Sunday, August 23, 2009

Grand Tetons, part 1: I’m missing the best vacation ever right now…

Every 2 years, my 2 favorite families (the P’s & B’s) spend one week in the most gorgeous place on earth… the Grand Tetons. As this is my favorite place to visit, I long ago promised myself that I would never miss the Grand Teton trip. However, the P’s & B’s pulled a fast one and went last year, in an “off year,” and are now there for the 2nd year in a row. As I’m far away in Europe with only expensive last-minute air fares to get me there, I’ve had to miss both trips… so sad.

The Grand Tetons national park is not well known, especially in comparison to its twin, Yellowstone. However, it has some of the most gorgeous natural scenery in the world. This is especially true if you love the outdoors and cowboys. Surrounding the Teton mountains is a flat valley with a river that snakes through it (appropriately called the Snake River). The Tetons pierce out of the valley in a jagged Alp-like manner (or “Teton-like,” if you prefer the French terminology). The tops of the Tetons are covered in glaciers, the bottoms are covered in alpine meadows (full of wild flowers), Aspen groves, pine groves, mountain lakes & stream, hot springs and grass land. Animals like buffalo, moose, deer and other small critters are plentiful. In the 1940’s, the park was made particularly famous by the photographer Ansel Adams who captured the stunning scenery in black & white photographs. The most famous photo being “The Tetons & Snake River.”

The Grand Tetons offers so many activities for the outdoor lovers: hiking, rafting, canoeing, biking, swimming, horseback riding, visiting the geysers of Yellowstone, boating, trips to the local town of Jackson Hole, attending a rodeo or demolition derby (if you’re lucky!), or attending a play or concert. Skiing is also available in the winter… it has always been a goal of mine to go skiing here in the winter. If you’re a town-lover, there are many things to do/see in Jackson Hole, the local town. There is good shopping, fun dining, an old fashioned theatre playing musicals and an annual music festival. The best part of the town experience happens at the end of summer: the rodeo and demolition derby! If you have never attended a rodeo or a demolition derby, you are missing life. Sitting in the stands cheering as people get muddy is very entertaining. FYI, the car that has the most room to be compacted, like a caddie or a station wagon, will always win in a demolition derby.

I dream of this week every year. Thus, I’m very upset that I’m not there. I keep wondering who will encourage you all on the hikes and to beat you at the nightly game of poker? :) Next year I will join. Preferably, let’s go at the end of July so that we are there for the rodeo!

*The pic above is a pic of the Grand Teton (on the left) and Mt. Moran (on the right) at sunset, taken from the Jackson Lake Lodge. Clicking on the link will make it larger.

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