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Trailblazers Adventure Trip to the Grand Tetons (Part 1)


Today was a day that simply did not go as planned.

But honestly, I wouldn’t have changed anything. It was an adventure I can now add to my resume of life.

Sure, I was supposed to meet all the 17 incredible women for this trip at Idaho Falls Airport at 3 PM and take the shuttle with them to our campground. But the airlines had different plans for me. I was upset that I missed the evening with everyone, but all the women were understanding, and they had no problem settling in and getting to know one another.

In short, I ended up having to drive from Memphis to Nashville after spending 5 hours at the airport trying to get a flight out West, but there was absolutely NOTHING available until the next day, and I wasn’t taking that as an option. I would get there, come hell or high water.

Onward to Nashville, I drove and hopped on a non-stop flight to Salt Lake City. SLC was the closest airport I could fly into (Idaho Falls had zero flights available), so I knew I had to make it work.

After my flight landed at 10:30 PM, I rented a car and drove 2 hours (halfway to Jackson, Wyoming) to a quaint town called Lava Hot Springs in Idaho. When I arrived at the hotel where I had made a very last-minute reservation (Lava Springs Hotel), the town was gently lit by dim streetlights, and the only awake souls I found were the ones walking home from the bar across the street.

hiking camping grand tetons

This town has officially been added to my bucket list of places to revisit since I only spent a mere 4 hours there and didn’t get to fully experience all it had to offer. I knew I wanted to come back for its hot springs, museums, and eateries.

After taking a quick shower and getting my clothes laid out for the next day, I took a short 3-hour nap before my alarm went off at 4:30 AM. I still had about a 2-hour drive ahead of me to the Snake River KOA in Jackson, so with stoke in my heart and determination to get there and meet everyone, I hopped in my rental, put on Tyler Childers radio on Spotify, and chased the sunrise.

On my way, Mother Nature gifted me with clear roads, cool weather, vast mountain-filled landscapes, elk sightings, and one of the most magnificent drives I’ve ever done.

hiking camping grand tetons

7 AM rolled around as I pulled into the campground and joined forces with the ladies on this trip. I was finally there, welcomed by the smell of coffee and the smiles of adventure-ready women.

And some friendly bears.

hiking camping grand tetons


The first thing I did was hop out of the SUV and give everyone a round of giant hugs. Despite all the flight and travel mess that happened within the last 24-hours, I was there safe and surrounded by wonderful humans. Everything was okay, and I now had 2 FULL days ahead of me with all of them. I also met our trip guides, Phil and Brian! 

hiking camping grand tetons

As we sipped on coffee and finished our breakfast of bagels with the fixings, greek yogurt, berries, and granola, we talked about how their night was. They all set up their tents, got settled into camp, ate dinner as a little family, hung out by the fire, and capped out the night with s’mores.

Everyone was fed, caffeinated, and ready to tackle the day ahead!

Since I wasn’t there for formal introductions the evening before, after Phil and Brian gave us a briefing on what trail we would be doing today and bear/wildlife safety, we did a round-table introduction to learn everyone’s name, where they are from, their occupation, their pronouns, and a fun fact about them! It’s always fun to see who is from the same city or if they can relate to their fun fact!

After our fun round of introductions, we got our day packs packed with layers (we had rain in the forecast) and snacks, made our deli meat + fresh veggie wraps/sandwiches for lunch, filled our hydration bladders, and all piled in the Ford transit vans!

Next stop… Grand Teton National Park!

The drive was BEAUTIFUL, and that’s honestly an understatement. We saw elk, the Jackson Hole Airport (currently under construction), snow-kissed mountains, slate-gray skies lined with stratus clouds, and small hand-built homes on wide-open pastures. 

We stopped at the iconic park sign and, of course, had to snap a group photo!

hiking camping grand tetons

Once we entered the park, we headed over to the parking lot of Jenny Lake! This was our hiking adventure spot for the day. We took a quick pit stop at the bathrooms and scooted towards the trailhead. 

hiking camping grand tetons

Right off the bat, we were gifted breathtaking panoramic views of the lake. The Grand Tetons were showing off their beauty in the backdrop, and the lake was showing us its gentle and serene nature. We could have sat by the lake all day with books and have been HAPPY campers, but our goal for the day was to hike around Jenny Lake and see what she had to offer us, adventurous souls. 

hiking camping grand tetons

And her first offering, a moose

hiking camping grand tetons

Moose are truly magnificent creatures, but they also deserve space and respect. The female moose was enjoying a morning snack when we saw her. We snapped a couple of photos, gave her room, were in awe of her presence, and kept moving up the trail. 

Jackson had some snowfall a couple of days prior, which meant there was snow still on the trail. We were also in the shoulder season, so the snow wasn’t uncommon, but we were all well-prepared with proper footwear and warm layers!

After seeing the moose, the trail had a couple of hills to climb and traverse. Snacks were eaten, fun conversations were had, rain jacket hoods were deployed, laughter was shared, and beautiful creeks and forested terrain led our way. Even with the canopy coverage and forests, we were offered sweeping views of the lake. We couldn’t help but stop and soak it all in.

We all hiked at our own pace throughout the duration! This allowed everyone to move at a speed that was comfortable for them. Some of the ladies pushed on and hiked up to Inspiration Point, some moved at a mid-pack pace and crushed forward, and some challenged their bodies and minds, taking on tough snowy technical sections.

I was proud of each of the groups.

I witnessed 17 women with various hiking backgrounds complete all 7.8 miles of Jenny Lake in the snow and rain. There were giggles, falls, tears, swear words, stoke, grit, obstacle navigating, and type-2 fun.

It was a hell of a hike!

Once all of our little feet completed Jenny Lake Trail, we took our rain-kissed selves and popped into the gift shop for snacks and souvenirs. 

On our way out of the park, the vans were quieter, in a good way. Everyone was processing their accomplishment, getting fuel into their bodies, and resting their bodies.

hiking camping grand tetons


Meet the author

Bethany Taylor

I’m a PNW-based outdoor educator, adventure athlete, highly-caffeinated creative, all-women adventure trip host, safety advocate, and obsessed dog mom. I am here to help you chase more stoke-filled days outdoors with confidence through education and empowerment.

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