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Henna walking toward Moulton’s Barn in Grand Teton National Park which was part of a Mormon settlement that existed into the mid 20th Century.

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Chilling after a long day driving from Missoula, MT to Gros Ventre Campground (Grand Teton National Park). We spent one night here then six more at Signal Mountain Campround

 

After almost 7,800 miles, 48 nights (and 29 spent in a tent), 8 national parks, 3 nifty sand dunes, 3 bear encounters, 1 chipmunk encounter (the sucker ran up the mesh of the tent a few inches from my face), 1 poorly scripted fake gun fight (Dodge City, KS), 6 nights spent on the California/Oregon coast, 1 attack by falling rocks (between Silverton and Ouray, CO), and 1 prophet (outside of Kansas City, he warned of rain on the 4th of July) we are finally home. And by home I mean a place where every short walk results in several long conversations. Our home home. We do though have more stories to tell of our unscripted 2017 Great Summer Trip. Like the former Japanese American Internment Camp in Southeastern Colorado we visited. Or the funky opera house in tiny Eureka, Nevada. And of course more talking politics with strangers. But for now we leave you with a few more photos to look at while we unpack.

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The long gravel road leading to the Granite Hot Springs outside of Jackson, WY

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In the background is Mount Rainier and in the foreground is the White River which flows down from the glaciers

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Sunset at Gros Ventre Campground (Grand Teton National Park)

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Moose Falls near the south entrance at Yellowstone National Park

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Curious mammals looking out at Hayden Valley (Yellowstone National Park)

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Hikes 5 through 8: Mt. Rainier National Park

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Hello. Sometimes on a trip things just work. The weather. The hiking. The campsite. And the company. We just spent 5 glorious days in Mt. Rainier National Park, and let me begin by saying, the mountain does not always present herself to her admirer’s. But not this trip because from day one she looked down on us each day. The hiking was sublime, if not treacherous in spots (as my photo journal highlighting each hike below will demonstrate). Our campsite felt isolated, as if we had hiked miles to a spot within tall hemlocks. And lastly, the company. We met my second cousin David and his daughter Mariah who hail from Lady Smith, B.C. for this portion of the trip. As I explained to Henna one night, this was only made possible becuase it was our good fortune 13 years ago that we knocked on Davids mom’s (Lou) door which opened a wonderful relationship with far away and previously unknown cousins. I may not have grown up with David, but I can now say he feels like a brother to me. Mariah and Henna, who are two weeks apart in age, became fast life long friends. And Noel and David must have talked hours about everything. