Hiking in Grand Teton National Park

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Exactly one year ago, I was staring at this gorgeous mountain range in person. I think I never got around to editing this final batch of pictures because the Tetons held a sacred, secret memory for me. I don’t mean that in a secret squirrel kind of way; just that they were so damn serene and I was so at peace while I was there that it felt strangely intimate to share the pictures with the world. With that said, this wouldn’t be much of a travel blog if I didn’t show you where I traveled, am I right?

(Oh, in case you missed the first couple of posts about this trip out west, you can find them here and here). After our first glimpse of the Tetons (and driving around in glee and taking 100 pictures), we drove all the way through the park to find our campgrounds. We had decided to stay at the Headwaters Lodge and Campgrounds because they had these *new* nifty little camper cabins.

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We had tents with us, but I felt uncomfortable leaving our tent set up when we were going to be gone for the entire day that we were there. The camper cabins were perfect!   They had bunk beds with a thin mattress pad, a fire pit, a picnic table, a parking spot, and – most importantly – a locking door. Bonus! As an aside, there was very little cell service in the Tetons and none at all at our cabin, but we were there for a break from the world and a break is what we got. It was actually very nice.

Once we had unpacked the car, we decided to head over to Old Faithful because Headwaters is actually halfway between Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone. We actually drove past the Continental Divide to get there, which was very cool.

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When we first arrived, there were very few people at the viewing area. That’s because we had just missed the last eruption (I think they happen every 90 minutes or so). So we waited…and waited…and waited…and hordes of people arrived.
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The irony in the waiting process is that Old Faithful with start to bubble and spit for a good 30 minutes before it actually erupts. What that means is that while waiting, you have to endure 30 minutes of people gasping and jumping up with their cameras. It’s safe to say that we were in full-blown ridiculous mode during the waiting game, which is the only way that I can explain the below picture. I thought it would be funny if it looked like I was drinking from the water fountain. I don’t think I succeeded and yet I still have to share it with you because it’s apparently the only freaking picture I have of the eruption?! Hysterically, you only have like 30 or 60 seconds to snap pics before having to wait another 90 minutes for another shot.

oldfaithful2Once our hysterics (theatrics?) were done, we drove around Yellowstone to explore before heading back to our campsite to settle in for the night.

The next morning – bright and early – we drove down to Jenny Lake to catch the ferry that would deliver us to the mountain range side of the park. There was a foot path that allowed you to walk along the outside of Jenny Lake, but it was under construction while we were there, so we opted for the ferry.

We decided that we were game for about an 8-10 mile hike, which meant 4-5 miles into the range before turning around and heading back. It was breathtaking. Truly, words cannot explain the exquisite beauty that we witnessed so I’ll just show you instead (and you’ll see why I wanted to keep it to myself).

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teton06I mean, come on. Between you and me, I could camp there for months and never get sick of the views. I would say that I could stay there forever, but it snows up to 20′ in the winter so let’s just say that in August, it’s divine.

We didn’t see any bears (although we did see evidence of them everywhere), but we did see two moose (meese?) during our hike.

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Can you see him in the river? This bull moose was easily twice as tall as my Subaru. It’s funny how I spotted him – we were walking along the hiking path when I heard a big splash to my left, I looked over just in time to see an enormous, shiny rump step into the water. This picture was actually taken as I (keeping a very large distance between us) walked back along the path to get a good look at him.

He was gorgeous and it was a pretty intense reminder that we were on his turf so we made plenty of noise on our way back so that we didn’t catch any creature unaware.

The last part of this pictorial road trip journey will be sharing the drive back through several more National Parks. I promise that it won’t take me a full year to get around to it….in fact, I think I’ll go ahead and write it now.

 

 

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