Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Miles ~ 60
Good morning! I am determined to continue my workout routine even on the road. Fortunately the Four Seasons has an outstanding facility and I even manage to convince Rich to come with me.
After our workout we are starving and make our way to the Handlebar Grill for breakfast. Once again, the place is empty. Good. The menu looks great, but the choice is easy. We both order the “Fisherman’s Breakfast.” Yep. Fish. For breakfast. Just ask my mom about her grandfather having fish for breakfast in New Hampshire. If you saw this “Fisherman’s Breakfast – Cedar Planked Idaho Rainbow Trout, Poached Eggs, Baby Spinach, Chive Crème Fraîche” wouldn’t you order it?
The trout was amazing. It came out on it’s own cedar plank where it had been grilled/smoked. The spinach salad that accompanied was a perfect pairings. And the eggs were perfectly poached. OMG. We were in heaven. Seriously. As we are leaving I declare this “the best $88 breakfast I have ever had!” (keep in mind that our breakfasts are complimentary)
After our leisurely breakfast we wandered to the concierge and asked about what we should see/do in the Grand Teton National Park. She informed us that most of the hiking trails were still closed due to snow, but the Tagett Lake trail was partially open. She also pointed us in the direction of the nearest sports shop where Rich could shop for hiking boots (for here and Alaska) and a heavy jacket. Off we go.
This was our first foray into Jackson proper. It is a really cute town with lots of shops and restaurants. We had mistakenly assumed that it was a winter tourist town, but have subsequently learned that the population actually is HUGE in the summer with tourists – about 4 million people come through this place each summer. We are so happy that we are here in shoulder season – no fighting the crowds.
After purchasing Rich’s boots and coat we end up seeing the Town Square. It is surrounded on all four corners by huge archways make of elk antlers. I thought they were really cool, but kept having a nagging feeling about the hundreds and hundreds of elk that were killed to create this art. Fortunately, we later learned that elk shed their antlers every year. The local Boy Scouts go out and collect them from the Elk Refuge and then there is a big auction in town for the antlers. Whew! I feel better.
Grand Teton National Park is immediately outside of Jackson. Our first close-up of the Teton range is beautiful.
A stop is made at the Visitor’s Center where the ranger encourages us to drive the 40 or so mile loop in a counterclockwise direction. He also tells us that the only real hike available is indeed Tagett Lake. Great – let’s go.
When we decided to spend 3 nights in this area I will admit that I had no idea what the Park had to offer. I thought there might be a few mountains and it could be nice… It is absolutely stunning! We were completely blown away with the scenery. We stopped at most of the pull out places and took a long, slow drive while watching for wildlife. Supposedly you can find moose, elk, bison and bear among other creatures.
We finally do spy elk along the way and bison as well.
The loop takes us past Jenny Lake which is still partially frozen. It is a beautiful area and we can imagine that it is packed in the summer.
At one point we notice several cars pulled over to the side of the road. They must have found something great so we pull over too.
We have checked off elk, bison and bear. Now where are all the moose we keep hearing about?
Finally we make it to Tagett Lake where we are going to take a short hike. It is already 5:30, but since it stays light so late there is no problem with timing. The hike is beautiful and peaceful.
Then we came upon this weird creature in the woods:
Rich kept stepping closer and closer snapping photos all the way. He got a pretty good one:
The trail was reasonably clear for about a mile and then it became impossible to continue.
Time to head back to the “Seasons” for dinner. Tonight’s plan is to eat at the other venue that is open – the Ascent Lounge. They have an interesting small plates menu and a great living room type of seating area.
Our first stop is to sit outside by one of the fire pits. It is pretty chilly, but Rich discovered a blanket on his chair. Not to be left out, I go in and ask the bartender if she can scrounge up another blanket. The Four Seasons’ answer? “Of Course.”
While we were sitting on the patio a moose came strolling past the ski slopes! Check. Now we are satisfied with our wildlife spotting for the day.
Back into the lounge for dinner and Rich chooses our spot by the grand fireplace.
Our server is wonderful and we order a couple of items to share: the charcuterie platter with duck and venison sausage, Idaho swiss cheese and smoked blue cheese. We also order the Bison burger to share.
The food was fantastic and the venue was inviting. We lounged and nibbled for a long while discussing our explorations of the day. Then I suggest that it is the perfect evening for a little hot tubbing. Rich agrees. Our server suggests that we ask at the front desk since it is 10:30 and the pool area closes at 10. When we inquire at the front desk if it would be possible for us to use the hot tub, what do you think the answer was… “of course – if you don’t get too wild.” They can clearly see that we have a bottle of wine in our hands and 2 wine glasses. They don’t say a word about glass in the pool area. We giggle as we walk away and hear one of them on their phone (with security?) saying “The Torkingtons are headed to the hot tub!”
After a run to our room to change and don our robes and slippers, we march directly through the lobby (wine glasses in hand) in our get-up and out the library door. We have our choice of jacuzzis, but smartly choose the one that is closest. It is COLD out here. We dump our robes into one of the heated cabinets (!) and jump in. Ahhh. This feels great.
We manage to climb out and put on our heated robes for the trek back to our room. The warm water has relaxed us (maybe the wine, too) and we fall into bed after a fantastic day in the Tetons.