Kyle (my husband, but then he was my boyfriend) had a wedding to attend in Jackson Hole, Wyoming in 2013. I was thrilled when he asked me to go with him and make a vacation out of it.
One of the days, we decided we had to go hike around Jenny Lake. The loop is “only” 7.5 miles– we didn’t think it would take us more than a couple of hours.
We were not hikers (still aren’t.)
We are from Iowa where mountains don’t exist and hills are manageable.
“Should we take our water bottles?”
“Nah, I’m not carrying that thing for 7.5 miles! We’ll be fine,” the over confident girlfriend declared. Off we went– in our brand new running shoes.
“I hope we don’t meet any bears.”
Kyle assured me that we wouldn’t.
“…Well, if we do, I’ll just be really loud and really big. For now though, let’s just talk REALLY LOUDLY.”
I wished I had a backpack (a tiny one) with several cans of bear spray– but not water, because that would’ve just slowed me down with its weight.
“I’m so glad we’re doing this.”
“Me, too. It’s so beautiful out here.”
Practically skipping, we continued on.
“Um… I don’t know about those rocks, Kyle.”
“Do you want to head back the other way?”
“Um… no. Just don’t let me fall off…”
“I’m scared! Kyle, what about a rock slide!!! What if we slide off of the mountain! We’re goners!!!”
“You’re fine, just go slow.”
It wasn’t that bad.
So, for those of you who haven’t visited, there is a boat that goes from the beginning of the trail to about halfway so that visitors to the area can go to Hidden Falls without hiking around the lake. There were suddenly a bunch of other people on the trail.
“Holy crap, there are so many people… oh, no wonder. They all rode the boat.” I wished we took the boat, too, kind of.
Kyle said, “You know, we could always take the boat back.”
“Psh. It’s only three more miles!”
“Yeah… we can do it. We don’t need to give up and take the boat!”
Not too long after the dock, we walked through this area– not ready to admit we were #OVERIT…
and found this secluded, shallow, cool watered place.
Guys… it was shoes off… game over.
We sat there forevvver, saying over and over again, “It feels good to just sit,” and trying to ignore our thirst… and I’m pretty sure one of us even suggested drinking the lake water.
It was me. I suggested it. Um, hello, it’s FRESH from the mountains?!
My dear husband advised against it. Bless him.
That cool water felt so good on our feet. Ahhh.
Eventually, we realized we couldn’t stay there for the rest of our trip, so we reluctantly put our socks and shoes back on.
What a gross feeling that was.
And that’s when we stopped having fun, but kept laughing.
“We’ve got to be getting close… right?”
We laughed and at the same time said, “We’re idiots.” More laughter.
Were we just losing our minds?
“There is a parking lot RIGHT THERE… UGH… I wish we had the stupid car.”
“I wish we would’ve known that… or had someone to come pick us up.”
“Nah, we’re good!”
“Why are there so many tiny hills? Can’t the damn trail just be flat?”
“We can do this. We can do this.”
“We just rode our bikes 10 miles last week. We can do this.”
(10 miles biking in the “nose” of eastern Iowa is much different than hiking 7.5 miles in Grand Teton National Park.)
“We’re going to be eaten by a bear.”
“If we were going to be eaten by a bear, he probably would’ve eaten us somewhere over there.”
“…or a mountain lion. Or what if a moose attacks!” Nothing inspires you to keep going like the potential for a wild animal attack.
“This sucks… but I’m so glad we’re doing it.”
“I’m not going to think about how my feet hurt.”
“We CAN’T be that far now.”
“I just want a drink.”
“My feet hurt so bad!”
“Let’s talk about something else… you know we could make a list of updates we want to do to the house…”
“I’m so sorry. I love you… but please don’t talk anymore. I love you. This sucks so much.”
“This DOES suck. I love you, too.”
“It CAN’T be that much farther…”
We were miserable, determined, exhausted and connected. Looking back, we both feel that our Jenny Lake experience was what “sealed the deal” in our relationship. Kyle proposed two weeks after our trip. Swoon.
I do NOT recommend doing what we did, but I DO recommend hiking the Jenny Lake Loop. It is beautiful and absolutely worth it. I can’t wait to go back!
Next time… we’ll be more prepared.
Live and learn.