Grand Tetons

My final stop of the trip was the Grand Tetons. We went to the area when I was in middle school and again in high school, and it was just as magical a third time! I got up around four on Monday morning because I was paranoid that I would not be able to get a campsite in the park (the are walk-in only). I made it to Colter Bay Campground around 7:30 am and got a wonderfully secluded spot.

My goal for the day was to do the Cascades Canyon hike, but I could not stop pulling over to take pictures. It was so beautiful!

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After a few hours, I made it to Jenny Lake to start my hike a little after 11. It was hot and crowded, but I got started on the trail. I decided I would walk the Jenny Lake Loop to see Hidden Falls, hike the canyon, then ride the ferry back. I saw this little creature on my way around:

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What is that??

Hidden Falls was quite pretty:

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I was less than a mile into my hike into Cascade Canyon when I saw two men walking very quickly toward me. I froze because they were clearly hauling ass. They said that a grizzly had followed them for a couple of miles and they were trying to get the hell out of there. It stayed about 50-100 yards behind them, but they were totally freaked out. They tried their bear spray, but the bear was too far away and by the time it reached the cloud it was mostly dissipated. I did not want any part of that, so I left with them. I rode the ferry back and was glad I was not a bear snack.

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Since my day was suddenly totally free, I did the things I had planned on doing Tuesday. I went to the visitor center, stopped at every overlook and pullout, then went into Jackson to have lunch and some beer at Snake River.

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I had the bison chili and it was delicious. A thunderstorm was rolling in, so I went to get my stuff to take a shower while it was storming. After cleaning up, I went to the Jackson Lodge to watch the rain and the meadows from their patio. It was so relaxing and beautiful.

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I sat there for a couple of hours and eventually ordered a cheese plate to go with my beer. It was a lovely way to spend my time. The storm started to clear, so I moved on to Oxbow Bend to watch the sunset and try to see a moose.

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I never saw a moose, but it was a breathtaking evening and the sunset was a spectacular.

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I was supposed to stay through Tuesday, but since I got so much done on Monday, I decided to go ahead and get home. It was also supposed to be storming most of the day. I woke up around four again and started to work my way toward Sacramento. I meant to head straight on out of the park, but I ended up spending about two hours taking pictures. I could not help myself.

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And I got to see a little family of grizzlies! As I drove up on them, I could not tell what was in the road, but I was pretty shocked when I realized what I was seeing.

I spent about 15 minutes watching them (from a distance in my car which is why the video is not great) and it was awesome. Eventually the mama grizzly and one cub moved to one side of the road while the other walked to the opposite side. I decided this would be a good time to pass them and get going. As I very slowly creeped past, both the mama and the cub came closer to the car and got up on their hind legs which was CREEPY. And terrifying. I had my window partially rolled down on the cub’s side (fresh mountain air!!) and I panicked that he would jump through it to murder me. The cub was at eye level with me as I passed and we shared prolonged eye contact. It was quite the experience and I definitely would not have survived a grizzly encounter on a trail.

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My main goal is to not do anything that would cause an animal to be put down because of my stupidity, so I am glad we all made it out aloud. It was such a great trip and I am so glad I was able to spend so much time with my family.

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