adventures

summer love it – so many celebrations, spreadsheets & cuddles

This summer was absolutely a whirl-wind. I returned to Idaho just in time for prime hiking season and a summer full of celebrating everyone and everything I adore. While this summer was absolutely delightful and full of so much “love it,” I am now welcoming fall with open arms. I definitely filled my plate with far too many activities, travels, work and obligations, but I just couldn’t say no. It was a summer that just filled my heart with so much of what I feel to be home.

When I left Idaho last fall I knew that I was leaving a truly special place with so many people that I just love. At first I felt like I was abandoning all that I love and care for. Abandoning what I define to be myself and where I feel most at home. However as the year past, I realized that going back to Grad School was truly one of the only decisions I have made for myself. Obviously others were in mind but it is something that I am doing for me, for my passions and for my dreams.

I recently came across a quote that just resonated on every level. It defined the mixed feelings of leaving that I have felt the last year. The quote is that “your growth is not an abandonment of others.” I think that all this time I have felt that by growing and changing that I was abandoning what and where was home for me. So going into this last year of school (ever!), I am going to truly appreciate growth and change for what it is. It isn’t an abandonment of others or those that you love or where you call home, it is just trending in a different yet positive direction.

So without further ado or more sappy thoughts, here is what I just LOVED this summer!

so many snuggles. While I love the boy, love my mother and all my family, and love all of our friends in Idaho, I was probably most excited to have (almost) full access to unlimited Maude Pod snuggles. She is just the apple of my eye, the sweetest little girl ever and kinda a sneaky, spoiled gypsy. There is nothing I love more than her snuggles, sloppy, wet mouth kisses and how much love she truly gives us. But to prove I’m not a crazy dog mom, I also documented people and goat (obvi) snuggles too. So much love this summer!

morning coffee snuggles

morning coffee snuggles

getting out of bed is pretty tough...

getting out of bed is pretty tough…

helping mom with laundry!

helping mom with laundry!

i just cant even!

i just cant even!

img_3697

my little lupine lady

my little lupine lady

these two <3

these two ❤

post-wedding naps with the boy

post-wedding naps with the boy

goat snuggles!

goat snuggles!

more goat snuggles!

more goat snuggles + the modern day pioneer woman ❤

img_9412

img_2876

my favorite adventure buddy since day one

my favorite adventure buddy since day one

this guy + idaho <3

this guy + idaho + our friendly photo bomber

being a lady boss. This summer I had two incredible opportunities for internships within the healthcare administration world. I loved both opportunities and couldn’t have asked for a better summer. However doing two internships per week in two different geographic locations probably was a bit much. At times I felt spread way too thin but wouldn’t have changed the opportunities for more sanity. That being said, it wasn’t all work and no play, as displayed by just a few of my lady boss mirror selfies…

img_4742

img_4747

img_4746

img_4745

img_4743

celebrating mrs millemann. To make sure we sent off the, at the time, future Mrs. Millemann off in style, we had her bachelorette party in Austin, Texas. As most of us had never been there and they love country, it was the perfect place to celebrate. While at times it appeared it was a frat party and spray tans were sweating off everywhere as it was SO hot and humid, it was truly so much fun. It was a never ending pool party and the perfect girl’s weekend.

To make sure she was truly going off in style, we surprised Krista with a somewhat last minute weekend before the wedding at the Meadow Creek Inn and Spa in Stanley. We hiked to Heart Lake with a golden pegasus, ate way too much cheese, hot-springed, dinned until we were seriously full and tipsy, danced the night away and stayed up talking until 4:00 am. It was ridiculously fun and exhausting and the perfect final celebration!

