Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Big Day in the Tetons

So why did we not figure out until the last day that there is free wifi at the luxurious laundromat and shower building at the Colter Bay campground? I'm thrilled, since it means that I can upload the latest blog post and get some more pictures online.

Today was our best day yet in the Tetons, and I feel like we really got to appreciate the awe-inspiring hikes in a family-friendly way. I got an early start, heading out for a 31 mile bike ride up Signal Mountain, about 812' of climbing spread over just under 3.5 miles. This relatively easy climb offered up the best road surface I've ever encountered on a hill climb, and because I finished the climb before 8 am, there was no traffic to contend with. I was really supercharged and soooo wanted to get the Strava KOM for the climb, but I was happy to settle for third.

We got a late start on the hike, but now that the boys both have their fancy hiking poles, they were very motivated to get in one last Teton trail. We retraced our steps over a part of the String Lake trail, and then headed up Paintbrush Canyon, a climb that was a real challenge to poor Leo toward the turnaround point. Still, we managed to climb 1,000', which was a huge accomplishment for the boys. We also a rugged waterfall and some amazing views of the valley below. We saved our picnic lunch for the turnaround point, and shared the scenic spot with about fifteen other hikers, many of whom were camping on the mountain. This idea certainly has the boys intrigued, and I think it won't be long before we'll be doing something more challenging ourselves.

After the 7 mile hike, we visited the top of Signal Mountain (in the van this time) in search of a signal, and finally had a chance to talk to my mom, who was very happy to hear from the whole family. We followed that with a visit to Jackson Lodge, a grand, elegant building with an undiluted old-time charm. We plied the boys with ice cream, and are finally prepared to say our goodbyes to the Tetons and embrace the Yellowstone phase of our great adventure.

Tomorrow morning, if weather cooperates, I'll bike ahead to the Yellowstone border and meet the family by the entrance gate. We're looking forward to the impressive geological features, but also to the motel that follows in five nights.

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