Church Trip 2023

Lander, Wind River Range, Jackson, Grand Teton National Park

Day 8

Today is the eighth day of our 2023 journeys in the west, and our first full day in Wyoming. We spent the majority of our time on the road, but still managed to see some great scenery.

Morning Driving

Well before sunrise, we dragged ourselves out of bed, left our hotel in Rawlins, and began driving NNW on US-287 towards Lander. It was a chilly morning, and there were patches of frost on the ground. Along the way, we witnessed a gorgeous prairie sunrise, and watched both deer and antelope playing in the fields by the roadside.

While I’m on the subject, here are some facts about antelope… First, to clarify, they are technically pronghorn, not antelope. Pronghorn are the second fastest land animal in the world (behind the cheetah), and are more closely related to giraffes than to deer or other ungulates.  Although slower than cheetahs, they can sustain their top speeds for much longer, running lightning-fast for up to 45 minutes.


After a little less than two hours on the road, we arrived in Lander, WY – the gateway town to Wyoming’s famed Wind River Reservation and mountain range. We stopped for breakfast at Lincoln Street Bakery, a local bakery with a variety of pastries and breakfast staples. To quench our ever-growing hunger, we got a sampling of baked goods, including German apple cake, banana bread, and a blueberry turnover. We also tried a sample of their whole-wheat sourdough, the bread of the day. Dad ordered biscuits and gravy; I got a bacon, egg, and cheese croissant with lemon-thyme aioli; and Mom and Faith got the “Bakery Standard” with eggs, bacon, toast, and raspberry jam. All the food was well-prepared and delicious; the breakfast plates were much better than the pastries.

Lincoln Street Bakery
Lander, WY

A cozy bakery serving plates of delicious food all day long. Worth stopping in if you happen to be hungry in the middle of Wyoming.

* – Would definitely visit again

** – Exceptional, must visit if you’re in the area

*** – Worth making a special trip to eat there

For more info on food ratings, click here.

More Morning Driving

I’d hoped to have time to visit a peculiar feature near Lander called Sinks Canyon. Here, the Middle Popo Agie River disappears underground in a cave, and then reemerges half a mile later from the bottom of a pond. We were running short on time, so unfortunately we had to skip this stop. Maybe another time…

We continued north on US-287 through the Wind River Range, eventually merging with US-26. Eventually, we drove through Dubois, WY, where there are a couple interesting museums I’d like to visit someday: the National Bighorn Sheep Center and the National Museum of Military Vehicles. I read you need to allow at least half a day for the latter. I’d love to make time in the future; it looked very interesting.

About 40 miles west of Dubois, we crested a hill and saw our first view of the Tetons and the Jackson Hole valley. We stopped at Togwottee Overlook to take some pictures of the spectacular view. Soon, the road came alongside the South Buffalo Fork of the Snake River, and we followed the river into the town of Moran and the entrance station for Grand Teton National Park.

Snake River Overlook

Our first stop in the park was the Snake River Overlook, the spot of Ansel Adams’s iconic 1942 photograph, “The Tetons and the Snake River”.

Having been on the road for several hours since breakfast, we were all getting hungry, so we decided to head on to downtown Jackson for lunch.


Our first choice of restaurant was closed, so we headed to Hand Fire Pizza and got a couple pies and two salads to-go. We took them to Rendezvous Park, a spot just off the Snake River that we’d visited on our last trip to the Tetons. We got a Caesar salad, a mixed greens salad with grilled chicken, a “Meatbawls!” pizza, and a “Queen of Savoy” (margherita) pizza. Everything was good, but the pizzas quickly lost their heat in the cool breeze. Ordinarily, I’d award a restaurant like this at least one star, but I’ll hold off until another visit because I felt like we didn’t get the full experience.

Even though the pizza wasn’t hot, the scenery was spectacular. Mom and Dad played with Walker for a while, and Faith and I took a short walk over to the Snake River to enjoy the view. We saw several groups of people tubing down the river – a chilly activity for a windy day in the Tetons!