Cheers, to the now, Mrs. Millemann! (more on that to come…!)

invitations for austin!

invitations for austin!

the frat crew

the frat crew

img_2745

img_0584

you can never have enough flamingos…

no words

no words

again, no words

again, no words

img_2780

love this lady!

love this lady!

floaties are obviously a necessary hike belonging

floaties are obviously a necessary hike belonging

img_3346

pretty much my favorite place ever <3

pretty much my favorite place ever ❤

img_3513

so pretty!

so pretty!

hindsight is always 20/20

hindsight is always 20/20

idaho galore. Obviously no Idaho summer of mine would be complete without some serious Idaho adventures. While I didn’t get out on as many hikes or adventures as I would have liked, it’s the quality that counts. And since pictures say a thousand words…

hiking selfies!

hiking selfies!

img_9424

the lupine <3

the lupine ❤

#whitegirlsjumping

#whitegirlsjumping

point proven...

and again!

baldy hikes + champs for a favorite lady!

baldy hikes + champs for a favorite lady!

img_1256-1

the brass blossom does the squash blossom farm

img_1258

love this crew!

love this crew!

more stanley adventures!

more stanley adventures!

sawtooth lake

sawtooth lake

img_1556

good morning chase & krista!

good morning chase & krista!

some fish, some take photos

some fish, some take photos

img_1085

patriotic pie!

patriotic pie!

symphony picnic nights

symphony picnic nights

img_2337

img_2556

moose lake = beyond gorgeous (& straight up a mountain)

moose lake = beyond gorgeous (& straight up a mountain)

img_2838

<3

obvi, no adventure is complete without a jumping photo

obvi, no adventure is complete without a jumping photo

idaho rocky mountain ranch

idaho rocky mountain ranch

img_3099

img_4360

gold + jewels. At the beginning of summer Rocksbox invited me to be a Rocksbox It Girl. I tend to be pretty minimal when it comes to jewelry, mostly because I tend to be allergic to quite a lot of it, so I was a bit skeptical of renting jewelry. However, I have been amazed by my experience with Rocksbox. Essentially you create an account and for $19.00/month you get three pieces to wear and exchange at any time. You can also buy your rentals for a lesser price than retail! Every piece I have received as been in perfect condition and they really pay amazing attention to your style profile.

And while I am not one for sales, if you would like to try a FREE month of Rocksbox you can with the code “taylorsbff8”! It’s a super great deal and you can cancel after your first month at no charge. So if you’re feeling like you need to spice up your fall wardrobe a bit, I would highly recommend it!

img_0235

img_0261

img_0246

img_0244

(please excuse my gnarly crossfit callus!)

img_0243

#lahmanlovebirds. I liked to joke that I was on the “wedding tour” this summer, which is something I wouldn’t have changed for the world. I was so honored when I was asked by my dear (dino) friend Bri to be in her wedding in Vail. After the most incredible bachelorette party in Phoenix with some amazing girls I knew that it was bound to be a ridiculously precious and fun wedding to follow. So I made sure I was done being a lady boss just in time to trek it to Vail to send Mrs. Lahman off in style!

It was the most perfect weekend surrounded by so many friends, love and laughter, almost all of which was captured! It was one of those weekends where you actually felt the love. Not only do Bri and Luke radiate love off of each other (literally, so cute!), but all of their wedding guests and every detail of the wedding showed the many years of love and devotion these two have shared. There could not have been a more perfect celebration for those two so cheers to Mr and Mrs Lahman and love in Vail! (wedding photography by the amazing Teresa Woodhull Photography)

vail hikes/death marches

vail hikes/death marches

img_3087

uber trunk selfies!

uber trunk selfies!

love these ladies!

dynasty

View More: http://teresawoodhull.pass.us/briannaluke

i mean it doesn't get better than these two <3

i mean it doesn’t get better than these two ❤

View More: http://teresawoodhull.pass.us/briannaluke

View More: http://teresawoodhull.pass.us/briannaluke

so much love!

View More: http://teresawoodhull.pass.us/briannaluke

View More: http://teresawoodhull.pass.us/briannaluke

my little dino lady ❤

View More: http://teresawoodhull.pass.us/briannaluke

View More: http://teresawoodhull.pass.us/briannaluke

how every good night should end (please disregard my horrific dance moves...)

how every good night should end (please disregard my horrific dance moves…)

#millemannsIDo. I topped off my wedding tour with my ever so loved, brass blossom boyfriend tying the knot. At one point, someone, somewhere during one of the celebrations asked me if I was going to be sad to be losing my dear friend. This thought had never crossed my mind because even though she may be a “Mrs,” she is still my brass blossom boyfriend and I happen to know that I can find the Mr Millemann all day, every day sitting next to the boy at work. So while everything changed September 17th, nothing really changed at all.

