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Whirlwind Weekend – Experiencing Grand Teton National Park

Posted on Oct 24, 2012 by in Domestic, Travel | 2 comments

Grand Teton is the yin to Yellowstone’s yang.

While Yellowstone is visceral , energetic and raw, the energy that pervades Grand Teton is contemplative and quiet. In the days leading up to our trip, I tried to research Yellowstone’s sister park and would often come across descriptions of Grand Teton as essentially a pretty place that you pass through en route to Yellowstone. Some even say that you only need to budget about an hour to drive through the park and see the major sights. To do that, however, would be a major folly.

Grand Teton may sit in Yellowstone’s shadow, like a patient, understated older sister, but its gentle trails and placid lakes provide entry into a quiet, feminine beauty that must be experienced in order to be understood. In fact, alongside those same reviews that paint the park as a second-runner up to the glory of Yellowstone were a few obscure references to Grand Teton being the grounding energy that keeps Yellowstone’s explosive energy in check. That, I believe.

Following our long, hectic day of driving and touring Yellowstone from dawn till dusk on Saturday, there was nothing really planned for our Grand Teton excursion. A stop at the visitor’s center, a chat with the ranger to get recommendations, even time to take in the 15-minute park movie (in a large, state of the art showroom where Mr. Travelbypoints and I were the only viewers) and a few lazy walks along stumbled upon trails, that was our day. Thinking back, I can’t help but laugh at how the cadence of the day was reflective of the contemplative energy of the park. There was conversation and movement, to be sure, but the overall mood during our exploration was one of observation, listening and being present.

As I was going through the pictures from our day in Grand Teton, I was equally amazed to see that they accurately captured this feeling of quiet that we felt in our travels. The light, the clouds, the colors, they all bring back the peace of that lazy afternoon.

Sometimes words fail to convey experience, so I leave you with a few pictorial vignettes that touched our hearts during our short time at Grand Teton. I hope you will find them as lovely as we do and take the opportunity to one day experience the beauty of Grand Teton for yourself.

Grand Teton in the Fall

One of the first views that made us stop to reflect…

Grand Teton in the Fall

Walking down a random trail…

Grand Teton in the Fall

Hiking through the forest (beware of bears!)

Grand Teton in the Fall

Mr. Travelbypoints gets his feet wet…

Grand Teton in the Fall

Our private picnic spot by the lake

Grand Teton in the Fall

The view that took my breath away (Oxbow Bend)

Grand Teton in the Fall

Another view of Oxbow Bend with the Teton Range in the background

Grand Teton in the Fall

A colorful landscape…

Grand Teton in the Fall

Elegant and hardy aspens…

Grand Teton in the Fall

Walking towards a mountainside viewpoint…

Grand Teton in the Fall

Contemplating the Tetons in the distance…

Grand Teton in the Fall

Feeling tiny…

Grand Teton in the Fall

View of the valley…

Grand Teton in the Fall

Another moment of reflection…

Grand Teton in the Fall

Strolling String Lake…

Grand Teton in the Fall

String Lake reflection

Grand Teton in the Fall

Time to go home..

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  • americantaitai

    “Grand Teton is the yin to Yellowstone’s yang.”  Lovely prose, lovely photos.  Sounds like you guys had a full and rewarding weekend on your National Parks binge!  Welcome home!!    

    • http://www.travelwhimsy.com/ Prana

      That’s a big compliment coming from you! Thanks! :)  It was good to be home after a rather insane round of nature sightseeing.  Binge indeed!  What’s the tonic for that?