Driving northwest through Wyoming is just about as boring as it gets: miles and miles of arid, hot desert land with the occasional interesting rock formation and wild sunflowers growing on the side of the road. But then, out of nowhere I’m in the forest. Into the Grand Teton National Park, located just under Yellowstone National Park –pine trees and wild flowers speckled the landscape just under the towering, magnificence Teton Mountains.
My first day there I arrived in the late afternoon, after doing a little scenic drive I decided to hike a three mile loop trail It was beautiful, rocky, and full of little scurrying creatures. I hiked to the top of the grand lookout point and continued on my way. After about an hour I realized that the trail signs were wrong, dead wrong. They’d say “1.4 Miles to Lake” then after two miles there’d be a sign reading, “3.8 Miles to Parking Lot”. What?! This ridiculous sign play kept continuing nothing matched up with the map, signs, or Google maps on my phone. So a three mile hike turned into an eleven mile stressed out hike. Which wasn’t particularly fun because it was 8 o’clock at night, getting dark and I was all alone without bear spray. I think park rangers advice against all three of those things. But hey, I made it out boiled a potato and slept in my car to avoid the good ol’ bear mauling: good day.
I spent the next couple days waking up super early and going for scenic hikes around the park and seeing the waterfalls. I got to see lots of sunrise wildlife, including a coyote that had just caught mouse and lots of male elk grazing. I slowed down in my car to observe the coyote on the side of the road, he looked at me mouse in mouth, and started running through the woods parallel to the road so I got to follow him for a couple of minutes, it was magical. The male elk had huge antlers and moved slowly in the meadow, misting in the morning with the Grand Tetons in the background –the sunrise turning the gray rock into pinkish orange.
I went to the famous Jenny Lake and did a ten mile hike up to the North Cascade region. I also did lots of hikes to the scenic outlooks, the rivers were my favorite: freezing, but beautiful, the water crystal clear with giant trout swimming upstream.
The Tetons certainly create their own weather, in one day I experienced sunshine, thunderstorms, wind, rain, more sunshine, and then partially cloudy skies. I really enjoyed that because ever since a special day in Colorado, I cannot stop looking at the clouds. The cloud changes over the Tetons was breath taking and lovely –I love when the sun shoots its rays through the clouds, and numerous times it did so on my trip; illuminating patches of meadows and parts of the mountains.