Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Tetons

I get two days off every week, Thursday and Friday, and am done by 3pm on Wednesday-enough time to get away for a couple of days.  This weekend that meant a dash south to the Tetons.  Although they are only 160 some miles from me, it is quite the trek.  Yellowstone itself takes about three hours to get through thanks to buffalo jams, tourist jams, and the 45mph speed limit on the winding roads.  Oh Yellowstone.  At least it you are surrounded by beautiful scenery as you creep along behind motorhomes and gawking tourists.

The Tetons are nuts.  There are no foothills leading up to them-there is a perfectly flat valley, some lakes, and then mountains rising up out of nowhere.  Bam.

I arrived after dark, catching only the silhouettes of the Tetons as I snaked along the shore of Jackson Lake.  The next morning I awoke to the beautiful sight of the first picture.  Awesome.

Day 1 I climbed to Amphitheater Lake, nestled at 9 thousand-some feet right below the highest peaks in the range, the Tetons themselves.  Gorgeous.  I met a some nice people, and one of my conversations even went like this:
-Hope College-are you from Holland? (I was wearing some Hope gear)
-Well St. Joseph, but yeah, I went to school there.
-We're from Holland and I've done some work in St. Joseph at Brown Elementary and now the high school.

These people even knew one of my professors from Hope.  Small world.  Anyway, here is the view of Amphitheater Lake.

If the view was not enough, I ate huckleberries all the way up, and got to see a yellow bellied marmot.  The berries look pretty much like blueberries, eh?  Tasty.
Oh, and here is the view of the valley.  I figured I might as well add this in.

Day 2

My second day I opted for a bit of a longer hike-just under 20 miles as opposed to the 10 of the first day. Paintbrush Canyon over the continental divide to Cascade Canyon (which is L-shaped and curves around the back of Paintbrush) and back down to where I started, at Leigh Lake.
I even got the chance to see a pika-a mouse-like creature that is actually in the rabbit/hare family and only lives at high altitudes.
Here is a view looking down the Paintbrush Valley.
And another from farther up, on the continental divide.

There is something about mountains that captivates me.  There is nothing else so awe-inspiring that I have yet encountered.  Here is a view of Cascade Valley, the one I hiked out of.  I will leave you with that, as the pictures say more than any words could.

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