Sunday, September 09, 2012

Grand Tetons

This blog is dedicated to "mapping the universe from a Christian perspective."  How did we overlook the Grand Tetons up to this point?

When John was young, he used to ask to go to Idaho.  Finally we did, a month ago, and I asked, "Why Idaho?"  "It was the next thing on the map," he explained.

The thing after that is Wyoming. 

We camped about 30 miles south of Jackson, in a campground between the road and the Snake River, but closer to the former.  We found a place to go down to the river, where the current swirled around a bar into a pool, pouring across the bar, and then upstream.  It took a little hard swimming to overcome the wash across the bar, but when I did, it turned out to be made of rounded little rocks in different light shades of yellow, purple, ochre.  John and James brought a log to their assistance to conquer the bar. 

A little surprised that I slept that night, so close to a road that had some traffic still, we woke early the next morning, packed up, and headed into Jackson for breakfast at McDonalds.  It was a little cloudy, but as we drove north, the Tetons began to reveal themselves.  We parked at Lupine Meadows (most of the flowers had already bloomed), and went for "a little hike."  But after the parking lot, the mountains hid behind ridges and pines (some fir and a local spruce).  Faced with a fork in the road, James was outvoted, two to one, and we attacked a long series of serious switchbacks.  Too bad, I told myself several times on the way up, that we hadn't bothered to bring more than one bottle of water, and no lunch.  We grabbed at sweet little blue huckeberries when they began to appear, few and far between. 

After ten thousand switchbacks -- "like a sheep's intestines," as the Chinese say -- passing some Spanish hikers, and meeting a small group of Italians, we arrived at Surprise Lake.  The sign said 9520 feet, so we'd gained more than 3000 feet on a casual hike after breakfast.  Central peaks of the Tetons came into view as we approached the little lake, and especially walking around its east side, spectacular pinnacles more like the granite fingers of the earth.  The big surprise for me about the lake, is that it wasn't too cold to swim in, which we did with delight. 

No comments: