Wyoming's Gros Ventre MountainsWyoming's Gros Ventre Mountains frame the southeastern end of Jackson Hole. Jackson Hole used to just refer to the level meadows just outside Jackson, but in time it has come to identify the entire upper Snake River Valley. Gros Ventre means "big belly" I am told.
On Saturday May 20, 2006 I left the Dubois area about 1:30 pm and arrived at Colter Bay on Jackson Lake in Grand Teton National Park in a steady rain. I'd hoped to have an evening dinner above an Otter pond, but steady rain and then hail made me reconsider and I drove the old "RKO" road on the west side of the Snake River from Signal Mountain down to the old Bar BC Ranch. I saw Buffalo calves laying out in the rain across the snake with many Elk. One Bald Eagle flew down river as I approached his snag. Tehre were a few Pelicans, Sandhill Cranes, and many Canadian Geese. I was to early in the evening to see Moose here.
After the 15 mile bumpy and in two places 4WD road I drove to Dornan's in Moose for a bite to eat and then on through Jackson and slept in the back of my pickup on Granite Creek in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Sunday morning I awoke to clearing skies and the roar of Granite Creek. I ran out of photos on the digital, I wish I could have shown you the green mud of Granite Creek flowing into the brown torrent of the Hoback River. The southern approaches of the Gros Ventre Range melt out much earlier than almost any other high country I know of in northwestern Wyoming. With a week of work in unseasonably warm temperatures behind me I was hoping I could walk much of the southern climb of the Granite Hi-Line trail. In the end I didn't need my snowshoes aside from a short jaunt on the crest. The melt was on, and so were the views.
A few notes about this trail: It is not named well, it is composed of silts and clays that turn to slime with a bit of moisture. Aong with Cliff Creek across the Hoback River Valley this is also about as fine a wildflower hike you will ever find. The Forest Service has quite a bit of clearing to do on this trail if they ever get to it.