Our amazement turned to giggles (what are we, six years old …?) when we learned how The Grand Tetons were named. French trappers called the mountains “Les Trois Tetons,” which means the “The Three Breasts.” Grand Teton literally means “the big tit.” Boob lovers, unite!
Teton Valley ID is just across the border from Alta WY, and we spent a week in this area on both sides of the border (no passport needed), getting our fill of gorgeous scenery (Grand Tetons!), terrific live music (Targhee Music Festival!) and really bad potato puns (Spud Drive-In).
Alta, Wyoming is tiny (population: 511) but what it lacks in warm bodies, it makes up for in adorable log cabins, B&B’s, and charming abodes.
Tiny Swiss chalet, anyone?
Love the sentiment, and Philip is considering it for his next tattoo.
Even the playhouse (or is it a doghouse?) makes you want to let out a yodel.
Alta is the location of the Grand Targhee ski area, and a series of highly-regarded summer music festivals. We attended the 14th Annual Targhee Fest, which is fixated on “great music and the culture and lifestyle of the mountains.”
The setting of Targhee Fest could not be any more idyllic, nestled in the pines at the base of the lift.
For many, Targhee Fest is an annual pilgrimage, and the parking lots and surrounding fields were dotted with every kind of RV and camper, since you are welcome to “dry camp” here.
The sloping mountains provide a natural ampitheatre and unobstructed viewing for everyone.
We called this Hammock Junction and it’s where all the little kids hung out.
It’s a very easygoing, come-as-you-are type festival. Some people take that to heart.
I don’t know when hula-hooping at concerts became “a thing,” but there were at least 6 hula-hoopers going at all times. Mysteriously, not kids, mostly middle-aged women.
One small stage at the base of the hill hosted a variety of bands for three full days. The music echoed up the mountain. You could easily get right up close to throw your panties at the artists you loved.
Our two new favorites (soooo addicted …. check them out!!):
Rhiannon Giddens (pictured below)
If you don’t fall head over heels for her rendition of Patsy Cline’s “She’s Got You,” then all I can say is there’s something wrong with you!
In between sets, take the ski lift to the top of the mountains and watch the (young, crazy, fearless) mountain bikers ride the steep, steep grade down the hill. Eeeeeek! Could you do this?
Bikes get their very own lift chairs.
Our “trophy” hike in the Alta area was the “Darby Canyon Wind Cave” hike.
Below, Philip points to where we’re headed! (This is after 2 hours of hiking to get to this point alone.)
Getting closer … the waterfall spills out of the mouth of the cave and cascades down below.
Closer still …. climbing the extremely steep rocks up to the bottom of the main waterfall.
Made it to the waterfall! Can you spot Tiny Philip? Getting drenched just so I can have a photo?
Leaving the bottom of the waterfall, we hiked up to the mouth of the cave. Here, water cascades out and it is difficult to portray how fast that water is moving and how slippery the rocks are!
Looking back down into Darby Canyon and taking a much-needed break.
Another great hike was into the “Alaska Basin.” Nobody (including Google) could explain why it was the Alaska Basin, and not the Wyoming Basin, but I digress.
Horses are able to use this trail as well.
Blue skies, puffy clouds, soaring mountains, tall trees, green meadows, wildflowers, a meandering stream, snow, and a handsome hiker … everything wonderful, all in one photo!
It was exciting to find snow this late in the season (without scaling the Grand Teton peak, of course).
Our remote accommodations in Teton Canyon Campground were reached by an extremely rutted dirt road and had no hookups … not electricity, water, sewer, cable, or even cell service. Our favorite kind of camping!
Being far from everything, the night skies at the campground were spectacular.
Back in town (Driggs, ID), “The Spur” was purportedly the first drive-in movie theater in the U.S. to go digital..
But more importantly, it was super-adorable!!
This is the land of “seed potato” farms, hence, the name.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I hereby present …..
the most perfect and thorough use of Potato Puns known to man. Enjoy!
Every road through Eastern Idaho is chock-full of gorgeous, sweeping views.
Also, pretty much every Idaho vehicle looks like some variation of this.
Everyone drives a truck, and every truck is constantly loaded with kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddleboards, mountain bikes, dirt bikes, folding chairs, coolers …. Idaho’ans are ready for outdoor fun at any instant!
Along the way to Teton Valley, we stopped off in Challis and visited the Bayhorse Ghost Town, an abandoned mining camp which has been lovingly preserved by Idaho State Parks. While not of the level of the most amazing ghost town we’ve seen (#1: the don’t-miss Bannock State Park in Dillon, MT), it was pretty cool to imagine the hard-scrabble life “back in the day”!
We are happy to move on to Jackson, as we have had to endure SO MANY traffic jams here in Idaho 😉
Idaho and Wyoming have definitely won our hearts with their breathtaking scenery and cool temps!
A couple more weeks to go on this summer’s adventure, and hoping for more of the same as we continue to journey on! Next up, a return trip to Jackson, WY!