Another work week passed, busy as usual. Overall, we have have really nice guests, but as anyone who has worked in the retail, service, or hospitality industries knows, there are always those few. I really try not to let the grumpy ones get to me, even though it is hard. One thing working in these positions has taught me, though, is to take all reviews I read with a healthy grain of salt. I rely heavily on two different forums for reviews while traveling, rvparkreviews.com and tripadvisor.com. I like to know what folks are saying about the areas I am traveling to, and the things to do as well as places to eat ;-). Here at Luton's we are very proud of our five star rating, and work very hard to maintain that rating. It can be very aggravating to receive a less than stellar review, especially when the complaints are either not valid or arise from someone who is disgruntled about one thing or another. A valid concern is always addressed immediately upon our being made aware of the problem. When we get complaints about things like how much road work is in the area, or that the wildlife is hard to find, I just shake my head...what can you say?? In the meantime, we are very proud to be working at such a wonderful establishment, and take comfort in the fact that we do our best every day to ensure a satisfactory guest experience for all of our guests. So when I read reviews of campgrounds, restaurants or activities in a spot we are traveling to, I really try to look at the overall feeling of the reviews, and if there's only a small percentage of not-so-good reviews amidst plenty of good ones, I have to figure that as an outlier!
Enough about work! Dan and Jonell joined us again here in the Tetons for a day of exploring the park. Arriving early in the morning, we met them in the park and we proceeded to take a leisurely driving tour. Our first destination was Signal Mountain, a five mile drive to the top of, you guessed it, Signal Mountain.
Folks unable to do a strenuous hike up a mountain find beautiful views from atop the summit. The view to the west shows the Teton Range across Jackson Lake. The name is derived from the search from a missing business man in the area in 1890, Robert Ray Hamilton, who ran a lodge nearby with his business partner, John Dudley Sargent. Search parties were organized and instructions given to light a signal fire atop the mountain when he was found. he was found a week later, his body floating in the Snake River. Although never convicted, it was suspected that his partner had murdered him. So even though there is a cell tower located at the summit, that is not the reason for the name Signal Mountain!
We stopped at several overlooks on the scenic Teton Park Road, which follows the base of the Teton range from Jackson Junction all the way to Moose, 21 miles away. Just before the Moose Junction, we turned off onto a side road called the Moose-Wilson Road, heading for the LSR Preserve to do a short hike. Along the way, we spotted this female moose in one of the many ponds alongside the road. You can't see it in this picture, but she was protecting her baby in front of her. There wasn't any place to pull over to get a better picture, and there was a lot of cars, so we couldn't just stop in the road.
Upon our arrival at the LSR Preserve, we found a line of cars waiting to get into the parking area. Not good! There was a ranger handing out information, and said there was a wait of 8 vehicles in front of us for a parking space, and it could be quite awhile. We decided not to wait, and headed back out, thinking we would try the trail head at Death Canyon....yes, I know, a horrible name but a beautiful trail :-). That parking area was also jam-packed with cars, so we did the next best thing to going for a hike; we went to lunch! Dan has been wanting to go to the Pizza and Pasta restaurant at Dornan's, a popular area in Moose. After ordering our lunch, we headed up to the outdoor patio on the upper level to wait for our food. I have to say, lunch was very good. Al and I split a baked brie with raspberry jalapeno compote, then I had an individual pizza while Al had a meatball sub. It was so good, I could eat that brie dish every day!! The view was quite nice as well, don't you think?
After dawdling over lunch and drinks for awhile, we drove to one more scenic spot before Dan and Jonell headed home; Schwabacher's Landing.
There's a short walk along the shore of the Snake River, with multiple spots for fantastic views of the Teton Range.
Its also a great spot for wildlife spotting, although the only thing we spotted that afternoon was a beaver!
Schwabacher's Landing is one of my favorite sights.No matter what season, it is beautiful.
That pretty much rounded out our day, and we said our fond farewells to Dan and Jonell. No worries, though, they will be making an appearance again in my next blog :-).
The next day was promising to be a rainy afternoon, so we loaded up our bicycles and headed out in the morning to the bicycle path that runs along a section of the Teton Park Road. Its the first time we've taken out the bicycles since we left Florida! We figured we really did need to do some riding, to justify bringing them along with us ;-).
there is definitely some nice views to look at as we biked along.
The trail does run right alongside the road.
After about 2 1/2 miles of mostly uphill pedaling, against the rather strong wind that was blowing, I was ready to turn around....no sense overdoing it!
We crossed over Cottonwood Creek...
where I found a nice picture of some of the many wildflowers blooming alongside the trail. We rode a total of 5 miles, and we have vowed to ride more often and get the mileage up higher before we leave for the season.
One night we went out to eat for dinner with our friends Larry and Elaine. There's a small place close to the ranch called the Buffalo Valley Cafe at the Heart Six Ranch. The menu, and the restaurant, is small, but it's really good. After eating, we went for a wildlife spotting expedition, riding up Buffalo Valley Road into the Bridger-Teton National Forest. No bears, but we did spot this young mule deer sporting his new set of antlers.
It was a great night for a drive.
That's about it for this entry. We are fully booked now here at the ranch, and I am fielding several calls a day looking for a place to stay. It is very busy in the Parks, and not really too advisable to come without a reservation to stay, but plenty of people are doing just that. It is really nice to see the interest in visiting these beautiful parks. Visitor count to Yellowstone National Park through June 1 was up 24% from last year. It does make it harder to get around, but hopefully visitors realize what a treasure these parks are and more people will see the need for preserving our lands.
Our next adventure will be a beautiful hike to waterfalls in Yellowstone National Park. We also have our friends Jim and Judy arriving next Sunday for a week, then some of our family is coming for a visit as well. We are surely in tour guide mode now!