June 22, 2019
Another early morning in Yellowstone- we departed Old Faithful Inn at 5:00 am and headed into adjacent Grand Teton National Park. The two hour van ride was quiet as most of us slept in the early hours of the morning. Once we reached the majestic peaks of the Tetons, we were all rejuvenated with sights of jagged snow-topped mountain peaks cutting into the bluebird skies. After a quick breakfast surrounded by jaw-dropping views, we visited the Laurance Rockefeller Preserve near Phelps Lake. We used our time at the preserve to take in the sights and sounds and reflect on our surroundings.
After some impromptu yoga at the trailhead we visited the Laurance S. Rockefeller Visitor Center to get our bearings and plan our hikes for the day. The center has a soundscape room which many of us used to sit quietly and contemplate our connection to the natural world.
Once we were limbered up, we set off on a 3 mile hike to and from Phelps Lake. Along the way we observed and identified numerous birds and wildflowers including silver lupine, arnica, sticky geranium, and fairy slipper.
Later, we stopped at a pond near Murie Ranch to enjoy a picnic lunch, where we were entertained by a raw example of predation: an osprey stalking a duckling. While we never saw him catch his lunch, we did get to see a great blue heron and it joined our growing list of birds seen thus far.
After lunch, we went on a four mile loop hike to Taggart Lake. We were treated to magnificent views of all three Tetons and Disappointment Peak, named because explorers thought they were on Teton but were disappointed to find they were not. We were all happy that the sun was shining and the temperature was much warmer. We have experienced two seasons in one week!
We stopped at Leek Marina for pizza dinner and then, exhausted, headed back to Old Faithful Inn, forever on the lookout for the last wildlife spotting of the day. After a quick rainstorm, a remarkably vivid rainbow was cast across the sky as we departed from the Tetons. The perfect end to the perfect day.