Floating in Grand Teton National Park

Family has always been a priority for David and for me. One of the many advantages of fulltiming is our flexible schedule and our ability to be anywhere at any time. Our lifestyle has allowed us to be available when our family has needed us. For the past six weeks, we have been helping our daughter and son-in-law with their move into a new house that they purchased this summer in Portland, OR. They are both working full time and have little free time so they asked if we could come and lend a hand. David and I helped them get the house ready for the move, packed and unpacked boxes, and completed several projects after they settled in. Fortunately, they hired movers to move the boxes and the heavy furniture. We were thrilled to be able to be here and assist them and hope that we made this transition a bit smoother for them. During the same period of time, I learned that my mother needed to have eye surgery so I flew back to N. C. to take her to the surgery and to be with her for a while before and after the procedure. Thankfully everything went well and she is recovering nicely. Needless to say, David and I have been very busy these past few weeks and have had no time to write and publish our blog. Things have settled down now so we hope to post our blogs in a more timely fashion moving forward.

I spoke too soon. After writing this post, David and I both got COVID. We had managed to avoid it for almost two years but it finally found us. We were able to get our doctors to prescribe Paxlovid and that helped us recover more quickly. We are still feeling some of the effects but overall we are doing fine now.

Marina Closed for the Entire Season

Prior to making a beeline to Portland, we spent nine days in Grand Teton National Park, one of our favorites. We have been there several times before. It is an amazing park and we always find new places to explore and new things to do there. The last time were were in Wyoming, we had not purchased our inflatable kayak yet. Since the purchase, we have kayaked a number of times in Alaska, Oregon, Florida, and Arizona. We were looking forward to getting out on the water in Grand Teton National Park as well.

There are lots of places that you can canoe or kayak in the National Park but you must have two permits before you are allowed to venture out on the water. The first is the a National Park permit which costs $17 and you can purchase it at either Colter Bay Visitor Center or at the Craig Discovery and Visitor Center. The other one is a Wyoming permit called the Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) permit that costs $5 for residents and $15 for non-residents. You can acquire it online or at the local fishing gear stores. You must also have the boat inspected at the park entrances at either Moose or Moran. After the inspection, they will give you a decal that you have to display on your boat. Note that if your inflatable kayak is less than 10 feet long, you are not required to have the permit or get it inspected. Once we secured out two permits and had our inspection decal, we were ready to go kayaking.

Our first kayaking adventure was to String Lake. This body of water is long and skinny and is located at the base of the Teton mountain range. Is also a very popular site for swimming, picnicking, and hiking too. When we arrived, all the parking lots were packed. It was impossible to find a parking spot so we decided to go checkout some other places in the park and return later in the day. While we were away, a fierce thunderstorm barreled through. It was intense and it had some hail as well. This is not unusual for this time of year. When we returned to String Lake after the storm had passed, there were far fewer people there and we found a parking place near the canoe and kayak put in area. We spent the next few hours paddling around the lake and looking up at the impressive Teton Mountains. There were still plenty of people swimming, paddle boarding, and kayaking but there were not too many.

From String Lake, you can portage a short distance to another much larger lake called Leigh Lake. We heard that one couple who was over there got caught in the storm. They had to get out of the lake and wait until the storm passed. We did not go over to Leigh Lake this time but we did have a wonderful time exploring String Lake. Maybe next time…

On our way back to Colter Bay campground that evening, we spotted an elk near Signal Mountain Lodge. What a sight!

Our second kayaking adventure was with our good friends Kyle and Michelle Shore of the Wandering Shores. We had met them in Quartzsite, AZ and had kayaked a part of the Colorado River with them. We found out that they were in the area and they wanted to kayak a section of the Snake River. We were excited about doing that too. It was possible since we had two vehicles. We could put in at one site and take out at another farther down the river.

There are several stretches of the Snake River that people like to kayak or canoe or raft. The difficulty level varies from Beginner Level with mainly calm water to Advanced with Class III rapids. Given that we were in inflatable kayaks and the water level was low, we decided to stick to the Beginner Level section of the river. It is a 5-mile scenic float that start at the Jackson Lake Dam and ends at the Pacific Creek Landing. We met at the Dam and, after shuttling a vehicle to Pacific Creek Landing, we took off.

The water was moving rather quickly at the Dam but slowed down in other places. Overall it was a restful and peaceful float. We enjoyed being out on the water and seeing the wildlife along the way. There were lots of water fowl and we also saw a river otter who stopped by to check us out. Our route took us near the famed Oxbow Bend where we had an extraordinary view of the Teton Mountains and the glacier carved valley. It was great fun to kayak the Snake River and to get to experience this with our friends made it even more special. Thanks Kyle and Michelle!

We are very blessed to have such a wonderful family and good friends and to have the opportunity to spend time with them and to get to explore such beautiful places. After fulltiming for over five years now, we are still loving our lifestyle and are thankful for the opportunities it affords us.

8 thoughts on “Floating in Grand Teton National Park

  1. Good to see an update from you two. Sorry about the Covid, but glad to hear you’re okay. Paul had it recently too, but by taking every measure we could in an RV, I managed to avoid it! Take care, we miss you guys.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Our kayak is a Sea Eagle. I believe it is a model 370. It is their least expensive one. I am not sure how long it is but it is fairly long since it holds 2-3 people. It is very stable but not very fast. Perfect for us 🙂


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