Exploring the Tetons and Yellowstone by Foot, Kayak, Raft, and Zipline!

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On Sunday students started to arrive in beautiful Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The flight into Jackson Hole is a beautiful one, with the final approach set against the backdrop of the towering Tetons. The airport is in the middle of Grand Teton National Park making a quick start to our adventure. Only a few miles from the airport the Gros Ventre campground served as our home for the first night. After a long day of travel Griffin volunteered to help the cook crew to prepare dinner as quickly as possible for our hungry travelers. Awoken by the yips of nearby coyotes we ate breakfast and broke down camp to spend the day hiking in Grand Teton National Park around Jenny Lake. 

 

Unfortunately, we did have some travel delays and Conor and Phyllis joined the group the next day. However, they did not miss out. They went straight from the airport to meet the group at Jenny Lake and enjoyed their first contact with the Tetons. The sparkling waters of Jenny Lake encouraged the group as we climbed up the serpentine trail to Inspiration Point. The reward was well worth the effort as the group got their first taste of the breathtaking views of Teton Valley. The hike down was made just a little easier for Luke who found a retro ski pole (turned trekking pole) wedged in between some rocks. That afternoon we went to Smith’s buying all of our food for the first few days of the trip. Before we could get too far to our campground in Yellowstone we became aware of a large hot sauce explosion scenario in our trailer. While this set us back a bit D.J. was a big help jumping right into the hot sauce clean up effort. In case there are any hot sauce afficianados amongst you, it was Tapatio. After we got that sorted out we enjoyed a scenic drive through Yellowstone to our campsite in Grant Village. After a rainy evening we got an early start for a hot breakfast before our day Sea Kayaking on Lake Yellowstone. Savannah and Sedley led the way towards a group of coastal hot springs. 

 

Marveling at the geysers we took a quick snack break before Kirsten powered to the front of the group set the pace back to the beach we started on. We learned how to clean off the kayaks and after a very welcome lunch break set off to see the Old Faithful Geyeser. “Old Faithful” is so named due to its regular eruption schedule. The Geyeser erupts reliably every our spewing thousands of gallons of steaming water into the air. The crowd gasped in awe as they witnessed this phenomenal natural performance. While Olivia pulled out her camera and expectantly filmed the geyser for what turned out to be a 20 minute video. After watching Old Faithful we explored the visitor center. The center boasts an extensive museum of about the geologic phenomena of Yellowstone and the massive massive calderas that form it.  Casey found it interesting to learn that 1/4 of all the geysers in the world are found at Yellowstone, within view of the visitors center, while Liza enjoyed comparing the pH’s of everyday substances with the water inside various hot springs.

 

That night the group enjoyed pasta and s’mores around the campfire while spending the last daylight hours tossing a tennis ball and a frisbee around. Evryone slept well that night and we had a slower morning to get ready to explore Yellowstone. We took a road trip up through the park and stopped at several spectacular spots, including the Midway Geyser Basin and the Grand Canyon of he Yellowstone.  We asked a fellow tourist to take a photo of the whole group in front of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone waterfall sandwiched by the staggering walls of the canyon.  We continued winding up the park to our campsite At Mammoth Hot Springs. Trevor expressed a keen interest in getting ice cream , and we decided to indulge by stopping off at an ice cream shop before taking one last walk to explore the unique hot springs at Mammoth.

 

That night stayed warm and we awoke the next morning to a clear sunny day. Perfect weather for zip lining and white water rafting. Addie tried “rodeoing” on the raft. A game in which the guide spins the raft on flat water while the rodeo queen, or king, attempts to stand on the front of the raft. While most of us ended up laughing in the water immediately, Addie expertly stayed on for almost eight seconds- a true cowgirl. 

 

Once everyone was thoroughly soaked for the epic splash wars and relentless rapids. We changed into dry clothes and made the long drive back down to Colter Bay in Gramd Teton National Park. There we enjoyed a dinner of grilled cheese and tomato soup and shared stories by the camp fire before going to bed, exhausted after after a full day and anticipating today’s horsepacking preparation at Triangle X Ranch. We are eagerly awaiting the horsepacking section of our trip.