Last year for part of the summer we worked at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming and this year we decided to spend the whole summer there. We needed to be in the Tetons by mid-May and choose to take our time making our way north. We left Mesa on the first of May to start our two week road trip, making four stops along the way, seeing friends, and getting in some hiking and biking.
Vegas: This was our first stop and though we have stayed in Vegas a few times since being on the road, we hadn’t seen all the area has to offer so we agreed to check out a couple of new sites: Mount Charleston and the Hoover Dam, along with returning to Red Rock Canyon (but seeing a new area) and seeing a couple of our friends.
Mount Charleston is a wonder; an almost 12,000 foot mountain that is snow covered for
more then half the year, home to an evergreen forest with towering cliffs, canyons, and waterfalls….all within less then an hours drive from Vegas. We hiked the Mary Jane trail which was a short but steep hike, powering though the many switchbacks, stepping through some snow till we reached the end, where we were rewarded with waterfalls, a little cave and great views.
Before heading over to the Hoover Dam, we went on a hike minutes away from the dam. The Liberty Bell Arch trail went under the freeway, through a reservoir, passed old mining activity before the natural arch was seen.
We continued on till we reached the summit, having views of the Colorado River and the endless colorful sandstone that stretched on as far as our eyes could see.
We drove to the Hoover Dam after the hike and the dam is an interesting place to visit. It was constructed during the Great Depression and at the time was the largest concrete structure in the world and has been providing power to three states since the completion in 1936. We walked along the top the dam and looking down you get a real feel for the 724 foot height. A new bridge and bypass highway was completed in 2010 which rerouted vehicles so they do not have to cross over the hairpin dam. We walked along the new bridge and saw the other side of the dam. We continued on our tour to see Lake Mead, a man made lake created due to the Hoover Dam.
St George, Utah: This part of the county is so pretty with picturesque mountains backing vivid red rock. There is so much to do and see in this area that it’s sometimes hard to choose what to do so this time we did something new: a bike ride in hopes to bike to Snow Canyon State Park. Hope being the key word because we parked 5 miles away from the park and after 30 minutes into our bike ride we realized the hills were just too much and we still had a long ways to go. We had to turn around but we still had a fun time and didn’t mind that Mother Nature kicked our butts. The next day we saw our friends we
met in Washington State and we always enjoy seeing them, sometimes going on new adventures or just relaxing but always swapping adventure stories, eating good food and getting in lots of laughs.
Provo, Utah: This was a quick stop for us as we stocked up on food supplies for our stay at the Tetons (no Costco and Super Target there) and tested our hiking strength by hiking the famous “Y” trail (which we have done many times before). A short trail at 1.1 mile one way but steep as we gain 1,102 feet, ending at 6266 feet above sea level. This is a local trail by Brigham Young University and at the top there is a giant white “Y” that is the insignia of BYU.
Pocatello, Idaho: We were going today stay here a few days and go to Crater of the Moon National Monument but the weather was turning bad so we cut our trip a day short. Crater of the Moon is a large lava field so instead of driving the hour and half there, we went to lava field close to us that was off the highway. The sport trail reveled sage brush, black lava, and to our surprise, a huge snake, which just crossed our path like we were not even there. This area is pretty and diverse: wheat fields to rolling hills to farms and the weather is very extreme, below -30 in the winter and over 100 in the summer.
Grand Teton: After driving a total of 16 hours and 1,000 miles, gaining 7,000 feet in elevation, we were greeted at Grand Teton by our friends and co-workers, along with evergreens, elk, bison, snow, gorgeous mountains and the smell of Christmas. We are all set up, armed with winter hats and gloves, the camera is ready to take lots of photos, and our hiking boots are geared up as we begin our second season in this beautiful area!