Phelps Lake

The day after hiking to Jenny Lake, we all decided to go to Phelps Lake – another beautiful lake located in Grand Teton National Park. The hike to Phelps Lake is typically about four miles, starting with an ascent of 500 ft. in elevation before descending a slightly larger distance to the lake’s edge. Most hikers then continue around the lake’s perimeter and stop at the “jumping rock” for some fun before continuing out of the woods to the Rockefeller Preserve–that’s what we did on previous visits.

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Our group, however, decided on a different approach, making the hike slightly longer and more difficult. We started the hike as usual, reaching the Phelps Lake overlook after hiking about a mile.

IMG_0200     IMG_0201Then, as usual, we hiked down to the lake’s edge and made our way around to the “Jumping Rock”.

The “Jumping Rock” is aptly named as many visitors use it as a place to jump into the lake. The rock, which does not appear too intimidating from afar, sits somewhere between 25 to 30 feet above the lake’s surface. Peering over the edge though, the height becomes much more intimidating. In fact, Tyler was the only one in our group to take the leap before we settled down for a lunch break.

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Nonetheless, the view and the cool lake breezes were wonderful and we all enjoyed our time sitting on the “Jumping Rock”. This is where we changed course. Instead of continuing towards the Preserve, we turned back around to ascend the ridge we had previously descended, back up to the Lookout. We were feeling pretty good after our break so we made an effort to push ourselves up the many switchbacks. We quickly broke a sweat, but had a lot of fun doing so.

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After two days of hiking and a total of ten miles covered, we decided to switch up our activities for the next day. Can you guess what we did?

 

Maisie

If you’ve looked at our Instagram account recently, you’ll see that Tyler and I got our puppy! Her name is Maisie and she is a Bernese Mountain Dog. She came from upstate New York and was the runt in a litter of seven. I guess the term, runt, in a Bernese litter is relative since she will still grow to be at least 70 lbs, but that’s not too big for us.

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Since Tyler’s working this week, I’ve quickly come to appreciate what it must feel like to be a new parent, because all of my time seems to be consumed by this little girl. Our first priority is house-training and her mini bladder pretty much necessitates that we take her outside every hour or so. At night, Tyler and I are up every two hours to two and a half hours taking her out to pee as well. Fortunately, the night time routine, while tiring, has gone fairly well and Maisie settles down fairly quickly to go back to sleep once we bring her back inside. Daytime hours have been trickier and we’ve had some accidents, but we’re going to see the vet and start puppy school later this week, which we are confident will help us both get into a smoother routine.

Despite house-training challenges (which we’re told will go on for a while), both Tyler and I feel really lucky to have such a good dog. As I sit and type this Maisie is lying at my feet taking a little nap. She is SUPER cute when she does this and she loves to snuggle when we sit on the floor beside her. When she’s awake, she is also super sweet. In fact, she loves to meet new people. Kids still scare her a little, but she’s all about the adults. We’ve been keeping a running tally and in the few days we’ve had her, she’s met over twenty-five new people! She’s done fabulously with almost every single one.

We’re sure that the next few weeks with continue to be challenging, but also very rewarding. It’s actually pretty funny how much joy we experience every time Maisie goes to the bathroom outside! Who would have thought?!

Jenny Lake

For the past 2 weeks, Jessica and I have been on the move a lot. After stopping in Idaho at Craters of the Moon National Monument, we arrived in Jackson, WY. We were both very excited to reach Jackson because it meant we would have about 10 days with minimal moving. We rented a house with some friends who flew in to meet us in Jackson. After living out of the back of our Prius for 2 weeks, we were pretty psyched to be able to unload our bins.

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After checking out the Jackson Hole Rodeo the night we arrived, we made plans for an easier hike on our first day. We drove to the Jenny Lake trailhead where we took a ferry across the incredible Jenny Lake.

IMG_0121     IMG_0119After traversing the lake (~2 miles) we docked and began the mile long trek past Hidden Falls to Inspiration point. We had a lot to get done in the morning so we were not able to start until the afternoon. By the time we arrived, it was VERY crowded. The Inspiration Point trail is short and spectacular, making it one of the busiest in the park. It was still gorgeous. Half way to Inspiration Point we reached Hidden Falls.

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Our friends (Dan & Melissa and Teddy & Josie) stopped for the obligatory photo in front of the massive falls. This was the earliest in the summer that I had ever been to Jackson. We noticed right away that all of the rivers and falls were much more full than we were used to. So much water was pouring over the falls that we were getting misted the whole time, but it felt great on such a hot afternoon.

IMG_0146     IMG_0148The trail gets more exciting after the falls. It winds up a rocky slope climbing towards the edge a cliff overlooking the lake. The hike isn’t terribly hard, but in the summer heat and the alpine air, you definitely feel it. Eventually we reached Inspiration Point.

IMG_0154 IMG_0157 IMG_0160I have probably been to Inspiration Point a dozen times. Yet, I am always impressed. The muted hues of the valley slice a think line between the blue of the lake and the sky. You could sit on the rocks there and pass the whole day away just looking at the view.

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After soaking in the views and downing some snacks, we started the trek back down to our cars. This time though, we skipped the ferry and walked the 2 miles around the lake. I can’t remember the last time I opted for the walk around the lake, but I highly recommend it when the trails are packed. After leaving the boat dock, the number of other hikers we passed dropped significantly, and the privacy allowed us to enjoy the views that popped up regularly through the lakeside brush.

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There is a reason the hikes around Jenny Lake are some of the most popular in the park. The views were incredible and any hike is always made more fun when it is done with friends.