Grand Teton National Park

Tall, dark, craggy and still half covered in ice and snow, the Teton mountains look more oppressive (and impressive) than any mountains I’ve seen before. They tower over a wide valley of lakes surrounded by sagebrush, grasses and wildflowers.

We rented bikes and rode on the bike path from Dornan’s to Jenny Lake. Biking was the perfect pace to take in the epic scenery. We strolled part way around the lake, sheepishly calling out “Hello, Bear!” as recommended so that we wouldn’t startle any bears as we were hiking. Jim did this in his best American accent so the bears would be sure to understand.

Our first day in the Tetons we saw a moose, elk, a fox, and a very large and cute rabbit with white feet, but no bears.

The next morning we got up early and headed to Yellowstone to secure a campsite before the weekend crowd showed up (see Jim’s Yellowstone post to hear about Yellowstone).

We came back down to the Tetons after a few days in Yellowstone. While Yellowstone is definitely worth a visit, we liked the Tetons much more—we thought the landscape was more beautiful, the park more manageable, and easier to enjoy when you aren’t packed in with so many people the way you are in Yellowstone.

We hiked through fields of wildflowers, past small lakes, through tall pines and clouds of mosquitos and were rewarded with another view of the mountains. Along the trail we hiked with a woman who had started out alone, but was a little worried about hiking by herself in bear country. Still didn’t see any bears!

After the warm and buggy hike we went for a swim in String Lake, the warmest of all the lakes in the park, but still cold enough to take your breath away when you get in.

When we returned to our campsite in Yellowstone by Lewis Lake we were treated to this sunset over the lake.

Our original planned route from here was to head up to Glacier National Park, across to Washington and down through Oregon to California.

Since Truck’s breakdown took nearly two weeks (and a large chunk of cash), we decided to shorten our route, and go south from here, to Salt Lake City and over to California from there. We’ll visit Oregon and Washington as a separate trip sometime in the future.

This means we’ll be “home” in about a week! But we don’t have a home yet—as soon as we get back we’ll be looking for a rental in Joshua Tree.



Melissa is the co-pilot, list-maker, and truck-packing-tetris-master of the trip. She hopes to do yoga in the fresh air every morning of the trip, weather permitting. At Apple Canyon Designs, she’s the project manager and copywriter, as well as working with Jim on photography and video.