The wedding day was perfect. It was surrounded by days of the most rain Idaho has seen in years, like tsunami style. But the actual day was truly perfect. From the welcome party to the wedding, no detail was left untouched and it was absolutely magnificent. While there is no doubt that all of the details were spectacular, my favorite part of the wedding was how much love and support came from so near and so far to celebrate Mr and Mrs Millemann. There was so much laughter and quite a few tears but it was a day that was truly meant to be. So incredibly grateful and honored to call Mr and Mrs Millemann my friends that are family. (more photos to come!)

img_3748

wedding week hikes

no hike is complete without champagne

no hike is complete without champagne

squad goals

squad goals

img_3833

morning yoga

img_3793

img_3784

typical

typical

img_3910

already smack dab in the middle of their marriage!

already smack dab in the middle of their marriage!

cheers to the amazing couple!

cheers to the amazing couple!

birthday celebrations. After a summer full of so many celebrations and just going full steam, my birthday happened to fall after all of it. All I wanted to do was have a mellow day. And while the actual day wasn’t the best, the night before we crashed the last night of Mr and Mrs Millemann’s “mini-moon” in Stanley for a little bit of celebration. You seriously cannot beat Stanley, Idaho in the fall. We had a casual hot-spring soak for 8, then a delicious soup dinner followed by a roaring game of “Salad Bowl.” Somehow the boys won and it was the perfect way to continue the celebrations of the summer.

cheers to mr and mrs millemann!

cheers to mr and mrs millemann!

the most perfect of birthday celebrations

the most perfect of birthday celebrations

casual din for one!

casual din for one!

So now after the most amazing summer, I am back in Seattle, ready to power through, grow and change, without abandoning all that is wholesome and so full of love in Idaho!

 taylor brass

brass blossom

okinawa islands, japan – the edge of the world

When my aunt invited me to tag along to Japan (specifically to the Okinawa Islands) with her and my cousin about four weeks before the departure date my first thought was, “there is absolutely no way I can make that work.” But after looking at a few flights and day dreaming of being transported to spectacular beaches at the other side of the world I just decided to make it work. Literally the only thing stopping me from going was myself.

And after the beginning of this year I decided a little break wouldn’t be half bad for me. I will probably never be one of those carefree people that throws everything to the wind and just goes with life. I like to plan. I like to plan the future. Or plan it as much as possible that is. I’ve also concluded that it’s okay to be a bit of a crazy, OCD, planner. It’s okay to like (slash love) to plan and have somewhat of an f-ing idea of what I want to happen. It’s okay as long as I’m open to the flexibility of those plans changing.

So in the end I decided I was just going to Japan, if not only for a bit of a brain break from my life, but also to just try to be present. So that is what I did. I went to Japan and attempted to let go. To let go of all of the planning, to let go of living in the future, to let go of living in the past and to let go of all the anger that I feel towards the world for the cruelty that happens everyday.

And when it was all said and done I would say I did a pretty good job. I wasn’t always present or not crazy with anger but I was there. And I tried to live every moment for just being there and being grateful for a new place, a new culture and a new point in life (literally and emotionally).

So here is a look at our INCREDIBLE trip (without any more self realization talk)!

off to japan!

off to japan!

the people. I cannot think of two better travel companions to go to the edge of the world with than my aunt, Heidi, and cousin, Kailey. Kailey was slowly making her way back to the states after being overseas for 9 months. She is now a PADI dive master after mastering all that diving business under the water in Thailand. She also has a tan that most would kill for. Can we all say jealous? And my aunt. She has always been there for me but in the past months has been one of those people that I know I can rely on. She is like a whirling combination of caring, empathy, reasonable and humorous that never stops moving forward. Both also happen to be great travelers.

Another wonderful part of these two ladies are the laughs. There were so many laughs and fits of hysteria had by all of us during our trip. A laugh a day definitely keeps the doctor away.

heidi & i surrounded by the clearest, turquoise water i have ever seen

heidi & i surrounded by the clearest, turquoise water i have ever seen

IMG_0106

IMG_0107

refreshing afternoon drinks in taketomi

refreshing afternoon drinks in taketomi (we were asked to take a picture with a lovely japanese lady, who sat smack dab in the middle of us, shortly after….)

