What a hiatus! Last week, through this past Monday, was just an incredible culmination of fantastic moments and awesome memories. I was lucky enough to spend Monday through Thursday exploring beautiful Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park. Sadly Yellowstone was a bit too far to fit into our schedule, but my coworkers and I made the most of our time in Jackson. As previously mentioned, we ventured through Teton National Park, particularly around Jenny Lake and hiking up to Taggart Lake. To say it is stunningly beautiful would be an understatement to end all understatements. Ah – mazing.
The following two days in Jackson were spent primarily in some awesome sessions for the conference I was attending. We met great people
from around the region with good ideas we hope to incorporate into our current work structure. I was able to go for a 5 and a half mile run on Wednesday between conference sessions and dinner. From our hotel, which was located at the very southeast corner of Jackson, right up next to Snow King Mountain (I use the word “mountain” liberally, but apparently it is the steepest north facing ski slope in the US). I followed Snow King Road west until I could hook up with the main road in and out of town, Cache. I ran down this stretch until I was clear out of town, about a mile and a half. Once you emerge from Jackson Hole and are heading north, you run right into the National Elk Refuge, which parallels much of Teton National Park. During the winter months, the locals host actual sleigh rides which allow you to get right up to herds of elk, while explaining the history of the refuge and more about the animals themselves. While that sounds awesome, for that day, running alongside it, without snow and ice, was fine with me!
There’s a fairly new, and outstanding, bike path that follows the edge of the refuge. Now I was not up for renting a bike, so I decided to risk it and run along the path for a while. Some of the views were breathtaking. At this point you are shielded from the Tetons, but on the eastern range are some awesome mountains and formations. The day was perfect, the sky was blue, and it was like being in a world of my own.
The next and last day of the conference, I woke up at 5:50am and jetted out of the hotel to hike up Snow King Mountain. I will give Jacksonians credit: it is steep. I took the Summit Trail three-quarters of the way up (I had to watch my time since I needed to be ready for the morning by 8am), and from there, the views were phenomenal. Suddenly the Teton Range comes into view above the ridge surrounding Jackson Hole. The entire valley invades your view, and it’s like the entire world is resting below your feet. I have gone on plenty of hikes in Colorado, but this vista was particularly enthralling.
My coworkers and I left that afternoon (after a two hour delay spent in the airport – time wasted when we could have done another hike!), and within a few hours our friends Samantha (the lovely Miss BakeNBurn) and her hubby arrived for the most wonderful long weekend ever. Wow, did they spoil us. Our hubbies got to play golf, we basked by the pool, there was some excellent shopping, we went hiking through Castlewood Canyon State Park, we took the cog railway up Pike’s Peak (and made it to the [cloud-covered] top!), we wandered through Garden of the Gods, and topped it all off with their first high-altitude race – my favorite – the BolderBOULDER (I may have already signed up for next year…)! I’ll get into all that later, but the past two weeks have been a reminder of how fun life can be, what great friends I have, and how many amazing places I have yet to explore!
Are you like me – do you take advantage of every moment you have when exploring a new place? What is one place you’ve been to that has just taken your breath away? What did you do for Memorial Day Weekend?