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Trailblazers Adventure Trip to the Grand Tetons (Part 2)

*Be sure to check out DAY 1 of our hiking/camping trip!*

DAY 2

We made a pit stop in the little mountain town of Jackson, where we had an hour and a half to walk around and explore! Our first stop was Cowboy Coffee to get a warm beverage in our hands and caffeine into our bloodstream.

hiking grand tetons

We then checked out some shops and outfitters and had to snap a group photo (missing a handful of the crew) and the elk antler arch in the town square. 

hiking grand tetons

No elk were harmed in the making of the arch! Elk actually shed their antlers each year, and it’s tradition for the Boy Scouts to harvest the shed antlers from the National Elk Refuge each season. There is also an ElkFest celebration and festival where the harvested antlers are auctioned off, and some of the proceeds go back into the National Elk Refuge.

By the time we were done walking around downtown, we were ready to shower, relax, and EAT! On the menu was a taco bar! While we all showered, got warm, put on our comfy camp clothes, unpacked our day packs, and munched on chips and guac.

Phil and Brain prepared a fabulous taco bar that included chicken, beans, rice, sautéed peppers & onions, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, cilantro, limes, and tortillas! Such a delight.

hiking grand tetons
hiking grand tetons

Our bodies were tired, our bellies were full, and our hearts were happy.

We washed our dishes and gathered around the fire that Brian had started for us. Everyone chatted about how the hike went, their favorite movies and shows, and everything in between. 

S’mores were eaten as caps to the end of the night, and soon enough, we all retreated to our tents, excited for a good night’s rest and a warm sleeping bag.

hiking grand tetons
hiking grand tetons

DAY 3 

If you have never woken up to the sound of a river, I recommend adding this to your list of things to do before you die. It’s one of the most incredible sounds that’s ever hit my ears.

hiking grand tetons

We slowly rose from our tents around 7 AM, ready for bagels, yogurt bowls, and coffee. As our groggy eyes started to open, we sat at the picnic tables and chatted for a few minutes, getting to know one another and building life-long relationships

hiking grand tetons

Today’s agenda included heading back into the park to hike Taggart Lake and then WHITEWATER RAFTING on the Snake River! We were STOKED.

Like the morning prior, we packed our day packs with snacks, got briefed on the trail, filled our hydration bladders, and piled into the vans for our next adventure. 

This time en route, we made a pit stop at a scenic spot and took a couple of group photos with the Grand Tetons showing off their splendor behind us. We spent a few minutes here and allowed our minds to take mental pictures and find deep gratitude for what was in front of us and our time together, creating memories.

hiking grand tetons

Taggart Lake is a 3-mile out-and-back! With a mix of forests, creeks, pines, and gentle grades, the Taggart Lake Trail is a beautiful and great trail for exploration after a long hike the day before. 

Once we arrived at the lake, we found some rocks hugging the water to hang out, eat our favorite snacks, soak in the wild around us, and share stories and laughter. We enjoyed every moment on the rocks, filled with joy, and breathed in the crisp mountain air.

hiking grand tetons

After exploring Taggart Lake, we made our way back to the campground to eat lunch (sandwiches, wraps, fruit, and pita chips) and get ready for whitewater rafting

The group walked up to the campground office and gift shop, where we all put on our wetsuits, bought croakies for our sunglasses to keep them from getting lost in the river, and waited outside on the benches for the big school bus to come and get us and bring us down to the boat ramp where we would meet our guides and get on the water!

I had never been whitewater rafting along with some of the ladies, so this was the first time for us! We were in good hands with our river guides, and we had a BLAST.

Eli and Roger were our guides. Eli was a total badass, and she was the guide for myself and 7 of the ladies. Roger was the excellent guide in the bigger boat with the remainder of our group!

Once we got on our rafts, we practiced rowing together, got a rundown of what to expect, and got into a rhythm! Before we knew it, we were off!

Throughout the duration of the two-hour float, we would encounter sections of flat water where our guides taught us about the river, its history, the surrounding cottonwood trees, and rock formations and told us fun stories! 

When we would approach a rapid (which all had fun names like Lunchbox, Big Kahuna, and Champagne), we would all paddle as a team as the rapid took us for a ride; chilly water splashed us against our faces, smiles were in full swing, and massive exhilarating excitement overcame us as we popped out on the other side. Grins still from ear to ear.

hiking grand tetons

The water was REFRESHING. The wet suits kept us pretty warm, but the cool glacier-fed river water was absolutely delightful and invigorating. There was even a stretch of the river where we could hop out of the boat and go for a swim!

After we all paddled through a handful of class 2 and 3 rapids, we came to the end of our adventure. And goodness, it was one for the books! Our souls felt recharged from the mighty river, and our bodies felt strong from what we had just encountered.

The school bus picked us back up and shuttled us back to the campground, where we showered and changed into warm clothes, ready to eat dinner and all hang out together on our final night.

Dinner was a big veggie and noodle stir fry! And fortune cookies.

hiking grand tetons

With our hearts full from the day’s hiking and river adventures, we ate dinner as a family, chatted, and sat around the fire, snuggled in our beanies and puffy jackets one last time. Soaking up the last few hours we all had together.

As the night winded down and the weather cooled off, everyone brushed their teeth, said goodnight, and tucked away into their tents where their warm sleeping bags awaited them.

hiking grand tetons

The morning came too quick.

The last morning together is never easy. Saying goodbye is never easy. We all spent the last 48 hours making life-long friends, challenging our bodies, doing new things, exploring wild places, laughing, crying, and filling our souls with joy.

Something I will forever be grateful for.

CHEERS TO THE GRAND TETONS.

AND THE BADASS WOMEN ON THIS TRIP.

I am forever thankful for each of your unique personalities and now for your friendship.

I hope you keep adventuring, forever.

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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