IMG_0482_2

IMG_0483

IMG_0488

trucker hats have infiltrated the furthest reach of the world

trucker hats have infiltrated the furthest reaches of the world

IMG_0557

IMG_0796

please take note of my whiteness in comparison to the best tan i have ever seen

love these ladies

love these ladies

IMG_0825

idaho friends in japan (obviously)

idaho friends in japan (obviously)

IMG_0917

IMG_9810_2

IMG_9910_2

the hottub that was never hot...

the hottub that was never hot…

 

9 months of luggage

9 months of luggage

IMG_0479

the places. Japan. Japan is a new world. I have traveled through Europe and the Americas but Asia, never Asia. I flew from Sun Valley to Los Angeles to Tokyo to Okinawa. I was extremely surprised by the number of Americans on my flight to and from Okinawa (there is a ginormous base on the northern part of the island). Heidi and Kailey arrived a bit after I did and we made our way by bus a bit north on Okinawa to the Western side of the islands. We were tempted by a magnificent hotel and white sand beach.

But after arriving we realized that this hotel was not quite our dream. It was a very large hotel and very infiltrated with knick-knacks and large crowds. It was an adventurous night and we decided to book tickets to Ishigaki the following day. Ishigaki is a part of a smaller set of islands about an hour flight south-west from Okinawa. Rumor has it you can see parts of Taiwan from the islands. While in Ishigaki we stayed at the most magnificent place (after a bit of a miss booking when we booked a hotel in the middle of nowhere with a view of an alley). Side note: booking hotels is hard in Japan. Websites will say every single last room is booked when it looks like no one is at the hotel. Either everyone rolls in on a tour bus later in the evening (which is entirely possible) or the rooms are held by Japanese websites. A little planning of where you want to stay is reasonable if you are considering going to the Okinawa Islands.

Ishigaki and the surrounding islands literally felt like the edge of the world. We rented bikes that were a bit used (to say the least) and explored Ishigaki port one day. We also scooted over to Taketomi by ferry and explored for the day by bike. Taketomi was by far my favorite place of the trip. It has a village with about 300 inhabitants. The roads of made of crushed coral and wide enough for a water-buffalo cart. The island has spectacular turquoise water, white sand beaches with star sand and apparently hundreds of deadly spiders and snakes, none of which we encountered thanks to some lucky stars. If you ever find yourself on Okinawa you must go to Ishigaki and Taketomi. You will not regret it.

And our last night we stayed back on Okinawa by the airport and went out with some Idaho friends. We had a great dinner followed by karaoke singing in a closed bar, with Mana-sans and Tokito, that our Idaho friends had been to before. We were given copious amounts of chips, strawberries and tomatoes, chocolate and sake. If that’s not a great way to end an incredible vacation then I don’t know what is.

IMG_1120

IMG_1124

beach for days

beach for days

star stand from taketomi (we had high hopes of collecting our own sand until we saw a nice man with some for sale!)

star stand from taketomi (we had high hopes of collecting our own sand until we saw a nice man with some for sale!)

the cutest little bar/drink shack in taketomi village

the cutest little bar/drink shack in taketomi village

IMG_0271

bike parking

bike parking

IMG_0329_2

the hotel in ishigaki (it may or may not have been owned by the japanese mafia)

the hotel in ishigaki (it may or may not have been owned by the japanese mafia)

IMG_0477

IMG_0568

IMG_0651

 

IMG_0677

IMG_0697

 

exploring at low tide

exploring at low tide

we were kindly given slippers upon entering our room

we were kindly given slippers upon entering our room

shoes off, slippers on = very japanese of us

shoes off, slippers on = very japanese of us

ishigaki street market

ishigaki street market

IMG_0892

IMG_0893_3

 

IMG_9926_2

chairs wear socks in japan

chairs wear socks in japan

the world peace bell in ishigaki for a non-nuclear world

the world peace bell in ishigaki for a non-nuclear world

IMG_0908_3

IMG_0907

our handy companion bikes

our handy companion bikes

IMG_0921

mongrove forests

mangrove forests

IMG_1021

IMG_1060

IMG_1047

IMG_9747_2

the edge of the world

the edge of the world

 

the new friends. We made a ton of new friends in Japan. Upon arriving on Ishigaki there was significantly less English spoken. But we got by quite fine. Most people tended to look at us like we were possibly the three craziest, whitest ladies that they had ever seen and I think most questioned how we had gotten so far without a lick of Japanese or a clue of what we were doing. But we didn’t let that stop us.

