This week we’re posting a series of posts to celebrate National Park Week (April 15-23, 2017), America’s largest celebration of national heritage. Each post will feature one PSO team member and their favorite national park in a Q&A style format. Go Find Your Park! and enjoy free admission April 15/16 & 22/23!
Grand Teton National Park
What is your favorite NP?
Tough question, but when I think about it, I’d have to say my favorite is Grand Teton National Park!
What is it that makes this park so special for you?
It’s hard to put my finger on just one thing, but I can summarize it by simply saying, it’s the Wild Wild West, untouched, and an outdoorsman’s dream. Everything except for the few paved roads through the park and a sign here or there, seems like it’s been there since the beginning of time, unaltered, untouched, and completely natural, and the terrain varies quickly from the marshes, the river, the mountains, and the plains. There’s a little bit of everything in a small geographic area. I spent the majority of my childhood in Dallas TX and Nashville TN, and the entirety of my adulthood in Atlanta GA; compared to those cityscapes, the natural landscape of northwest Wyoming, particularly the Tetons against the Snake River and lush fields full of Bison, Elk, and Eagles, it’s just indescribable.
What are your favorite memories there?
I’ve only been one time, but it was unforgettable. I visited Grand Teton National Park in the mid-90’s, on a family vacation while I was in high school. We flew from Atlanta to Denver, then spent two weeks traversing through Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. It was an incredible trip, but the highlight of highlights was easily the time we spent in Grand Teton National Park. During our time there I camped, took in the majestic Tetons from every vantage point possible by foot, and scenic drive, got up close with wild buffalo, elk, bald eagles, and dozens of other wild animals. I went whitewater rafting down the Snake River where I was tossed from the raft on the “Big Kahuna” and got to ride through “Lunch Counter” on my back (dangerous, but so much fun!), horseback riding through the plains beneath the Tetons, and got to do lots of hiking too.
What else do you want people to know about your favorite National Park?
Named for its infamous snow-capped, craggy peaks, Grand Teton National Park, along with neighboring Yellowstone National Park, is frequently called the “Serengeti of North America.” It’s nestled in the northwest corner of Wyoming, very close to Jackson Hole WY, and is full of wildlife, breath-taking views, a variety of different terrain, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure and recreation. I would say, if you only get to visit 1 or 2 National Parks in the U.S. in your lifetime, Grand Teton must be one of them.