Leaving Couer d’Alene Idaho I had no idea where I was going next except I was heading east. After my emotional episode in CDA I thought about just driving home. I also knew Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park were very close to me. The drive from CDA to Missoula Montana was beautiful. The drive felt more like I was in a National Park than just being on Interstate 90. Snow capped mountains draped with dark green trees rose on both sides of the road.
After arriving in Missoula Montana, I still didn’t know whether I was going to continue on I-90 east or head down into Wyoming to Yellowstone and the Tetons. Several folks in the campground told me some roads in Yellowstone and the Tetons are not open yet and the campgrounds are still closed. This information surprised me since we are now in the first week of May. Sure enough, the road I planned to drive between Yellowstone and the Tetons is still closed through mid May and the campgrounds don’t open until mid May.
I really wanted to see the Tetons. Yellowstone is incredible, a bizarre landscape filled with geysers and scintillating multi-colored boiling hot spring pools that makes you feel you are on another planet. The Tetons are magnificent. The Teton Range is perhaps the most beautiful mountain range in America. The Tetons are relatively young mountains, only seven million years old. These mountains have not been worn down by wind and erosion as much as other mountain ranges. Most of the Rockies are 70 million years old, and the Appalachians are over 300 million years old. The Tetons are spectacular as they rise dramatically over 7000 feet from the valley floor.
I’ve been to the Tetons and Yellowstone five times, three times as a kid with my family, and twice on bike tours with Timberline Adventures. The last time I was there was in 2007 during a Timberline bicycle tour traveling from Lordsburg NM to Jasper Canada. We had only two rest days on that 43 day tour. One rest day was in the Tetons. Even during that layover day I rode for several hours through Teton National Park. I thought to keep moving and not break the cycling routine would be a good idea. The second layover day on that grand tour is where I am now, the town of Missoula Montana. I did rest that day.
Looking online, I learned that Coulter Bay Village is opening on May 11th. Coulter Bay is the main campground in the Tetons. Most of the summer is already booked solid. The opening day and week of the season there were sites available so I quickly booked four nights there. I am thinking that the bathrooms will be very clean since I will be the first person there. May 11th is still a week away, so I am going to spend four nights in Jackson, the ski resort town just south of the Tetons.
I’m really excited about seeing the Tetons again. The Grand Tetons was my mother’s all time favorite place. I still remember staying in Coulter Village when I was a kid with my parents and sister and brother in a tent. I like to think my Mom will be looking down from the heavens when I stay in the Tetons and remember the times we spent there almost 50 years ago.