We quickly realized that the Japanese are very reserved and quiet. We were likely neither. There were very few public displays of emotion that we encountered. But after starting to say “hi” to locals that we passed on our bikes most of the locals would literally light up and give us the most genuine and beautiful smiles. Interacting with little to no verbal communication was literally one of my favorite parts of the day. Imagine the hotel clerk who also cleaned the windows and the pool, gardened and bartended, depicting a water buffalo with his hands and head after we told him we were going to Taketomi. How can that not be a highlight of your day?

Here are the many friends we made along the way!

a horse with an afro at the edge of the world

a horse with an afro at the edge of the world

 

water buffalo are friends too

water buffalo are friends too

 

water buffalo are friends, not food

water buffalo are friends, not food

IMG_0349

IMG_0351

IMG_0356

IMG_1074

i asked in english if i could ride with him, he didn't respond so i gestured and everyone laughed (how all communication went in japan)

i asked in english if i could ride with him, he didn’t respond so i gestured and everyone laughed (story of how all communication went in japan)]

IMG_0382

goat friends!

goat friends!

 

dive master friends who happened to be sitting at our table at dinner

dive master friends who happened to be sitting at our table at dinner

IMG_0530_2

dogs that sit at the entrance of most buildings as protection

dogs that sit at the entrance of most buildings as protection

IMG_1049

 

hermit crabs are friends too

hermit crabs are friends too

tony noodle taking a peak

tony noodle taking a peak…

tony noodle how apparently is a japanese comedian who worked on a spanish fishing boat and was in lonely planet...

tony noodle who apparently is a japanese comedian who worked on a spanish fishing boat and was in lonely planet…

IMG_0937

idaho friends

idaho friends

the food. I am self admittedly a picky eater. The boy tells me frequently I’m picky and I prefer to respond that I just know what I like. Which I do. I like fresh fruits, vegetables, some grains, beans, tea and coffee, lots of coffee. It’s not a bad diet but definitely not the Japanese diet. For someone that hasn’t eaten meat (or fish) for over 12 years, everything tasted a bit fishy in Japan. But I just went with it and tried to be as accommodating as possible of my crazy, freak eating habits.

Japan has quite possibly the most beautiful fruits and vegetables you will ever see. The Okinawa Islands are famous for having the longest living inhabitants. This fact is quite understandable as they just eat the most amazing fresh produce, fish, sweet potatoes, seaweed and a bit of rice. That right there is the diet of champions. We visited several markets on the islands and each time were met by beautiful, clean and clearly not GMO/hormone/antibiotic ridden fresh fruits and vegetables. Most even had baked sweet potatoes for a to-go snack. (Side note: it was clearly not a social custom to munch on the sweet potato as you shop and then pay for it…). However, like the rest of the world Japan has a TON of pre-packaged food. Almost to a point of insane consumerism. We chose to focus on the fresh food instead and feasted like champions…

breakfast of champions with the most incredible view

breakfast of champions with the most incredible view

the only food to be found at 'family mart' that wasn't pre-packaged were giant, crunchy carrots

the only food to be found at ‘family mart’ that wasn’t pre-packaged were giant, crunchy carrots

IMG_0452_2

the most amazing ginger-ale

the most amazing ginger-ale

IMG_0500

IMG_0653

starbucks is everywhere

starbucks is everywhere

you hand the barista a "soy" card in japan for your drink

you hand the barista a “soy” card in japan for your drink

coffee machine?

coffee machine that was literally on every corner next to a beer machine

IMG_0888_3

never enough coffee

never enough coffee

IMG_9782_2

IMG_9783_2

a feast we prepared

a feast we prepared

IMG_9919

IMG_9921_2

 

broke out the translator for our last night in okinawa

broke out the translator for our last night in okinawa

the best beer ever from our hotel clerk friend

the best beer ever from our hotel clerk friend

the handstands. So many handstands were had. Kailey has a bit of an inversion to being inverted (understandable). She is more of an underwater hand-stander. So Heidi and I did handstands all over Japan. I’m certain the locals thought we were insane. But it provided a great new perspective and a bit of fun to be had literally everywhere we went. We are now both on a mission to master the handstand.

IMG_0133

IMG_0151

IMG_0159

IMG_0171

IMG_0208

IMG_0663

handstand succession fail to follow....

handstand succession fail to follow….

IMG_0683

IMG_0684

IMG_0639

IMG_0297

If you happen to ever venture the world of Okinawa, Japan please feel free to contact me! Also huge thanks and enormous gratitude to my aunt and cousin for letting me tag along to the edge of the world. I can’t think of anyone else I would have rather shared the time, laughs, sore butts and adventures with. Love you both!

And I will leave you with some wise words from Tony Noodle:

IMG_9864

taylor brass

brass blossom

wyo-idaho adventures – outdoor escapades

Early this summer we were invited by our adventurous and brilliant friend Melissa to celebrate the final culmination of her schooling experience, including graduating with a combined MBA/Law degree and taking, and obviously passing, the California Bar. Being the adventurous and Idaho loving girl that she is, Melissa wanted to celebrate in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Needless to say, we were in.

Like always, we were a bit crunched on time but managed to pack our days full of hiking, site seeing, shopping, eating and some more eating. Not only does Jackson Hole, along with the adjacent Teton Village, have amazing natural sites to see, but they have amazing cuisine. All of the delicious food we ate fueled our adventuresome days.

So with our vacation days maxed out and the car completely packed for four days we left town for our little vacation adventure. We are the first to admit that no one would describe either of us as “light packers.” We both prefer to have (all) the comforts of home with us and tend to overpack to the extreme. At least we are usually well prepared.

However, on this trip we both chose to foolishly ignore the weather forecast, which called for rain and daily thunderstorms. Although the wet weather did put a slight damper on our adventures, we dug back to our Oregon roots and didn’t waylay our plans due to the rain.

Fair Warning: Most of the trip involved rain jackets and embracing the rain, which resulted in us looking like drowned rats in a majority of the outdoor pictures.

Here is a look below at our outdoor escapades while in Jackson!

Welcome to "Jackson Hole"!

the brass blossom does jackson hole

Teton Village — We stayed at Teton Village, which is a mere 12 miles from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and located at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. We probably could have spent a majority of our time just exploring and hiking around Teton Village. They have wonderful eats and drinks and plenty of outdoor activities. Staying at Teton Village is a great alternative to staying in the heart of Jackson Hole.

Apparently Teton Village holds weekly Concerts on the Commons, which we stumbled upon after arriving in search of a drink. To our surprise and Krista’s delight (think kid on Christmas morning), Reckless Kelly happened to be on the lineup on the night we arrived. It was fate.

We spent our first night in the ‘Commons’ enjoying the lovely tunes of Reckless Kelly paired with excellent and cheap drinks from the Mangy Moose (more to come on this fine establishment). We were all asked to dance by the same gentleman, who definitely knew his way around the dance floor. The dances provided many good laughs and side stitches but it is still debatable if the request after a request was flattering?

the 'Commons'

the ‘commons’

Krista & Emmy + Reckless Kelly (a friend from Idaho who now lives in Jackson that we ran into)

krista & emmy + reckless kelly (a friend from idaho who now lives in jackson that we ran into!)

The Hostel — Melissa booked us a room at The Hostel in Teton Village for our stay. We had a quaint little room with two bunks, a small bathroom and thankfully a large fan. As far as hostels go, it passed Melissa’s well traveled standards with a clean bathroom. For the price and how little time we actually spent in our room, it was the perfect place to stay.

On a side note, for any of you sleeping porch veterans, The Hostel provided equivalently deep sleep. We had one small window with a curtain and managed to sleep through our alarms two out of the three mornings. It was quite reminiscent of our sorority days when you didn’t received a wake up call on “the porch.”

IMG_5781

Not only is ‘The Hostel’ ideal for young summer visitors seeking adventures, but also it is the perfect place to stay in the winter. They have a ginormous basement complete with a locker room for all your winter gear, a waxing station, a lounge area and a game room. The possibilities are endless.

a place to store your gear

a place to store your gear

late night waxing and wine

late night waxing and wine

Grand Teton National Park — We spent our first day exploring Grand Teton National Park. Melissa brought Lonely Planet – Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and highlighted (literally) must see adventures and sites. Once a Grad student, always a Grad student. She was far superior to any tour guide with her handy book.

BrBCnz3CMAI6kmU.jpg-large

To get into the park, we purchased a 7 Day Permit for $25.00 that provided us access to both Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. We thought we were getting a hell of a deal with the permit and access to both parks.

Conveniently the park ranger stapled our pass to a large map of the Grand Teton National Park. Not so conveniently, we managed to misplace this large map after our adventures in Grand Teton, forcing us to purchase another permit for Yellowstone the following day. Prime example of what not to do when traveling…

For good reason, Melissa was set on capturing the reflection of the Grand Tetons in Jenny Lake. The Grand Tetons are adequately described as “the mountains of the imagination.” They truly rise out of no where and are breathtaking. They are a must see for anyone in the area.

On a clear day, it is rumored you can see the tips of the Grand Tetons all the way from Yellowstone National Park. Unfortunately, every day we were there it was quite stormy and thus socked in (some mountain town weather slang for you). We had a much better chance of seeing our ‘grand tetons’ than the actual ones.

Jenny Lake — We set off to Jenny Lake first thing in the morning in hopes of capturing views of the Grand Tetons and taking a hike. On the drive through the national park we came around the corner to about 20 cars parked haphazardly on the narrow road. Obviously there was a site to be seen. Melissa jumped out of the car to inform us there was a female moose and her young nestled into the tall grass. The sight was a great start to our day.

When we arrived at Jenny Lake it was drizzling, so views of the ‘Tetons’ were nonexistent. We decided to don our rain jackets and positive attitudes and headed out around the lake to Cascade Canyon, the home of two very popular sites, Inspiration Point and Hidden Falls.

IMG_5460

start of the trail around jenny lake

the boat dock which provides a shuttle across the lake

the boat dock, which provides a shuttle across the lake

Jenny Lake in the rain

jenny lake in the rain

We went clockwise around the lake so it was only about 2 miles of fairly flat trail walking to get to the other side. We managed to beat the next ferry which held the crowds and work off a few of the liquid calories we consumed the night before. The hike around the lake is more of a meander and worth the views and potential wildlife. We came across a man and young boy kayaking that had just encountered a bear! Unfortunately we weren’t quite that lucky, or perhaps unlucky, but did find some wildlife further along the trail.

IMG_5726

almost around the lake!

We scurried up the trail to Hidden Falls. The hoards of people exiting the ferry were fair warning of the crowd that would be enjoying the sites even on a rainy day. But on a positive note, there was always someone to take a picture of our group!

Hidden Falls was true to it’s name. You could hear the falls long before they came into view. The site was incredible and as Krista pointed out, waterfalls are not generally a common site in the west. At times it was difficult to determine if the water was coming from the sky or the mist of the falls.

Hidden Falls!

just a bit wet enjoying Hidden Falls!

hidden falls

hidden falls

Another half mile up the trail was Inspiration Point that looks out over Jenny Lake. The crowds dispersed the higher we got up the trail, as did the weather. After a damp morning, the peak of the sun through the clouds was just the inspiration we needed to continue back around the lake after taking in the views.

krista hiking up to inspiration point

krista hiking up to inspiration point

inspiration point (excuse the wet look)

inspiration point (excuse the wet look)

repping delta gamma - these were the only "anchors" thrown up all trip

repping delta gamma — note, these were the only “anchors” thrown up all trip

IMG_0957

the brass blossom does inspiration point

On our way back, we ran into this fellow. He was a sight to see and very content munching on the shrubbery. The hoards of tourists didn’t seem to bother him, so we took the opportunity to snap a few pictures.

moose friend for the day

moose friend

Yellowstone National Park — Exploring Yellowstone National Park was on the agenda for our second day. It took us more than an hour to get into the Park from Jackson Hole. The heavy rain and pulling over to strip search the car for our lost permit slowed us down a bit. The drive to Yellowstone was equally as breathtaking as the sites of the previous day.

Old Faithful — Obviously we bee-lined for Old Faithful. We learned that Old Faithful is the most predictable geyser and erupts approximately every 91 minutes. Unfortunately, we arrived right after it had erupted so we enjoyed a picnic lunch (in the car due to the rain) and had the opportunity to explore a few of the other geysers while we waited.

Beehive Geyser erupted upon our arrival

Beehive Geyser erupted just upon our arrival (named for it’s cone shape)

IMG_5497

rainy day view from the Lodge

beautiful hot pools that are intermixed with the geysers

beautiful hot pools that are intermixed with the geysers

We decided to get a bit of exercise and observe Old Faithful from a viewing point on a hill across from Old Faithful Inn. It was a bit less crowded on the hill as we waited for the eruption. The time prediction of 3:14 was spot on as the geyser erupted at 3:15. The eruption was truly incredible to see but was a bit scaled due to our high vantage point.

We all marveled at the force of the geyser. As annoying and slow as the crowds were, they demonstrated the draw and force of Yellowstone National Park. It was restorative to see how many people came from afar to just admire the natural beauty of the park.

Mel waiting for the eruption

Mel waiting for the eruption

the beginning

the beginning

the end

the end

the brass blossom does old faithful (note we are not in rain jackets!)

the brass blossom does old faithful (note we are not in rain jackets!)

We had big plans to enjoy a drink on the deck of the Old Faithful Inn; however, the rain didn’t provide for deck lounging conditions. The Inn is considered the largest log structure in the world and has a very gothic, old-world vibe. We did a quick walk through on our way back to the car and you could literally feel the history of the building. For anyone who is a serious planner, booking a room well in advance to stay here would be incredible, if not only slightly creepy.

Grand Prismatic — As incredible as the geysers were, we all really wanted to see the Grand Prismatic. The Grand Prismatic is the largest hot springs in the United States and the third largest in the world. Despite it’s standing and size, the brilliant rainbow dispersion of color is what makes it incredible.

Naturally we entrusted Melissa and the handy guide book to teach us why it is different colors. The colors come from pigmented bacteria in the mineral-rich water and range from red to green. Even with the science lesson/reasoning, the rainbow of colors is astonishing to see juxtaposed in such a natural setting.

To take in the hues, we climbed off the beaten trail (sorry, park rangers) up the hill across from the Grand Prismatic in flash flood type rain. The mud and slip-n-slide terrain were worth the view from above.

the grand prismatic from above

the grand prismatic from above

mud slip-n-slide

mud slip-n-slide

Fairy Falls. In the downpour of rain we set off on the 5-mile roundtrip journey to Fairy Falls. Perhaps it was the downpour of rain that dispersed the heavy crowds or the allusive name of the falls, but the flat and easy hike to Fairy Falls was one of those instances where there was no sense of time. We gave into being soaking wet and tromped through large puddles to get to the falls.

The view of the falls was just as, if not more, spectacular than Hidden Falls. We presumed that there had been a fire within the last decade or so in the area as there was evidence of a heavy burn and regrowth. The juxtaposition of the old, dead and black tree trunks without branches to the new green undergrowth heightened the illusion of the falls.

looking out from fairy falls

looking out from fairy falls

the brass blossom does fairy falls

the brass blossom does fairy falls

fairy falls

fairy falls

All in all, our outdoor escapades were fantastic. Even with the rain, we managed to see many spectacular sites and get in a bit of exercise each day to round out all of our eating. In true form, we concluded our outdoor adventures with listening to country music and enjoying the clearer views on the way back from Yellowstone of the Grand Tetons. The ride and views provided the perfect culmination for our trip.

The ride was a reflection, literally and physically, of the natural landscape and our modest part in such a vast and ancient arena.

IMG_5529

IMG_5535

Stay tuned for our indoor escapades, which includes (almost exclusively) eating and drinking!

krista and taylor

brass blossom