I am in love with The Tetons. Real Love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can't live without love (thanks, Carrie).
Within hours of arriving here, I knew this place would be special to me for a long time. I feel free, clear, rested, calm and most of all full of gratitude for this trip. It could be because I had a coke, a shower and free wifi within a 10 minute drive in any direction, but I'm gonna blame it on the Tetons. I swear I thought of that line while simultaneously realizing that is one of my favorite songs by Modest Mouse. You're Welcome.
That is what The Tetons does. Everything works together in perfect harmony. There are some crowds here, but it's different, it's a calmer place where everyone is marvelling at the same thing: the wondrous peaks of the Tetons that rise up dramatically before you.
We began our adventure in the Tetons by choosing a campsite at Jenny Lake campground. It is full almost everyday in the summer for two reasons: it's the starting point for several great hikes in the park and a short walk from any campsite puts you on the beach of one of the most beautiful lakes in the park. We spent many nights on the shore marvelling at the beauty of the Teewinot Towers which seemed close enough that we could reach out and touch them.
We went on several great hikes in the park, but the one I remember best was the hardest one-5 miles straight up one of the mountains-a 3,000 foot elevation gain. For someone like myself whose regular exercise routine includes walking from my desk to the bathroom and back to my desk, I was afraid I might go up a couple of miles and not be able to come back down....images of a helicopter rescue where I cry and apologize and embarrass Chris to no end flashed through my head. We would have laughed about it eventually, right? No? Good news is that I did make it up and it actually wasn't as hard as I'd imagined and so worth it.
On the hike up we had an older couple stop and tell us that they saw a grizzly on the hill a a 1/4 mile or so back, we didn't turn around because it was raining and we had shelter under tree. On the way down, we had another couple stop and tell us that a 1/4 mile ahead there was a black bear on the trail. We did not see said black bear. I was beginning to think this was some sort of mean "Hey...look, there are bears everywhere, but you can't see them" joke until we stopped to take off our rain jackets and heard a crackle in the woods. It was a black bear cub! We watched it for a few moments and it climbed a tree and rested just out of sight on a branch. Bear cub + tree climbing = WE WIN! I addition to the bear, we saw a grey fox right near our campsite, osprey everywhere, eagles, Chris saw several moose babies with their mommas, and we heard tons of coyotes at night. We will be back...this I know.