We woke up around 7 and got moving. Out of habit, Ally was an eager beaver and started packing up before Patrick was even awake! (Fortunately, however, we don’t need to pack up because we get to stay at our site for another night.) We whipped up some hot oatmeal and warm tea before we hit the road and headed to Grand Teton National Park.
After a short drive to the edge of Yellowstone, we passed along the “John D. Rockefeller Memorial Parkway”—which connects the two parks—and then entered Grand Teton.
Shortly after the official welcome sign, the forests opened up and the road followed the shore of one of the two major lakes in the park. From the lookouts, we could see incredible views of the mountains in the distance. They are just striking, rising abruptly from flat plains, and ending in jagged, but picturesque, peaks.
Here, there are no rolling foothills gradually leading up to the mountains themselves, but instead long, open plains that continue till BOOM—mountain range!
We made our way to Jenny Lake Visitor’s Center and got trail maps to start scoping out a route for the day.
Considering our desire to just get to the park, and not knowing the day’s weather, we waited till now to get dressed. (It was much warmer than we anticipated, so it was nice to shed a few layers and bask in the sun.) Ally prepared lunches, Patrick organized snacks, and then we packed our bags with waters and some extra “just in case” clothes (rain gear and long-sleeved shirts).
We opted to take the water shuttle to the trailhead, instead of hiking the two miles around the lake, to enjoy a nice boat ride out on the lake.
This was a great choice because, even though it was a short ride, the ferry was relaxing and provided some pretty cool views of its own.
After landing on the far shore, we hiked up to Hidden Falls.
Then, after a quick peak at the waterfall tucked in the middle of the forest, we continued up to Inspiration Point for some incredible views to the East.
This trail was advertised as being super popular, and they did not lie! There were so many people around that it made the trails extremely congested and generally just not very nature-y. Fortunately, as we continued to trek into the Canyon, the crowds and pockets of rowdy people disappeared.
All along the canyon trail, there was cool scenery. With a river running through the middle, there were pockets of rapids paired with portions of placid water.
Along one of these calm, stream-like areas, Ally found a good rock for lunch.
We climbed up to it, enjoyed our Gatorade and demolished the wraps. Although the view of the water was nice, the area was a bit too peaceful and we both fell asleep. We woke up after about 20 minutes and munched on some more snacks before deciding to go a bit further and explore around the corner.
Good thing we did, because nearly immediately we saw a moose!
Although he was far away, it was still awesome to see wildlife in such a perfect, scenic setting.
On our way back, we noticed some menacing clouds in the distance. (Well, really, Ally noticed the clouds.)
Ally comments that it’d be raining on us soon, but Patrick (in all his meteorological wisdom) disagreed. Not 10 minutes later, the raindrops start falling. We donned our raincoats, scurried back to the water shuttle, and returned to the parking area. As soon as we got in the car, it starting POURING!
Back at camp, we clean off our tent from an apparent torrential downpour, with mud splatter all under the rain fly, and then decided to check out the water nearby.
On our walk back to the site, and before making dinner, Ally again predicts some rain.
We decide to hang out in the car and, sure enough, the drops start falling. (While we were hanging out, we decide to start keeping track of license plates that we see. Check back at the end of the trip for a full report! We’ve already seen Alaska AND Hawaii, so I think the odds are in our favor.)
A delicious BBQ chicken dinner and small fire round out our night. We burnt the remainder of our wood, and opted not to purchase more, because we only have one more night of camping! Tomorrow is a long drive, with a early morning departure with our sights set on Denver, CO.
– Ally and Patrick