September 17, 2011

Second Night Out: Gros Ventre Campground

Young bull moose sparring at the Gros Ventre CG, Grand Teton National Park
On Thursday, Sept. 8, after breakfast and a little exploration of one corner of Colorado State Forest State Park, we continued north into Wyoming: Saratoga to Walcott  to Rawlins to Rock Springs to Pinedale (burger stop at the Wind River Brewing Co.)  to Jackson to Grand Teton National Park.

We passed our usual North Park campsite: Cowdrey Lake State Wildlife Area north of Walden, Colo. If you want the basics—a flat place to park, an outhouse, and a small lake in which to fish—it meets the bill.

North of Cowdrey, some volunteer firefighters and the Jackson County sheriff's office were dealing with a fresh one-minivan rollover wreck. M. is still talking about the luxuriant black handlebar mustache worn by one of the deputies. Very 1890s.

Once through Jackson, we took the road that leads to Kelly, Wyo., the hamlet closely described in Ted Kerasote's Merle's Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog.

Before Kelly, you pass by the Gros Ventre Campground, which the park's website describes as rarely filling—a good thing, since you cannot make a reservation.

Its 350 sites extend through a big grove of narrowleaf cottonwoods. A river runs through it.

The only downside we could see is that the campground is somewhat in the approach/departure corridor for aircraft using Jackson Hole Airport, the only commercial airport located in a national park.

As the sun peeked over the mountains, I got up to use the restroom and encountered moose—two young bulls alternately feeding and play-sparring.
Moose stalkers and bear-proof (or bear-resistant) dumpster.
As the two moose moved through the campground, they were stalked by early-rising photographers—from a safe distance.

On Friday morning, we ate breakfast, took a stroll through the campground, then packed up our pop-up camping trailer and continued north into the weird and the wonderful that is Yellowstone National Park.

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