Day 9: Friday July 16th, 2010
(this day is purposely left purposefully plan-less for re-visiting things we missed, or were so awesome we need to see again, or for general relaxation)
Drive to Jackson Hole late in the day
Return Rental Car
Hotel: Motel 6, 600 South Highway 89, Jackson WY 83001
This, the last day in our trip, we planned to hike Mt. Washburn - one of the taller peaks in the Park. Nancy, Diana and Debbie Smith decided to forgo the hike and go on an animal hunt around Lamar Valley. Fortunately, the rest of us didn't have to miss the animals - we saw a Mama Grizzly and her 2 cubs on our way to Mt. Washburn.
The hike to the top provides a great sense of accomplishment, without really killing you. It is not super strenuous because of the switchbacks. The older guys among us kept the pace slow and steady and made sure we all stopped every now and again to rest our legs and drink some water. I paid special attention to how the landscape changes as we continues to climb higher and higher. Meadows of flowers turn to snowy hills (yes, even in July!) which changed to red rock and then pure mountain rock at the apex. A great view awaited up at the top.
The total hike is about 6 miles round-trip (from the Dunraven pass) and gains 1,400 ft in elevation. Compared with the hike JD and I took the day before, this was child's play. I would guess we spent between 3 and 4 hours completing this trek, after which, we had a long drive back down to Jackson.
When we got back "down" to Jackson, we checked into the Motel 6 one last time, and went out to dinner at this cute little place that had the best fried pickles ever. I can't remember the name of it. We all talked about the trip and how fantastic it had been. The next day, we returned back to sea level in Connecticut.
I fell totally and completely in love with the National Parks on this vacation - and decided that I should visit all of the Parks in my lifetime.
2 down, 57 to go!