Thursday, July 31, 2008

So we went to the Tetons

where if we didn't have jobs we would be still. In the meantime, we're going to have to exist on memories and retirement plans of being campground hosts at Jenny Lake. (We saw the hosts, an elderly couple, chugging around in their golf cart collecting fees and bickering: "You did not read the instruction book, did you? If you had read the book, you would know . . ." And I though: We can totally do that. Wrangle me up one Airstream and we're set.)

As we expected, Jenny Lake campground was full when we arrived in the afternoon. The other campgrounds are nice, but this is the truly the holy grail of campgrounds: near the lake and right at the base of those mountains. 

Husband (needing to redeem himself after the truck-in-the-mud disaster) got up at 5:30 the next morning to go grab us the best campsite of the bunch (privacy, shade, near bathrooms but not too near). Perfecto!

We could leave our canoe in the water a short walk from our site and ride bikes to the nature center—all part of our car-use reduction plan. It doesn't get any better than that!

We had two full days that we filled with excellent outings.

First up was a paddle across Jenny Lake (bypassing the ferry that shuttles people across) to the base of the mountains. We quickly hiked through the nearby trail littered with tourists in inappropriate footwear (thanks to my girlfriend Diana, a self-proclaimed tourist of tourists, for alerting us to this invasive species) into Cascade Canyon, which runs behind the mountains you see from the lake.

For our lunch stop, we took a detour up this scree field to visit a some leftover snow.

Two knuckleheads decided the run off looked like a good place to strip down and take a shower. I wasn't one of them.

As you can see, I'm still dry.

After lunch, we hiked as far as the Cascade Canyon Fork, which meant that Sophie bagged her first nine mile hike! And that's not counting the scree climb, the paddle, or the to and fro between campsite and canoe. Thank goodness for kumquats, which were our only source of fluid after we drained our CamelBacks.

Along the way we saw a showshoe hare,

a big bull moose (right beside the trail munching on some water plants),

and some wildflowers.

The second full day was a paddle day. We put in the canoe at String Lake, paddled up that, and then portaged over to Leigh Lake. Our friends who loaned us the canoe did this portage without the nifty little wheels I purchased on their recommendation at REI. Best $70 I have ever spent. Plus, I have earned free canoe use for life.

Sophie had a major girl victory when we arrived at Leigh Lake. Two older boys were just getting out of their boat and informed her that the water was too cold for swimming but that they had just had a really rad water fight (one had on a wetsuit). She said she didn't mind cold water; they dared her. Big mistake on their part. At the word "dare," she dropped her clothes, jumped in,  and swam across to a small island, where we picked her up once we had the canoe in the water. I had to admit, the boys were gracious in their humiliation, giving her a three cheer salute from the beach.

All good stuff, but a visit to a National Park would not be a proper visit without someone completing the Junior Ranger program. Here's Sophie taking the pledge.

She earned a very nice patch, and we've made much hay out of it to get her to help with camp chores, pack out trash she sees on hikes, and identify wildflowers, which are all things rangers do.

We loved, loved, loved the Tetons, and leaving was hard. But Yellowstone was between us and the Montana ranch we were expected at in less than a week, so it was onward for the Figs.

Reports from Yellowstone coming up!


E said...

gorgeous! what a trip. can't wait to read more installments!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like it was a great vacation--despite the car and the mud incident!

Libby said...

Stunning. Simply gorgeous. Slice of heaven. I can almost taste all the fresh air right though my monitor. So, what would I have to do to convince you to take me with you the next time you take a trip like this one?

Beth G. said...

Great photos...sounds like a perfect trip!!! (minus the mud)

Jenn said...

Wow, what a gorgeous trip! That makes our camping trips seem incredibly dull ;)

I'm with Libby, I wanna tag along next time!

Belle in Bloom said...

Beautiful! I just showed my husband the pics from your trip and he's so jealous. :)

Jennifer H said...

I am so jealous! I haven't seen the Tetons yet, and your trip looks so wonderful. (Plus, knowing where you're heading really makes me envious.)

Such great photos--keep them coming!

Athalie said...

Cindy, it's FREEZING at the mo' in the mountains of Melbourne - but that photo of the canoe just tipping into the water bought back a wonderful flash of summer memories - Thank you!

KatieGirlBlue said...

Sophie is a total toughie! I whine if I have to hike longer than 30 minutes to get to my destination. Way to raise a mountain girl!

Jenny Lake, to me, is the gateway to all things magical in the Tetons. I'm so glad you got to enjoy it!

Anonymous said...

I would love to take a vacation like this! You guys are so lucky.

Jen Yu said...

Right on Soph! She rocks. I love girls who kick ass. And thank you for showing your child what a lovely experience the outdoors can be. I think there aren't enough parents introducing their kids to how awesome it is out there. Hmmm... if you guys ever want to go backpacking in CO... and I promise I won't make Sophie sleep with Kaweah (even though she's an awfully good snuggly dog, she's also kind of an idiot - but a sweet one).

You wouldn't have to camp in our neck of the woods though - that's what our house is for, a VERY fancy tent of sort in the mountains. Heeee!

Mom on the Run said...

Quite a bit of snow melted between the time we were there and when you were there. I never would've made that hike,the air was so thin I was huffing and puffing like a ninety year old woman.

The year before J2 was a junior, she did a month long canoe portage trip in the boundary waters in Minnesota at Concordia Language villages Les Voyageurs camp. She loved it and wants to go back as a "mono" (camp counselor en francais).

You have Sophie so prepared for something like that, she'd think it was a snap.

Tres Poshe Preppy said...

One word. Breathtaking. I really need to get back to that part of the US, it's so amazing!

The Mrs. said...

Cannot believe you saw a moose!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!