Posted by: Anna | August 15, 2010

Top Three from Jack, Tommy, and Me

This is our last post from the 18 days that we traveled with Jack. On the last day of our trip with Jack, we each decided on our top three experiences from the trip so far. Here they are:

Jack took a full 24 hours to decide; hopefully this means that he had so much fun it was hard to choose?

  1. Hiking Mount Washburn in Yellowstone. The hike up Mount Washburn took us about three hours total, all uphill, then all downhill. It’s an elevation change of 1,393 feet from start to top. At the top there is a visitor center, panoramic views, bathrooms, and a ranger that lives up there all summer long as a lookout for fires and other stuff.
  2. Star gazing in Grand Teton. I don’t know if it was just a fluke of weather or if Teton is more remote, but every night in Teton we had the most amazing stars. They don’t photograph well with our camera, but they were truly amazing – more stars than I have seen anywhere else in my entire life. Jack was the first at camp to look up and notice them. The bathroom at our Teton campground was a long way from our campsite, so every night we had this beautiful walk to the bathroom while staring at the stars. You could see the Milky Way and practically every constellation I’ve ever heard of.
  3. Bouldering at Jenny Lake in Grand Teton. Bouldering (as I understand it) is just climbing big rocks with no ropes. One afternoon Jack went to the visitor center at Jenny Lake and got the information to boulder. There are lots of routes mapped out on a bunch of boulders that were very close to our campground – just a fluke. Jack has become very into climbing (he brought his shoes an chalk), and he really enjoyed having the whole area to himself to climb as much as he wanted.  

Tommy decided on his top three quickly.

  1. On the hike that just Tommy and Jack did, they found a big bull moose that they stood and watched for 45 minutes. Moose like to eat aquatic plants, so you often find them around ponds and rivers. They can even dive up to 18 feet for a particularly delicious plant.
  2. On the sunrise hike, we saw a bear close to the trail. (Tommy wrote a whole post about that hike, so I won’t go over it all again).
  3. In Amarillo, Grandpa arranged for  Tommy to have his first flight in a small airplane.

I had a hard time choosing just three things, even though this was my idea. So in a bit of artistic (writing a blog is artistic, right) license, I decided to choose four things.

  1. I loved the Sunrise Hike. The haiku, the focus on the renewing force of nature, and the beauty of being here for the first time made that an experience I will not forget.
  2. During the afternoons, we would often play Rummikub or Oh Hell (thanks Da & Mary Lou for teaching us that game!). I treasure having that time to just spend together, and feel so blessed to have shared this whole experience with two people I love so much.
  3. Going to the musical Texas! in Amarillo. There are some experiences for me so linked with childhood joy that revisiting them just makes me happy. I am so glad my grandparents arranged for that to happen – I loved it!
  4. Hiking the South Rim Trail in Yellowstone. It was our first longer hike, and after a rather unexciting first couple of days, it made Yellowstone seem as awesome as I was expecting. The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone was beautiful in the morning light. The Upper and Lower Falls were breathtaking – there is just something about waterfalls and rainbows that is really special. It is a loop trail that traces the canyon rim along the first part of the hike, and returns through a meadow and thermal area. On the return, we had some close encounters with bison, which were a little scary but exciting at the same time and definitely memorable. Big bull bison decide to live alone after they are finished mating for life, and so you can stumble upon them pretty much anywhere in the park. Including 10 feet from the trail, apparently. The ranger also told us that the bison drink from the thermal pools because there are minerals in the pool that they liked. We were surpised that day to find another bison in the thermal area just hanging out.

As I’m sure you can tell, we all found different parts “the best”. Going to Yellowstone and Grand Teton was Tommy’s idea, and taking Jack along was mine. I don’t think I would have chosen this trip, but I’ve had so much fun that it just goes to show that even a city girl like me can enjoy camping and hiking all day!


  1. Anna, Tom & Jack Just a note to tell the 3 of you
    how much we have enjoyed your trip and sharing
    the wonderful experences you have had. I am wondering how Jack is getting home–hope you
    did not leave him to hitch-hike home. We are
    trusting you both to continue your daily report
    on your experiences. Makes us feel like we are
    sharing the trip with you. Kinda feels young again. Love to you both Da & Mary Lou

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