In the last entry I mentioned that we didn't have a campground
reservation on either side of the Teton Range for the rest of this week.
That was risky but it worked out OK this time.
When we got to Driggs,
ID on the west side of the mountains we
checked out the Reunion Flat National Forest Service campground across
the state line in Wyoming. We've stayed there previously and wanted to see if any suitable sites were available
-- yes, so we're here for a few days.
Jim relaxes in our shady
This is our sixth time at Reunion Flat -- 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2011 for the
Grand Teton ultra-distance trail runs, 2013 because I love to hike and Jim likes to
ride his bike around here, and now. We've occupied the same el primo
site, shown above, every time.
There are several great trails to hike in the nearby Jedediah Smith
Wilderness on the west side of the Tetons. Dogs and horses are allowed
on them; they aren't allowed on trails on the other (national park)
side of the mountains.
There are also some nice trails in the nearby Grand Targhee ski area,
although they are also open to mountain bikers and I don't like that so
much. We were surprised to see so many vehicles with bike racks at the
trailhead a mile into the canyon road this morning. There are probably
more bikes on the nearby non-wilderness trails than hikers, runners, or
Above and below: "back side" (view
from west) of Teton peaks from Teton Canyon Rd.
Jim tried to find out online if our favorite site at Reunion Flat was
reserved any days from now till Sunday. We could reserve only on Sunday
online, and it said the other days were "walk in only." Jim couldn't
tell for sure if the site was reserved before that and possibly occupied
We decided to check it out and if we couldn't get that or
another suitable site, we'd continue on to Grand Teton National Park on
the east side today and try our luck there.
Another view of three prominent Teton peaks from Teton Canyon Rd.
Jim parked the camper along the street in Driggs that becomes Ski Hill
Rd. and we drove the car about eight miles to the campground. No one was
camped in any of the four individual sites or the three group areas and
our favorite site had an "open" sign on it. Yes!!
The CG host was gone. We put our name and date on the post at the site
we wanted and left a note on the host's door, letting him know we wanted
the site for five days. We drove back into town to get the truck and
Cameo, then back to the campground. Jim wanted to check e-mail while he
was in town so I left first and sat at our new site for a few minutes
until he got there.
I'm glad I left town when I did. On
the way out to the campground the second time I was thrilled to see a
small black bear cross paved Ski Hill Road about 1/3 mile before I
reached Teton Canyon Road:
By the time Jim passed this spot a few minutes later the bear was gone.
We've seen only one bear here before and it was on the Teton Canyon
Trail several years ago. Jim spotted it first, across a creek. There was also
a bear at the end of that trail one of the first years we were here.
Another hiker coming from that direction warned me. Cody was
aware of it (hair up, nose frantically smelling the air) but I didn't
We've seen moose along the canyon road -- and plenty of
free-range cows -- but we didn't see any moose this week, just
They'll move, eventually. I just stop or creep up
slowly on them
so they do move. I don't think it's nice to
honk the horn.
When Jim got to the campground with the Cameo he filled the tank with fresh water,
then backed into the site. It's an easy one to get into, which is
one of many reasons we like it so much. After we got set up we ate lunch and
The CG host came back after lunch and said we could have the site as
long as we want! We lucked out.
The campground will probably be open until the end of the month because
it's still so warm. This is Chris' first time hosting here and he loves
it. I think there has been a different host each time we've been there.
Jim asked if there's a wedding this weekend. No, but there have been
three already this summer and another is scheduled on the 18th. No
events are booked while we're here. That's good news, too.
There was a wedding when we were here two years ago. It was interesting
but there were an awful lot of people, noise, and loose dogs and children
running around that weekend when two young National Forest Service workers
We just love this campsite. There's a great view of Table Mountain,
the peak of Grand Teton -- the one that looks like a shark fin
-- and South Teton's peak from our bay window, and we can see people
coming and going from the campground.
View out our bay window to Grand Teton's and South
Zoomed in on the Teton peaks; flat-topped Table
Mountain is marked with an arrow.
There are no hookups in this campground. The sun is on the off-door side
and front cap, so the door side is mostly shaded. Although we're
surrounded by tall pines and spruce trees we get enough sun on the solar
panels to keep the batteries powered most of the day (we had glorious sunshine every day we
were here). There are no restrictive
generator hours, just quiet hours from 10 PM to 6 AM.
We can use one of the nearby bathrooms if we need to, and if we run
out of water Jim can easily get more by running two hoses across the
road to a threaded spigot.
The cost is still $6/night with our senior National Park Service passes ($12
regular rate with no pass). Jim paid the CG host $30 for five nights.
We'll go over to the east side of the Tetons on Monday, hoping there are
more sites at Gros Ventre Campground then.
Above and below: "fiery" sunset this evening (just clouds, not
In the middle of the afternoon an older couple came in with a tiny
camper and parked across from us. No one else came in to camp while we were
here this week. There are only four individual RV or tent sites and three group
areas in Reunion Flat.
Another Forest Service campground at the end of the canyon road has 30+ sites.
It's nice but if we stayed there we'd have to drive two more miles of rough
road with the camper in each direction, plus with the truck or car every
time we go down to Driggs. Most of the sites at that campground are too
small for our rig and there are always more people there. Folks with kids
would like that campground but we much prefer Reunion Flat.
ACTIVITIES THIS WEEK
Each day Jim played
ball with Casey and rode her with the bike several miles in the
campground or in Driggs. He went into town each
day to get online since we don't have a signal at the campground. He
doesn't like to ride with her on Teton Canyon Rd. because some
inconsiderate people drive too fast and raise a lot of dust on the
I also took the dogs on walks by the little creek next to our site (next
two pictures) and down to South Teton Creek on the other side of the
campground. There wasn't time to hike on the trails up at the ski area
Above and below: not much water in the little
creek but it's a wet, shady haven for the dogs
On Friday we drove
up to the Grand Targhee Ski Resort at the top end of Ski Hill Road. Jim
got out and rode his bike about twelve miles down the paved road to Driggs.
This is a gorgeous
section of road, especially going downhill when you can see more of the
mountain and valley scenery. I took these photos from an overlook that
gives people one of the best views of the main Teton peaks and Alaska
Basin from anywhere in the area:
Farther down the road
I came up behind Jim at the curve where I saw the bear on our first day
at Reunion Flat:
No bear this time.
Jim was disappointed he didn't get to see it.
Jim continued riding
down to Driggs to the grocery parking lot where I parked the car. We ate lunch and bought some produce and baked goods at a very nice farmers' market
near the grocery. We were pleased to find a larger
percentage of unusual, high-quality food items and arts/crafts than some
farmers' markets we've attended in much larger towns and cities around
Artisan breads and baked goods in one booth, fresh
cheese, pork, and lamb in another
I had the Chicken Tikka Masala & Rice (yum!) for
Jim got a big hamburger at another booth.
Afterwards Jim rode
back to Reunion Flat for a total of 20 miles (plus another couple miles in the
campground with Casey).
When he got to Teton
Canyon Road he tried out a relatively new two-mile section of multi-use
trail that parallels the road but is far enough away from it to escape the
dust and traffic:
I meant to hike it but never did get 'round to it . . .
I'll have separate
entries re: my very long hike on Thursday in the Jedediah Smith
Wilderness (west side of the Tetons) and a day trip over to the national
park on Saturday.
Next entry: scenic 22½-mile
hike through Alaska Basin via the Teton Crest, Devil's Staircase, and Teton Shelf trails
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
Cody the ultra Lab, and Casey-pup
© 2015 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil