The last week and a half of January, I had the absolute pleasure of giving my good friends from Vermont, Eric & Liz McCarthy, a place to stay on their adventure to the Tetons. I don’t think I can even begin to explain how excited I was to see them. I don’t think I’ve seen them since September or October. I counted down the days until they got here, and tracked their flight on my phone for the hours of their travel leading up to Idaho Falls.
Let me just make a side note that since moving to Idaho, I haven’t had much luck meeting new people. It gets a little lonely in this small town. There’s not much of a night life, and even if there were, I’ve got a pretty set schedule of going to bed around 8:30pm in my ripe old age of almost 28.
Upon Liz and Eric’s arrival, their Toyota 4×4 rental pulled into our driveway with about 3 months worth of food and wine that they brought, surprise Lake Champlain Chocolates, Cabot Cheese, a Batman Sandwich from Vermont Sandwich Company, and a half bottle of Brandy in the center console left from previous renters. You would think they were trying to feed 100 starving children or something with all of that food. I don’t think we’ve had that much food in our house…well…ever. Turns out, Eric sneaks to the kitchen every night for a 2am meal. I would say snack, but I really don’t believe he just eats a snack. I’m pretty sure it’s a plate full of leftovers and dessert. I wouldn’t be surprised if he drank a cup of coffee after that too. I have yet to understand how he can eat and go back to sleep in the middle of the night. Blows my mind.
So weather wise on a vacation to the mountains for skiing and other adventurous activities, I don’t think they could have picked a better time. They some how flew in during a slight break in the storm, and got here right after probably 3 feet of snow and before another foot or 2. Snow conditions on the mountain were pretty incredible with the exception of some wind packed areas.
The first day of their trip, Rory and I took them up to Grand Targhee to go skiing and snowboarding. Aside from the whiteout conditions, it was pretty spectacular. I think the amount of snow surprised them both, in a holy-crap this-is-awesome-but-my-legs-are-killing-me sort of way. We played for a while, and then somehow ended up in the Trap Bar. That night, everyone was fairly exhausted, but ready for a new day of adventures to come.
The next day was awesome! I woke Liz and Eric up REALLY EARLY. They said they didn’t mind and that they were excited, but I secretly think that 5-something was a little early after a long day of skiing. Either way, we got dressed and ready to go, got in the Toyota, and started to drive to Teton Pass all before the sun even thought about coming up. We stopped for breakfast in Wilson, WY at a bagel shop. The bagels there reminded me of home. They made them fresh every morning. So good. We ate while we rode in the truck and kept on heading towards Jackson. Our plan for the day was to search for animals at first light in Grand Teton National Park, stop in to see the Ranger’s station and some museums, cross country ski to Jenny Lake, and then to go on a horse drawn sleigh ride through the elk refuge. Looking at it now, after typing all of that out, I have no idea how we really thought we were going to accomplish all of that in one day. We definitely made a really good effort though. We ended up driving through the park and seeing elk, wild buffalo, and moose, which was awesome. We stopped at the Kelly Warm Springs which is a natural warm spring right off of the side of the road. It’s so neat because it’s a little pond and stream with snow all around, but the water feels like a nice warm bath. You can even see bubbles coming from under the stones at the bottom of the pond. Really cool.
Driving around Grand Teton National Park was so fun that we decided to keep driving north to Jackson Lake. Rory and I had driven up that way once when we first moved out here. It was beautiful. This time, the lake was frozen and the clouds were finally breaking. The sky was opening up and letting the majesty of the Tetons peek through. It was just enough to get an idea of the size and grandeur of the mountain range, but left the imagination to want more. We kept driving staring intently at the mountains and the surrounding landscape. Liz found a cool little part of the Snake River that curved next to the road with a line of ducks swimming and diving for food. We pulled over to take pictures. The view from there was incredible and the ducks were so cute. They paddled around in single file lines along the white ribbon of snow that banked the river.
After driving so much, we figured there was no way we were going to have time to cross country ski the 9 mile loop to Jenny lake, so we went into Jackson and had some lunch. Once we were done, we headed toward the elk refuge and signed up for the sleigh ride.
The sleigh ride was so awesome! Our tour guide, Jordan, led our horse drawn sleigh (drawn by Jack and Jill) out into the refuge were thousands of wild elk were hanging out eating, laying down, and playing. He pulled us up as close as possible to some of the biggest sets of antlers I’ve ever seen in my LIFE. We learned a lot about the elk and got to take tons of pictures (and in my case, like usual, too many pictures). After the sleigh ride was over, we headed back over Teton Pass, and went home.
Day number three, four, and five were kind of a blur to me, because I had to work. Liz and Eric came up to Grand Targhee to try out skiing again and luckily I got to get out of work a bit early to snowboard with them. The next day, they went on a snowmobile tour of Yellowstone. They got to see Old Faithful which I am very much jealous of. I’m pretty sure they also went cross country skiing at Grand Targhee too, which they got some really neat pictures from.
Day six and seven were spent skiing and snowboarding at Jackson Hole and walking around the town of Jackson itself. Our time was spent making some great turns on the mountain on a beautiful bluebird day, and shopping in town in the evening. We even got to see a dogsled race in Jackson which was pretty awesome!
Day eight was their last day here. We went to Jackson again and finished up some shopping. Souvenirs and whatnot. Found some gorgeous jewelry and other trinkets and Liz bought a cowboy hat. :) I was sad to even think of them leaving because it was so nice to have had them here.
They left the following morning…early. Like, earlier then we even get up for work. So early that it might as well have been Saturday night instead of Sunday morning. They were so quiet leaving, that I didn’t even hear them go. I woke up and they had left. I’m kind of happy that they didn’t wake us because I would have been a mess I’m sure. I miss them so much already and can’t wait to see them again.
Monday though, little Davit (for those of you unfamiliar, little Davit is my big, little brother, David) comes. I. AM. SO. EXCITED. I’m sure there will definitely be a blog to follow that visit too! But as for now, enjoy the pictures attached to this one!