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Wheeling Solo on the Road: Grand Teton, WY

After going to bed early and getting 11 hours of sleep (thank youuuuu, blackout curtains), I was ready to head out to Grand Teton National Park. The drive east from Victor, ID took about 45 minutes, and the northbound turn took me past Teton Village and the ski resort of Jackson Hole. Being a former [intermediate] skier, it’s always odd for me to see ski slopes carved out of the tree line on a mountain without the snow. Anyway, after several miles of narrow and windy road, I finally entered the “meaty” portion of the park.

I should mention that Grand Teton isn’t huge by any means, as national parks go. The main visual draw is the dozen or so major peaks of the Teton range to the west. There’s a 45 mph loop around the park that only takes 1-2 hours to complete, depending on stops. I saw a ton of people on bicycles, and there’s a beautiful system of lakes and rivers at the base of the peaks that are popular with kayakers (I imagine). I took at least a million photos of the peaks because they’re just so stunning. I ended up staying in the car because I didn’t come across anything that seemed worth the effort to haul my scooter out of the trunk.

The east side of the park had a more mellow landscape, but I did get to see a huge herd of bison! Sadly I had nowhere safe to stop and take a picture. The view of the Teton range was more distant, but still beautiful with the grasses in the foreground.

As I left the park, my original intention was to loop back to Teton Village for a bite to eat and maybe some shopping before heading back to my hotel. I had to drive through the town of Jackson (interchangeable with Jackson Hole, it seems) before heading back west, but I ended up staying there. It is designed to look like an Old West town for skiers in the winter and outdoor enthusiasts in the summer–with all the touristy trappings that entails. I had to check it out.

After miraculously finding a decent place to park, I stopped to grab some lunch and enjoyed a delicious bison burger. After that, I headed out to see the town. To say Jackson, WY is not wheelchair friendly is an understatement. ALL the sidewalks are wooden, so it’s a really rough ride. At least half the shops and restaurants have a step to go inside. The curb drops at intersections are really rough. And some sidewalks that start with ramps to go up end up in stairs to go down. I was able to eat and do some shopping, but after all the turning around I had to do, the crazy late summer crowd, and the disappointment of not being able to enter so many stores, I decided it was time to head back to my hotel for more Olympics on TV and another good night’s sleep.

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