Thursday, June 6, 2013

Jackson Hole Adventures


Yesterday was exhausting. Our new hotel in Jackson Hole is pretty cool, with an awesome pool that’s half indoors and half outdoors, as well as two hot tubs (one inside and one out)! And we needed them after our adventures. We rode the tram to the top of the ski area (2.4 miles of cable and a 4,000+ foot climb in elevation) and then ended up hiking the whole 7.4 miles down! We didn’t plan to, but we hiked down a ways and then neither my mom nor I wanted to go back up those steep trails (at over 10,000 feet, it’s hard!), so we just took the “easy” way out and kept descending.

The tram

Looking back up the slope--and it got a lot steeper!

Jackson Hole from above

Two miles in!

I kept running into snakes (small ones) as we neared the bottom...so I let my mom take the lead!

Well, it seemed easy then, but I’m really sore today, especially my calves! The whole thing took us more than three hours (including the time spent deciding whether to go back up or continue down), and we all kind of crashed for the rest of the afternoon.

So no hiking today--we just took a boat tour of Jenny Lake, which was formed by a glacier that came down from one of the mountains thousands of years ago. We even saw an active glacier, along with on osprey nest, hikers going on foot around the lake’s perimeter, some fish, and of course all the peaks. The top of one of them, the one with the glacier, is actually preserved seabed floor from when a huge sea covered the western United States, all the way to Nebraska. It borders the Teton fault line, on the other side of which that seabed is 2,000 feet under water. And the Tetons are still growing, about a foot every hundred years. Pretty amazing stuff.

The three Cathedral peaks as seen from Jenny Lake--Grand Teton (the highest in the Teton range) is in the center, behind the other two.

A burn area at Jenny Lake. The fire was started by a lightning strike in 1999.

In the afternoon my dad and I rented bikes and spent some time cruising the bike paths around Jackson Hole. It was more relaxing than sightseeing, and the important part was that it didn’t use ANY of the muscles I used coming down the mountain yesterday! But we did see an osprey nest that seemed to have been taken over by a bunch of smaller birds. And horses, of course. There are horses everywhere out here.

Tomorrow is our last day here. We’ll spend the day in Jackson Hole and then drive back to Salt Lake City so we can get our flight out on Saturday. And then we’ll be home again! I love vacation, but I really do miss the horses and the dog and, yes, my sister. :) I have a few more action-packed days in Pennsylvania before I pack up and head for Durham and my new job...life’s crazy! But I’ve done so many things on this trip that I never thought I’d do in my life, so I’m ready. Bring it on!
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