Our Alpine Wonders of Yellowstone and Grand Teton itinerary is chock full of opportunities for one to experience the resounding Grand Teton mountain range from every angle.
On our last Grand Teton tour, we were able to conclude the second night perfectly by watching the sun dip behind the peaks of the Grand Tetons from the Granary- an upscale restaurant overlooking the bright green foothills and the east side of the mountains.
As the sun lowered, I watched the red and orange hues richen, the skyline seeming to become more passionate and emotional as the day came to an end.
This was only day two, and with such a lovely sunset before us, we all thought, How can it become more beautiful than this? I was reminded of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote, “Every sunset brings the promise of a new dawn.” I fell asleep that night back at Jackson Hole with a sense of curiosity and anticipation for day three.
The next morning, we woke up early and headed into Grand Teton National Park to explore Jenny Lake and its surrounding areas before heading to the famous Mormon Row. It was an incredible week to visit the park, almost as if it was flaunting itself for those in our group who had never seen it before. The middle of July is one of the most popular times to visit Grand Teton National Park, but our Senior Tour Specialist had designed the day for guests to experience the park during peak times of present wildlife, and in spots without heavy traveler traffic.
We decided to hike around the lake and up to hidden Falls while another part of the group opted to take the scenic boat ride to the other end of the lake. After hitting the trail and walking at a settle incline, I couldn’t help but observe the reflective range on the surface of Jenny Lake. As butterflies swirled around us on the trail and families unloaded their canoes into the clean, calm water, we started heading toward Moose Ponds, located near the south end of Jenny Lake beneath the jagged spires of Teewinot Mountain, in hopes of seeing a few of the over 500 wildlife species that call this park home.
As we started to descend near the pond, we looked to the left and saw something that I and many others have never seen before- a female moose in a meadow carpeted by long grass and freckled with Fernleaf Lovage. The moose lifted it’s giant head out of the grassy pond and looked up at us, in a way of welcoming us to the area, but while also warning us not to come too close.
Our small group cautiously made our way closer to the pond and decided to sit down in the grassy meadow that lined it. There were so many other wildlife species including birds and frogs that accompanied and complemented this incredible view, adding another dimension of inspiration and tranquility. To make it even more spectacular, we had a crisp view of the mountain range as a background, bringing the landscape closer to the sun. After our tour group had an entire morning of laughing, exploring, and learning, this was a moment that left us peacefully speechless. It was the first time in the entire day where we all wanted nothing but silence in order to truly to enjoy this special moment. When we looked closer, we noticed that female moose had with her a calf. The calf popped its long muzzle out of the wetlands and stood alongside its mother. It then made sense why the mother gave us such a compelling gaze as we first saw her.
The calf awkwardly stumbled and looked around the grassy area and would occasionally run back up to its mother to nudge and walk alongside her. Being in this moment, I thought that the two were so adorable, and yet, inexplicably powerful- demanding respect from anyone who was able to receive the gift of experiencing their energy.
We decided to have a snack break and really take the time to enjoy this moment of a wild mother and her child in their natural habitat. Because Experience Park Tours does not rely on reservations or transportation services to get us from one destination to another, our group was incredibly grateful that we were able to fully embrace every second of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity before us.
As we ate our all-natural granola bars and locally sourced beef jerky, we watched the mother swing her strong head in our direction and stare at us for what seemed like forever. Capturing eye contact with such a magnificent beast made us all look at each other in disbelief.
Simply being in the presence of the animal provided us with a deeper connection to each other, the park, and the world we live in. As we walked back down the trail, we all had a similar sense of peace and understanding for wildlife, the national parks, and protecting these animals.
If you are interested in experiencing moments like these, check out our Alpine Wonders of Yellowstone and Grand Teton Tour.