like Yellowstone National Park is, especially early in the season. Although Yellowstone is only 30 miles to the north, the traffic and crowds are terribly worse in it than the GTNP. I’ve come to hate Yellowstone because of its horrific traffic and I avoid it, but the Tetons are more of a “drive-through and snap a picture” type of place for most people. For me, it’s just the opposite, I want to spend time in the Tetons and spend as little time in Yellowstone as possible.
Here is a map to the campsite at the top of the photo. When you get back to the bottom of Shadow Mountain, there are two roads that go up it. You want to take the one by the large signpost with instructions on camping there.
After a week of catching up and taking pictures in the Tetons it was finally time to move on and get back to my terrible job with its 9-5 grind: driving and camping in the most beautiful places in the country and taking pictures and writing about it. It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it–the sacrifices I make for you my readers!
In my next post I’ll tell you all about my trip to Yellowstone National Park.