October 7, 2012

Grand Tetons & Yellowstone

After the race Lisa, Chloe and I had two days to spend playing in the Grand Tetons.  On Saturday we napped and explored the national forest to the East of the Tetons.

Chloe is a big fan of Wilderness Areas and I am a big fan of Jedediah Smith.   Jedediah was one the first explorers of the West and survived a bear attack.  We had our own bear to protect us.

We let Chloe take the lead on our hike and she brought us to a beautiful waterfall and rock wall.  I lifted all 100+ lbs of Chloe onto that rock.  Lisa and Chloe pose in Teton Canyon.

As we headed into the town of Driggs, Idaho to get some lunch the clouds started to move in.  I asked Lisa if we should turn around and cover the tent in case it stormed.  She said "nope".  Sure enough it stormed and all of our stuff was soaking wet.

I jerry-rigged a drying rack by tying some tent string from the steel bear box to the Jeep.  Chloe, our smart little girl, laid in the shade of our drying rack.

On Sunday we woke up early, had a free breakfast at some fancy resort, then headed to the West side of the Tetons.  On the way we crossed the Idaho / Wyoming boarder.  Forever West!

Unlike the National Forest on the East side, Grand Teton National Park does not allow poochies to roam free in the wilds.  Before we left I booked Chloe a nice 5 hr poochie day care session.  When we arrived the shop was actually closed for the holiday.  That didn't stop them from selling me a 5 hr voucher or from telling me they would be open!  Fortunately the owner was in the store, listened to our sob story and allowed Chloe to stay in the front room for a couple hours while Lisa and I explored the mountains.  How much is that doggy in the window?  Not for sale.

Now poochie-less, Lisa and I drove to Jackson Hole Resort while trying to spot a moose.  Jackson Hole is a monster ski resort with trails in every direction - yes!  Surprisingly I had no soreness from the race yesterday.  I grabbed my water pack, a few gels and hit the trails up to 10,000 ft.

Lisa, smarter of the two, took the tram up to the top of the mountain.  While running I was wondering; one - would I see a moose or a bear (I forgot the bear spray again); two - would Lisa see me running up the trail?...  I never saw any wildlife save a loud, angry marmot but Lisa and the people on the tram spotted me running up the mountain.  "Look at that idiot running up the mountain when there is a nice, comfortable tram that takes you up in 5 minutes".

Lisa and I explored the mountains for a few hours then picked up Chloe from the pet shop.  It was time to officially enter one of the most beautiful places in the US - Grand Teton National Park.  Dave and I visited twice a few years ago but were shut out by clouds and rain.  On my third attempt the weather was just right!

Chloe wasn't feeling like her normal photogenic self.  Can't tell you how many retakes we had to get this one!  Maybe she was upset about the pet shop thing...

I've always wanted to visit Jenny Lake.  Lisa and I hiked back to the lake just before sunset.  It was better than I had dreamed up in my mind.  To top it off, some foreigners had taken to skinny dipping and screaming down shore from us.  My experience in national parks like the Grand Canyon, Carlsbad Caverns and Zion is that foreigners and national parks don't mix.  

The Tetons are a beautiful back drop to Jenny Lake.  Mountains and lakes do mix.

Ah Yellowstone, one of the classics.  The only problem is that is so big.  This was my fourth time in the park and I still have NEVER hiked a backcountry trail... one day.  We arrived late Sunday night and threw our tent out by Yellowstone Lake.

This was Lisa's first time in Yellowstone so we did the grand tour.  We started with the geothermal sites.

Of course we went to see Old Faithful - nothing quite like it.  No matter how many times you go, it always takes an eternity to go off and takes your breath away when it finally does.  When we first arrived Chloe slipped on the slick surface and almost fell into a geothermal puddle.  I managed to catch her flailing body right before her big paw was about to hit.  Needless to say she was a bit agitated after that.  She wrapped herself around the bench and made several attempts at biting and barking at anyone who walked by.

After the fun at Old Faithful we continued on to the little grand canyon.  By this point Chloe was getting thirsty - real thirsty.  She stared at that waterfall for a good 5 minutes.

Lisa by the Lower Falls  of Yellowstone National Park.

All in all we didn't see any wildlife and smoke from the wildfires made our tour pretty uneventful.  After three days of camping, hiking and driving we were ready to head back home.  I love the stone arch as you leave the park from the North.

"For the benefit and enjoyment of the people"

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Originally from Strongsville, OH, I spent 8 years in Raleigh, North Carolina and have since recently moved to Missoula, MT. I have been a runner all my life and have recently started pursuing ultra marathons. Any excuse to be outside and on the trails.