7. Five National Parks…Montana, Canada, Wyoming & Colorado 8.2011

Tuesday 8.9

We broke camp fairly early this morning anticipating the slow (because of all the cars) drive south to Grand Teton National Park & campsite-hunting

But the minute we saw the mountains, it took our breath away....this is my 4th trip to the Tetons...it’s my favorite National Park...I LOVE HIKING IN THESE MOUNTAINS!

We stopped in the Visitors Center to check on campsites & as we looked up into the clear blue brilliant sky & saw a bald eagle flying...so high in the sky...not great for photography, but good for the soul

Bought a campsite for 2 nights near the shores of Jackson Lake...we still had the afternoon left, so we went to the Jackson Lake Lodge & had lunch at their 50’s style diner...we had a really cool waitress & a waiter “who came to Teton to hike....not really work” (as our waitress joked) & shared with us some good trails to hike

So, while we were eating, I fell in love with the serving dishes at the diner....I even tried to buy just a couple of pieces...but it’s not made anymore....which, is probably a good thing...I don’t really need more “stuff”....but they were really cool

The hiker-waiter told us about a dirt road off the main road to take to a trail called the “Grand View”...it would be a short 2 mile hike to a 360 degree view of the Tetons & Two Ocean lakes...it was a quiet trail with wonderful views!  It’s soooo good to back in the Tetons!

After the hike, we drove up to Colter Bay...a big hub-bub spot with a gift shop, showers, huge campground, restaurant, etc...but they also have trails that go around the bay & look out onto the lake...as evening approached, we strolled on another couple of mile hike with wonderful views out to Jackson Lake

Wednesday 8.10

Death Canyon....today’s trail.  Another beautiful, sunny, clear-skies day to be hiking in the magnificent Tetons!  After a short 1 mile uphill, we reached Phelps Lake overlook...a really pretty lake with distant mountains in the background

As we continued up the trail, we passed a mind-blowing waterfall...it was huge & splendid...volumes of water.  Near the top of the trail, the water leveled out & the hike going up had been hot, so we cooled off in the chilly mountain water

After the waterfall, the trail changed to a forested area (filled with mosquitoes!) then, back into the wide-big-humungous OPEN space...with so much mountain beauty surrounding us.  The back country trail eventually peaks a pass, but we knew that was going to be too long a trail for a day hike...we’d have to pull out the backpacks on another trip to explore further.  We crossed the furious water several times, but, thank goodness, there were these really cool bridges crossing every stream...no fighting the water crossings here

There were more waterfalls & wildflowers the higher we climbed.  As we approached another bridge, we ate lunch, studied the map, & stared up at the giant “shelf” that surrounded the valley...awesome.  We decided we’d hiked about 7 miles in...& had the whole way to go back, so we turned around & took in the views going the opposite direction

The last pic above is looking through the canyon walls back down toward the lake....it had been a fantastic hike with big views, not too many others on the trail...& a long one...about 14 miles.  By the time we got back to the car, we were tired & the bottoms of our feet were kind of sore from hiking down hill on mostly rocks

We went back to camp, we knew we’d be leaving in the morning, so we built a fire & shared some Montana/Wyoming beer & fell asleep quickly.....I’m sure I’ll be dreaming of coming back (soon I hope) to the backcountry for more hiking

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