Thursday and Friday we spent in and around the town of Jackson and the area we were staying in, Teton Village.
We had enough time for either a spa day or an excursion, and Jordan left the choice up to me. I know this will shock everyone, but I figured we could always have a spa day in Katy, but we can't do a float down Snake River in the middle of the Tetons anywhere else. So, a 2.5 hour "scenic float" won out and we were off.
I was ever-hopeful for another wildlife sighting, and I guess bald eagles count. We saw 5-6 of them.
This man is a blast. I got pretty lucky to have him as my BFF.
After our float, we spent a bit of time in the small town of Jackson, drinking coffee (one of the themes of the trip) and leisurely shopping.
We had heard that the air tram was worth the trip so we headed back to Teton Village and climbed aboard.
|The view of our hotel from the air tram|
|Look! Moose #2 sighting from atop the tram!|
|The tram, a view from the ground|
|And the view on top of the world. Or at 10,000 feet elevation, anyways|
So, we heard you could hike down the mountain right back to Teton Village. Not many people choose to do it because it is apparently hard on your joints to travel downhill on a fairly steep mountain for 7.2 miles. But, having never been one to suffer joint pain, and being in the mood for some more adventure, we thought, "Why not?" It was another spur of the moment decision that we couldn't have been more thankful we made. Turns out hiking downhill 7.2 miles isn't easy on the muscles or the joints, but the views and the experience were more than worth the soreness.
The hike begins.
After, of course, we stop to take some pictures in the snow.
Look who we found at the top of the mountain! Little Avery, Kate and Reese snowgirls.
About 1-2 miles down the path, we stopped to chat up a friendly marmot. And this may or may not be the spot where latrines suddenly seemed like a better option than the "hug a tree" restroom experience. I guess there's a first for everything.
We saw two other hikers closer to the summit, but after the first mile or so, we were pretty much completely alone. We were "bear aware" and were sure to make noise as we came across sudden clearings. Jordan took to calling out, "Here, bear! Heeeere, bear!" That's one way to let them know we're on the trail.
The sun sets in Wyoming around 9 or so, so we knew we were doing fine on time. However, around mile 5 and hour 2 (at about 7 pm), the trail started changing. It wasn't a gravel service road anymore, but rather a narrow trail surrounded by either tall trees or tall grasses on either side.
It was perfect deer-spotting territory.
Spotting the deer was awesome. And it also got us to thinking, there really could be a moose or bear encounter. It's certainly not out of the realm of possibilities. And we're still a good 2 miles or so from anything that looks like civilization.
And then we happened upon this:
We weren't sure if that was bear or moose fur, but we were certain that a mat of fur in the middle of a hiking trail meant that something hangs out fairly close. We decided to pick up the pace just a bit.
No sweat, though. Literally, of course, because it was cool. But also figuratively. We soon came across a different kind of sign:
Ahhh, a sign of accomplishment. .9 miles to dinner!
Randomly deciding to tackle a 7 mile hike was a really cool moment in our marriage. We had such a sense of solitude on the hike, but it was mixed with sights and experiences that kept it upbeat and fun. And the sense of accomplishment after 3 hours in a wilderness of sorts was a great way to end our last full day. We finished off our night with dinner and shoulders held high.
On Friday, we enjoyed packing slowly, shopping and munching in town, and reading outside with a beautiful backdrop. We were more than ready to see our beautiful girls... who had stayed happy and busy with Nana and D. They took a trip to Lockhart and collected real chicken eggs, met a horse and some cows, held baby kitties, and captured frogs.
My parents gave us an extravagant gift: watching three very busy girls in different stages of life. Knowing they were safe and happy gave us the freedom to relax and enjoy our time together. We can't think of a way to pay Nana and D back for their generosity, but we plan to pay it forward and give our girls the same gift someday. It was an incredible opportunity and days later, sometimes a memory will sweep me back to the trip and let me relive a moment with my lifelong love.
|Checking out Sandie's chickens with Nanny|
|Releasing frogs at Mimi and Gran's|