two weekends ago we hiked Table Mountain, which put us up at 11,000 feet, and a mile away from Grand Teton. I've been on the other side of this picture, and seen it up close, but always by car, or a short walk from a parking lot. This was way different, and I'm so grateful to have been part of such adventure. We hiked one of two routes to this point--"the steep one"--and it was challenging. the aspen groves and wildflower meadows are such a great distraction! the other route is called Huckleberry Canyon and i vote we go that way next time (i'm hoping there actually are huckleberries there). the steep routes are always worse coming back down. my knees and ankles protest vehemently!
anyway, we're hiking up
a total of about three miles with an altitude gain of just over 3,000 feet, and we come to this:
i know that big old Grand is right over there. so we make our way s l o w l y towards the "table" of Table Mountain (see?) and we're almost there. once you get to the last part, all you can see is the wall in front of your face.
you are al. most. there.
then you take that last step up and -BAM- you see this!
i will never get tired of looking at this. want to know something cool? i can see that tall one--Grand Teton--from my neighborhood. one state over. 120 miles away. yes. i love it here.
but that was so last week. THIS week we hiked a very long, very exhausting (okay, i was exhausted before i started) but beautiful trail towards Moose Lake along Moose Creek with a stop for lunch at Moose Falls.
yes, we saw a moose.
she saw us, too, and i was kind of scared, but all is well (i wish moose were as friendly and goofy as they looked. they're so not).
gorgeous view of the waterfall.
i mean, we're standing on the edge
of the canyon, in front of the falls,
and it's just amazing.
we had lunch here, at the 6.1 mile mark, then decided to go on further to Moose Lake. about a mile later we all ultimately decided to turn around (thank you!), but not before we saw what i've been waiting and waiting to see.
we're going along the trail, all eight of us, and i see meadow to the right, meeting up with a few bushes and the tree line, and green grass and rocks stretching to the left and beyond, up a hillside. i'm in the back, where i usually am on the trail, and we see the other six of our group stop ahead. what do they see? why are they stopped? they turn and look at us, pointing to the right. they whisper something. "WHAT?" i whisper back. duh. whispering on the trail. this can only mean...
...yep, it is. my first on-the-trail out-of-the-car BEAR. eeeeeeeee!!!!!
we watched it for a bit, then realized how small it was and got a little nervous about a momma being around, so we headed on for a little while.
we finally turned around when i announced my exhaustion and apprehension about going along to the end. you know that voice that just says you need to rethink things? the one that tells you, out of nowhere, what to do (or not do)? yeah, always listen to it. when we got in the car at the end and drove away, we looked back on black skies and a rainy haze. the thunder started about a 1/2 mile from the end of the trail. i am so glad we turned back when we did. around the same time the thunder started, though, so did the wild raspberry bushes. i got one ripe one and a huckleberry. between that and the bear sighting, my day was perfect.
this place is so full of beautiful scenery and amazing things to do, i am always looking forward to the next adventure. two of my good friends are coming to visit next week and we're off to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. we're camping in Yellowstone. wish us luck!
till next time.