To end our week, we spent Friday night and all day Saturday in Grand Teton National Park. Hong had already hiked nearly 40 miles and biked 50 miles by the time we met up with him later that week. Amazing! While our time was limited, we had an incredible day and a half in the park. It truly is a magnificent place!
We met Hong on Friday night at Jenny Lake. When we pulled into the parking lot, we saw our mountain bike that Hong had borrowed locked to a fence. Hanging on the handle bar, not locked, in any way, was Hong’s backpack, containing some of our items as well as his own. Hong was nowhere to be found around the bike. Instead, we found him down by the lake. When we returned to the car, he began searching frantically all around for his backpack. Finally, we confessed to putting the backpack in the truck and then proceeded to advise him that leaving personal belongings unattended is not wise. Hong argued that people who visit parks do not steal. While Chris and I would love to agree to this statement, we simply could not. We agreed to disagree and then proceeded to a nearby Italian resaturant for a fabulous dinner.
The following day was perhaps my most favorite day on our entire Airstream adventure. (Okay, it’s at least in the top 5!) For starters, we finally saw a moose! The moment I had been anxiously awaiting for weeks! And, we did not just see one moose but two…a moose and its calf. It was spectacular. We stood with several others and took pictures of the moment from afar.
We proceeded on to String Lake to begin our outdoor activities. While Hong went to explore by foot one of the more strenuous trails (and, strangely, he didn‘t invite me along…hmmm…wonder why?) Chris and I put the kayaks in at String Lake and paddled to the connecting Leigh Lake (which is only accessible by boat or foot). We paddled for about five hours at a leisurely pace simply admiring the amazing scenery. The paddle through String Lake was quite shallow at times but the water was crystal clear. To get to Leigh Lake we actually had to walk our boats about 100 yards, which was quite a workout, but it was well worth it! Leigh Lake had very few other boaters on it and the water was completely still and clear. Overlooking us and clearly reflected in the water was one of the mountain peaks. I have truly never been in water so clear. (Yes, I know I’ve said this before, but it’s true. At least until the next clearest lake.)
We stopped for a picnic on the shore at the base of the mountains. A fabulous spot to enjoy a not-so-creative but oh-so-delicious lunch of peanut butter sandwiches. After a brief rest, we continued on making our way around the lake. Unfortunately, as we paddled the haze from a nearby forest fire filled the sky. It made our sight of the mountains less vibrant but still beautiful nonetheless. We slowly made our way back to String Lake where we met up with Hong and, with sadness, left the park to return to our home in Idaho and prepare for our day of driving to our new location.
Hong had informed us earlier in the day that we would need to go back to his hostel before we left the area so he could return a hiking book he borrowed. To get to the hostel took us a longer route but we made the turn down the narrow, winding road and proceeded in the hostel’s direction. Hong apparently missed the conversation where I reminded Chris that we needed to go back to the hostel, and as we approached the final turn, he reluctantly informed us that we didn’t need to go back after all. Apparently, the book was weighing him down so he put it behind a rock on his trail. When he returned later to get it, someone had taken it. It was a sad moment for him. Despite that unfortunate event, the day was one of the best days I have had on this journey. The Grand Tetons are indeed grand.