Moose Wilson Road

From the park, we drove north on Moose Wilson Road, and entered the park through the Granite Canyon Entrance Station. To our surprise, the National Park Service had paved the road since our last visit, a vast improvement over the washboard gravel road. However, this is a point of controversy for the locals, because the road now sees much more through-traffic, increasing the amount of noise and thus reducing the amount of wildlife in the area. We didn’t spot any wildlife, but it wasn’t an ideal time of day to do so.

Our only stop off of Moose Wilson Road was a quick side trip to the Murie Ranch, home to some historic residences. Now, it’s a base for conservationists.

Menor's Ferry Historic District

Soon, we arrived at Menor’s Ferry Historic District, and the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center. We made a quick rest stop at the visitor center, and then took some time to explore the historic district. This spot was home to one of the only ferries across the Snake River, a mercantile, post office, and some other historic buildings.

Bill Menor, the proprietor, constructed the ferry in 1894. The Snake River bisected the valley, and was often unfordable, making the ferry an important transportation hub for the Jackson Hole valley. When the water was too low to cross with the pontoon ferry, Menor used a primitive rope cable car system to shuttle people and goods across the river. Eventually, Menor and his men would build a bridge for winter use, but would dismantle it each year before the spring snowmelt raised the water level.

Menor sold the business in 1918, and his successor eventually sold the land to the Snake River Land Company in 1927. The Snake River Land Company was a shell corporation John D. Rockefeller Jr. used to purchase land in the valley to donate to the National Park system, fulfilling his vision for the conservation of the beautiful area south of Yellowstone National Park.

Chapel of the Transfiguration

Leaving the riverside, we stopped at the Chapel of the Transfiguration. In 1925, settlers built the chapel so they wouldn’t have to travel to Jackson to attend services. Today, it’s a part of the parish of St. John’s Episcopal Church, and seats 65 people, with additional outside seating for the summer months.

Downtown Jackson // Ice Cream

So we could be back in the park for the sunset, we drove back to downtown Jackson to get a snack. Faith and I strolled Walker around for a while (which he greatly enjoyed), and stopped at Pearl Street Market to get a wrap for Faith. We also stopped at the Kühl store; I’ve always known it as a great outdoor brand, but I’d never seen a brick-and-mortar store before.

Eventually, we all met up at Moo’s Gourmet Ice Cream to get some dessert. Mom got wild huckleberry and maple roasted walnut; Dad got maple roasted walnut and praline & pecan; Faith got boysenberry or marion blackberry and mango sorbet; and I got wild huckleberry and Belgian chocolate. All the ice cream was very good, especially the huckleberry.

Schwabacher Landing

After finishing our ice cream, we drove to Schwabacher Landing to watch the sunset. At the end of the road, beavers have dammed up a pond that reflects the mountains, trees, and sky. Boaters were once able to access the Snake River from here, but the river has changed course over time, so launching boats from here is no longer possible.

Glacier View Turnout

Up the hill from Schwabacher Landing, we made one final stop at Glacier View Turnout to see the last light of the sun setting over the Tetons. It wasn’t the most spectacular colors, but still a beautiful sunset – it just didn’t last long.

As it got dark, we drove south back through Jackson and Wilson, headed west over the Teton Pass to our Airbnb in Victor, ID, and retired for the night.


Here’s a short video from today’s adventures.

The Best Things we Saw Today


The best thing I saw today was… “the first view of the Tetons coming from Dubois”.

The best thing I ate today was… “my breakfast croissant and wild huckleberry ice cream”.


The best thing I saw today was… “the first view of the Tetons”.

The best thing I ate today was… “my breakfast plate with sourdough toast”.


The best thing I saw today was… “the first view of the Tetons”.

The best thing I ate today was… “biscuits and gravy”.


The best thing I saw today was… “the first view of the Tetons”.

The best thing I ate today was… “our pizza picnic, because of the scenery”.


Tomorrow, we’ll continue our explorations of Grand Teton National Park and the surrounding area.

– Isaac & Co.

2 Responses

  1. Beautiful! I had several favorites-the snow on the mountains is always special, the cross with the mountains in the background, the sunset at Glacier View Turnout, the antler arch.
    The foods looked delicious!
    Great memories…



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