Thank you Jeb. Try rippin’ around the land of maple syrup for a week and trying to blog (or even wanting to). Anywho, here I am, back by popular demand. (And also threats. Actually, pretty much just by threats).
It seems like the Grand Teets were weeks ago…because they were.
Letchya girl catch you up to speed right quick:
After we left Devils Tower, we dropped by Casper, WY, and perched the tent on Casper Mountain. It was cooooold!
The following night, Grand Teton Eve, we camped for free on Ocean Lake just outside of Riverton, WY. Beachside. Our length of stay extended from sunset to sunrise – and it was alluring.
The first few days of living out of a car together were smooth. I mean, yeah, there were moments I was off and Chris had to put up with it, and other moments where Chris tried to feed me to bison and I had to let it go. We know how to ying when the other yangs.
This particular morning, however, we both sucked. It was morning and we were both crabby, irritated, off our game, ya know, like any given morning. Except it wasn’t like any given morning, because we were packed tight together in a small vehicle and set to drive 3 hours together. We both had stress built up from pre-bop preparations and procrastination, including: working a ton, tracking down a last minute dog-sitter for Suter (Mat and Natalia you are saints of God), and moving out of my house. So, in short, some things were said and some slap-box challenges were made (he declined), and we were on our way.
The drive was quiet and tense. We sped through west Wyoming and the scenery began to get prettier and the Tetons grew bigger by the second. The mountains seemed to dissolve the morning’s stress as they drew nearer. It didn’t look real. Chris said it felt like we were in a painting, or a scene from The Revenant.
As great as the Badlands were, they were shrouded by mind-numbing drives and eternal plains. This felt like the true beginning of Bop. We were finally in the mountains, and somewhere neither of us had been. We were driving into one of the most unique places in the world – and it was absolutely stunning. It was just us and the Tetons. And just like that, our bop brains were back.
We decided on a short hike the first day to get our feels. Starting from Jenny Lake, the trail took us up to Inspiration Point. Not very long or strenuous, this hike is one of the park’s most popular and touristy. Crowded as it was, it was a leisurely 3.5 hour hike round trip – about 5 miles altogether. Just enough to break in our boots. Booooooooooots.
After the hike we drove to Shadow Mountain – a free campground in the Bridger-Teton National Forest directly across from the Tetons (thanks to Katie Frye for the intel. Now have some babies for me to babysit. Love, Chris) We looked around for an open site, of which there were many, but between Googling “recent bear attacks Wyoming” and having yet to buy any bear spray, we decided to stay somewhere more people populated and in the park. We ended up sleeping at Colter Bay. It was the first non-primitive campground we stayed at. Flush toilets? Luxury.
The next day was rainy so we drove to Jackson Hole. We went to a local coffee shop (Cowboy Coffee) and blogged for 5 finger-murdering hours. Then we toured the town a bit before it was time to head back and find somewhere to camp.
Our second attempt at Shadow Mountain also resulted in staying at Colter Bay. This time, though, it was because all sites were full. We even had bear spray (which Chris has been itching to use and has had to be restrained from deploying on unwitting fellow hikers). We accidentally stayed free of charge. We are now fugitives on the run.
Also it was Sunday – so we had beer and nachos at Deadman’s bar while watching the Vikings devour cheese. Luxury.
Fugitive life includes waking up at 6am to watch the sunrise and eat breakfast before a full day of exploring. A precious few moments of calm before the physical storm.
RAGE HIKE DAY: Lupine meadows trailhead. We hiked 5 miles up to Surprise Lake and Amphitheater Lake. And I mean straight up, serious elevation gains, with multiple switchbacks. Compared to Jenny Lake, it seemed never ending.
Good thing it wasn’t, because the ending was the best part.
Along the way up we met some locals who told us to check out Delta Lake – a hiker maintained trail (not maintained or recognized by the park, i.e. not listed on the map). On our way down from the two lakes we veered off the path and found the semi-secret trail. It was a tough dirt route that ended in an intense vertical scramble up a field of giant boulders.
It’s true what they say – the hardest hikes lead to the prettiest places. Do people say that? Cuz they should. The water was turquoise blue. The view overlooking the canyon was as humbling as it was jaw-dropping. From up there, more than any other place we’d been in the park, was the immensity of the Tetons so pronounced.
Eight hours and 13 miles later, we finally landed — alive and hungry as a mother. Again we drove to Shadow Mountain, but this time we stayed. As if we could’ve moved if we’d even wanted to. We set up camp, ate a grizzly’s weight in noodles, and it was curtains. Here’s to a shaky start with a perfect ending. Cheers to the Teets.
(Seriously, if you don’t mind zero bathrooms, electricity, or general amenities in a campground- stay here! You get the most picturesque views of the mountains, views of the park. Views you can’t get inside of the park.There are 5 or 6 spots on the ground level, and more private ones up the mountain’s dirt road in higher bear-levation.)