Gettin’ high at Grand Teton National Park
By this point of the trip, Maria and I were feeling pretty good about our hiking and outdoor skills, so we were looking for something a bit more challenging. We drove well into the park, and parked at the Grand Teton Lodge, where we asked a cowboy hat-clad bellman (I kid you not; the Lodge is pretty fancy) for trail suggestions. Probably a result of seeing two chicks decked out in matching gear and with well-manicured nails, he first pointed us toward the Christian Pond Loop, which was 3.3 miles and basically a flat trail meant for families and elderly people. Um, no. We told him that we were looking for something a little more adventurous so he suggested the trail to Grand View Point, which would be 7 miles round trip. That’s more like it! He advised us that reaching the peak involved a sharp incline, where we would ascend nearly 1000 feet in less than 1 mile. These things never sound so bad at the time, especially when you’re standing in an air-conditioned lodge, so we went for it.
And then we were off!
It’s amazing how varied all of the National Parks are! Vastly different landscapes than those we saw at Mt.Rainier. Much sunnier and hotter as well.
Two interesting things to note. This was, hands down, the poopiest trail we encountered. The first half mile or so was covered in horse poop, and as we hiked we encountered the excrement of various other animals. So there’s that. We also encountered some dude sitting under an overpass smoking up. Near the horse poop. Sometimes you just have to wonder.
First things first, safety. We were warned repeatedly by numerous rangers that bear activity was quite high that week, and to be vigilant about our surroundings. Ever the prepared hikers, we had picked up a can of bear spray and bear bells (the bells were more for fun, but they also provide excellent accompaniment to sing-a-longs on the trail!). Still, we only encountered 2 other sets of hikers the entire time, so I admit that I was pretty nervous about encountering some bears! It’s one thing to have the bear spray, but I really couldn’t picture either of us calmly positioning the the can (30 feet) away from a bear and spraying it in the face, nor would I have wanted to see what happened next! Thankfully, or rather uneventfully, we never got to find out!
And so we trudged along, taking in the sights, until we reached that steep ascent. Oy, that bellman was not kidding. It was HARD. We had to stop numerous times along the switchbacks. On the plus side, I cannot think of a better calf and glute workout!
When we got to the top, we were rewarded with awesome views. 7,823 feet up high in the sky! We were so proud of ourselves!
And then we continued on the loop trail towards the Lodge – 3 miles.
Upon reaching our destination, we treated ourselves to happy hour in the lodge’s lounge area. And by happy hour, I mean that we drank as much water as we could, and feasted on nachos and the watermelon salad (which was so refreshing, that I am still thinking about it!).
We had a blast at Grand Teton National Park! It was also pretty awesome to prove to ourselves just how strong we are. There’s nothing like a tough challenge to give yourself that sense of accomplishment!