Our last day of vacation dawned much brighter than the previous days had been! We were packed up and out of our condo by about 8:30, I think. We decided that on our “way out” of the park, we would stop at whatever suited our liking, as long as we were at Jenny Lake in the Grand Teton National Park by early afternoon.
We stopped at Fountain Paint Pots, Firehole Lake Drive, and later, West Thumb Geyser Basin.
I was really about done with thermal features, but every time I thought I couldn’t take another bubbling or steaming circle in the ground, we would see something different or cool, like that bacteria mat. I didn’t really know what it was, but it was big (way bigger than the picture shows) and it made me think of my brother the biologist and how much he would like to get down there and find out what bacteria was in there and how he would probably explain 100 things about that bacteria mat to his kids and my girls, had he been there with us. So, it made me smile.
After the paint pots and the drive, we headed down towards West Thumb.
On the way there we stopped at a couple view points. Apparently Shoshone Lake was in there somewhere. It was not visible to the naked eye.
Then there was the Continental Divide, which we passed twice on the same road. I don’t really get that.
West Thumb was VERY different than the last time we were there. Apparently a few years ago a lot of the pools drained and never filled back up again! There were still some cool things, like the craters in the lake, and a few very pretty blue pools.
I had to include that picture above…that’s a dead mouse amongst the bones of other animals who unknowingly leapt to their death just trying to go for a refreshing little dip in a beautiful blue geyser.
Then we headed to the Grand Tetons! On the way, “we saw” a bear. It’s in quotes, because only some of us saw the bear…and I was not included in that group of elite that saw the bear. Apparently it was lumbering right next to the road, foraging for berries, but since there were rangers standing there, waving us on, and I was on the opposite side of the van, we couldn’t stop and my angle was such that I could not see the bear. Sad face.
It was a beautiful day to be in the Tetons!
Our first glimpses…
God is so amazing! The diversity of creation and incredible beauty and complex systems we saw on this trip was overwhelming. What I love most about the Grand Tetons is how they’re SO HUGE and they just come straight out of the ground! The mountains here have all the foothills, which are also pretty, but the Tetons are so different. I loved the Grand Teton National Park as much this time as I did in 2003 when we were there with my family. I was pregnant with Becca then and wasn’t able to make the hike to Inspiration Point after taking the boat across Jenny Lake. It was so beautiful and hiking Inspiration Point has been on my bucket list ever since. We arrived at Jenny Lake and went running to get our tickets for the boat. It was sunny and warm and we were all excited. Especially me.
Once there, the girls did a little off-trail rock climbing. It looked SO steep!
And then they walked down on this side of the steep rock and it wasn’t steep at ALL! We continued on the beautiful, lush trail.
Had a little fun with the shutter speed on the camera with Sarah…
We made it to Hidden Falls (last picture) and continued up towards Inspiration Point. Hidden Falls is where my mom, Bethany, & I waited for the rest of my extended family while they hiked Inspiration Point.
My family on the downward hike. I was content (& elated no one feel over the edge of Inspiration Point) and checked that one off my bucket list!
Then we drove towards Jackson Hole, showed the girls the four town square arches made out of elk antlers, and then stopped at a local diner for some bison burgers.
And they really did like those bison burgers!
From there we headed to Idaho Falls for our last adventure and our drive home…