There and Back Again- A Human’s Tale Of Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Big Sky, Montana.

This week I’ve been in Montana and, as I’m sure you can guess from my not so subtle allusion to J. R. R. Tolkien’s famous work, the scenery here is beyond words!  From the mountains, to the valleys, and even the car ride from the airport to the hotel, I have felt like I was in the scenery right out of the LOTR movies or (perhaps more likely) A River Run’s Through It.

The first day, we arrived at the airport at around noon local time, and drove about 40 minutes to our hotel.  When we got there, after staring around in awe, we checked into a suite!  We visited the little gift shop and began talking with the woman Juli.  She told us about the best hiking trails around town, including the lovely (and easy) Ousel Falls trail, and Beehive Basin.

Ousel Falls Trail (2 miles round trip) led us down around a creek, and then up a little ways to the top of a waterfall!  Check out some pictures below!

The next day, we visited Beehive Basin, a 7.1 mile round trip hike to the top of a mountain!  Now, no one would ever accuse me of being athletic, but I did my best!  And boy was it a challenge!  The last mile especially was difficult- the upward grade was pretty intense; it seemed to me that it was more aptly described as ‘climbing’ than ‘walking/hiking’.  However, despite the pain, it was definitely worth it!  At the top of our trek, we found a gorgeous lake in a valley, surrounded by steep mountains.  It was such a beautiful sight that we sat and admired for a long time (once I could breathe again, that is).

On both Tuesday and Wednesday, we took the scenic drive to Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Teton National Park.  Both were unforgettably gorgeous, and we got to see bison and elk!  We learned so much about the potential benefits to the wildfires in the 1980s, as well as all the conservation efforts that were made to ensure great future experiences for both the future generations of humans and wildlife alike!  Besides seeing all the wildlife (and desperately hoping to see a bear!), my favorite part of both expeditions was definitely the hike at Jenny Lake in Grant Teton.  It was a stunning lake, with about a 2 mile (roundtrip) hike to Inspiration Point, which was a little cliff that overlooked the whole entire lake!

Which brings us to today!  Today we had an adventure as we went to Montana Whitewater for whitewater rafting!  Dad and I were put on a small 4-person boat with a very grandfather-grandson duo and a guide named Walker!  We swerved about through various rapids, boulders, and freezing water!  Because the boat was so small, our guide lead us to do various tricks.  Most notably one called ‘bath tub-ing the boat’ which consisted of rowing upriver straight into a rapid that began to dump all its water into the boat.  Once it seemed like we had practically sunk the boat, with water up to our waists, the rapid threw us backwards and with some skillful maneuverings from Walker, we were soon righted, the water drained itself, and we were on our way again!  It was really a great experience despite the cold water!  I was nearly drenched at the end and dad was even worse off than I was, because he FELL IN!  As we glided by a series of rocks, we hit a small one that dad was note bracing for and in an instant, out of the boat he went!  The look of panic on his face and the shock he no doubt experienced at being fully dipped into 55 degree water, said it all!  Still, no harm no foul- dad soon dried off in the warm sun and we ended with quite a story to tell!  If you are ever in Montana, I would highly recommend Montana Whitewater, if you’re interested in a fun adventure!

Tomorrow is our last day here in Montana!  We plan on taking one last hike and relaxing poolside!

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