It is only about a two hour drive to Grand Teton National Park. The first part is still in the wild open landscape that I love so much, then it is lake view time.
I must stop! I need a place to stop on the side of the road. I must capture my emotions right now as they rush through my heart. They are ripping me apart in the most wonderful way I could imagine.
I love listening to my music as I drive, it adds extra freedom to my soul. I have a beautiful view of the lakes. The song Bliss (I Am the Light of My Soul) by Sirgun Kaur and Sat Darshan Singh is starting to play. Sandra shared this song one evening while we sat around the fire when our little group camped in Joshua Tree NP. I liked the song right away and added it to my favorite list.
It's a long song, and as I sing along to the simple words.
I am the light of my soul
I am beautiful
I am bountiful
I am bliss
I am, I am
It happens!!! Without any warning, I burst into tears I longed for, the cry I knew would free my soul. Thank you, Sandra. I love you, my friend.
I know then that I must share a post I have written over the last week, but I am struggling if I should publish it. It's so deep and vulnerable that I feel like I will be standing in front of the universe raw and naked. I promised myself to keep my journal open and honest; I hope to get the courage to do so.
Oh, wow, oh wow! I know I am going to love you, Grand Teton National Park. You can never take the mountain girl out of me.
As I entered Grand Teton NP, the view changed to the stunning mountain range and blue lakes.
Not having the time to do homework and research as I always do puts me at a disadvantage. I always appreciate the suggestions I get on my posts from travel groups I belong to on Facebook.
That is how I got to know Anca. Anca reached out back when I was traveling through Canada and suggested a few places for me to explore. One thing led to another, and we are Facetiming for almost an hour talking about our love of nature, hiking, and the fear that comes with being a solo hiker. She is definitely more hard core than I am. She is an inspiration!
If you recall, Lee-Ann and I started our remote friendship back in November. Lee-Ann worked in Grand Teton NP, a few years ago and suggested I stop at Jenny Lake store to get all the information I need by speaking to Lara.
Who needs to do any homework? Speaking with Lara and having some knowledge ahead of time from Anca, I feel like an expert (just kidding).
I only have time for a short hike since it is already after two in the afternoon. I hike to Taggart Lake (Lara's favorite hike). I get why Lara finds this place so peaceful.
My next stop is the Mormon Row Historic District. I love those historical places. I stand on the wooden fence and close everything around me to go back in time. I can totally see myself living here. I even found my little cabin. It is too bright to take a picture of the famous barn. I will stop back again since it is on my way to Gros Ventre Campground, where I am camping tonight.
Driving with "my home" gives me the gift of eating dinner wherever I park while enjoying the day. This day comes to its end at Schwabacher Landing as Mount Grand Teton reflects on the water.
I want to start my day early. I have a long hike today to Cascade Canyon. I follow Lara's recommendation and skip the taxi boat in the going direction so I can stop at Moose Pond to have a chance to see a moose.
I am up by five thirty. It is still dark outside, but I love it when the moon is my flashlight. An owl above me asked me why I am up so early. I tell him I want to witness the magic that happens when the moon and the sun go for a dance.
I have thirty minutes of driving, but it is truly a magical time. It turns out I am not the only person thinking this way. The road is packed with lights from so many cars on the road.
I find a corner to park my car, where I can have a bit of privacy since I still need to wash up a bit. It amazes me how much I am able to pack into my car and have everything I need; even a faucet. I make breakfast and lunch and am ready to start my hike.
My hike starts along the beautiful Jenny Lake. When I get to Moose Lake, I have the privilege of watching a moose standing in the shallow water while eating his breakfast. I am thinking of the phrase...'The early bird gets the worm.'
The hike takes you to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point before you get to the Cascade Canyon. You know you are getting to Hidden Falls as the water drumming gets more robust, and the falls get out from their hidden spot. What a beautiful waterfall cascading on so many levels.
After the waterfall, there is a short climb on a rocky path before you get to Inspiration Point, where the view goes far to the valley across Jenny Lake. I hike a bit further before I enter Cascade Canyon, and the view opens to spectacular scenery. I am most fascinated with Mount Owen (the second-highest peak in the Teton Range). As I hike further into the canyon, I get closer to view this grand beauty. Its peak is 12,933 feet. No wonder snow is still nestling up there.
I hike until AllTrails shows me I have already hiked almost seven miles. I still need to trek back, and I don't know how many more miles until I get to the taxi boat. I am trying hard to slow down with the mileage on my feet. At this time of day, the trail is a traffic jam. By the time I got to the boat, I had hiked over ten miles.
I am happy I followed Lara's suggestion step by step and got the most out of Grand Teton NP. I stopped at the store again to thank Lara for helping me make my short visit to Grand Teton unforgettable!
I know I have so many miles to cover before I can reach home. Even though it is already late afternoon, I decided to get behind the wheel and start my drive to Badlands National Park. It is about an eight hour drive and I am not planning to do it in one day. I also want to catch up on my writing, which is becoming an important part of me.