Monday, July 17, 2006

Part 2: Lost in the Tetons

Day 2

Teton Village, Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Wake up and see beautiful, green slopes in the backyard. Checkout and get out, and discover that this is a one-street town. Rich tourists all over the place. Posh hotels. An antique car auction in progress. We are a little confused; all this opulence doesn't make sense, isn't this just a small little town outside a national park? What are we missing? Winch. Oh yes, ski resort. This place's apparently a ski resort of some sort. We walk over to Snake River lodge to get some breakfast.

MR: Table for three please.
Waiter: Sorry ma'am, we are closed for lunch.
MR: But its only 10.20.
Waiter: Yes, but we close at 10 AM as you can see here.
MR: Hmm, is there any other nearby where we can grab food?
Waiter: Yes, if you walk up this hill here, the Four Seasons will be open for breakfast until 11 AM
MR: The what?
Waiter: The Four Seasons. Right up this hill.
MR: This place has a Four Seasons? Middle of Nowhere, WY has a Four Seasons, ha ha.
Bill: Apparently, it is not exactly Middle of Nowhere. I read this in the hotel brochure but thought they made it up
Me: Made up what?
Bill: Jackson Hole is the fourth most prosperous county in the United States
MR: Goodness! Anyway, think we should go check out Four Seasons. We have to eat right?
Me: Of course.

Two hours later, after a long, leisurely brunch at the Teton Village Four Seasons, Bill, MR and I enter Grand Tetons National Park. The Tetons are the youngest range in the family of mountains that includes the Grand Canyon, and the mountains in this range have no foothills. Lush green slopes, halfway up the mountains, the green's gone and snow's taken over. Much more beautiful that anything we had seen at Yellowstone the day before.

We decide to head North to Jackson Lake for a hike around the lake, and then get back to the Jenny Lake and hike up to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. Jackson Lake is very pretty, but the supposed hike is actually a mile-long stroll along the lake. We decide to go canoeing instead, and soon in three men in a boat fashion, we are going around in circles. While other canoes are happily speeding past us, we take our time and claim to enjoy the scenary. We get the hang of it after sometime, and we are cruising along different inlets amazed at our rowing skills. Very impressive, we think. We could easily make the Cambridge rowing team, Bill claims. MR performs some neat acrobatic feats to shoot some pictures.

Me: Isn't is time to turn back? We have been here for an hour, I think.
MR: Yeah, we should. It is quite late and we have to do Jenny Lake too. Lets turn back.
Bill: Yep, we have to go around this island and we should see the visitor center.
MR: Yep, lets see, twenty five strokes and we should be around the island. Go.

Twenty five strokes later, we are around the island. Happiness. We did it. But the visitor center is nowhere to be seen. Another island is there though.

MR: Looks like we did hazaar distance. It must be around this island. Lets go.

Around the second island, and we see a third one. But there are no inlets North of us. Which means we are in the open bay. The wind's blowing the other way, and the waves are becoming bigger. No other canoes can be seen. Only motorboats whose wakes nearly topple us. We are utterly lost.

Me: I think we are lost. We will call for help.
Me: You guys think we should call for help?
Me: This map doesn't say anything. I do not know which way to go. And my arms are dead.
Me: Guys, are you even listening?

Bill and MR both have the same serene look on their faces.

Me: So do you know where we are?
Bill and MR: No
Me: So we should do something right? We will get toppled over soon by these waves. We are going to die.
MR: Do she always get so hyper over everything?
Bill: Yeah, she does
Me: Dudes, this is my life!
MR: Oh, enough drama! I think this is the one. We should see the visitor center if we go around this one.
Me: Okay lets go. If we don't see the visitor around this bend, we will call for rescue.
Bill: Whatever

Around third island, and all we see are two fishing boats. We row over to one and ask them for directions. They cannot believe that we could get lost in the lake. Stifling laughter, they tell us to cross more islands and then follow the bank. And thus, three hours after we originally set out to conquer the lake, we are back on the shore - exhausted but elated. MR and I show off our bulging biceps to each other.

Next stop: Jenny Lake. We are to take the boat shuttle across the lake, and then a half-mile 250 ft climb up to Hidden Falls, and another half mile to Inspiration Point from where panoramic views are promised. But when we actually get to Jenny Lake, its past six, and the last boat left at six. But we, well, MR is not to be discouraged. The sun won't set until 9.20, she claims. Which means that we could take the 2-mile trail around the lake instead to taking the boat, and then climb up the hill. What if the sun sets, and who knows what creatures live in these jungles, says I. Vetoed. Soon I find myself following Bill and MR into the jungle. The last of the hikers are coming back. We seem to be the only brave people in the entire park heading towards Inspiration Point. Yeah yeah, we make it alright. Totally worth it. Here's Hidden Falls.

(Btw MR, where the hell are pictures that you shot from Inspiration Point? You mean to say after all that risking life comedy, you don't have any pictures?)

Well, the day ain't over yet. We got back down by 9.40 and drove out of the park into Jackson, WY. After searching for an hour for places to eat, we finally had dinner at a sushi place. And then drove like crazy across the Teton Pass, into Idaho Falls, and all the way back to Salt Lake City. Hit the bed at 4.30 AM.

Coming up: Day 3 at Arches / Canyonlands

Unrelated trip notes: Just back from a wonderful weekend in Northern CA. Good wine, great friends and The Tempest in the park. Could not have asked for more.


meditativerose said...

I think the Inspiration point pics didn't make the cut of 70/700 .. you're most welcome to dig through the rest if you'd like though :)

Also, I think you haven't done enough justice to the brunch we had the good fortune to partake of ... that heavenly spread after days and days (well, 2 I guess, but still) of ihops and subways needs to be appreciated more. And I thought you were a fellow foodie ...

And Falstaff - please no jokes about jungle creatures being scared of us, rather than the other way ...

And Veena, if you don't risk life and limb, how do you know you're having a good time??

Sunil said...


I know blog commentators shouldn't be shooting off tips....but there are two absolutely fabulous national parks further up north (but not too far) that are just must-visits.....the Olympic NP (right around Seattle), a "temperate rainforest" that's incredibly beautiful, and Glacier national park, in Montana.

Visit them if you get the first chance. Visit Glacier while there are still some glaciers left in them :-)

Falstaff said...

Veena / MR: Agree with Sunil - why didn't you go to Glacier when you had the chance? I don't know what you people were thinking.

Veena: Nice.

MR: You said it, I didn't. I'm still trying to figure out how Veena and Bill managed to keep the boat afloat after you got into it.

Veena said...

MR: I was going to write all about the food, but just received my credit card bill - did we really spend so much on that food?!

And dude, you don't need your money or what? I haven't seen any Excel sheets yet.

Sunil: Thanks for the tip. Olympic, Cascades, Crater Lake and Glacier are all on my list though I am beginning to realize that it might be a long, long time before I can do them :(

Falstaff: Well, we would have gone to Glacier of you were with us. After all, you were the one rooting for Glacier :)

Jess said...

Oh, I’m envious about your holidays!!!! It’s great!!! Oh……I know how to make you envious!!!! :) Teton Village Four Seasons, which you visited, reminded me about my hollidays on Cyprus!!!! The fact is that I stayed in Limassol Four Seasons and admired the see!!!! The rooms, service, casinos, restaurants, clubs, the see didn’t let me get tired!!! When you’re looking through the windows of the hotel and see this unbelievable game of colors and unforgettable beauty, you understand what you are living for!!! I sincerely wish you to visit this wonderful place of the world!!! It’s really glorious!!!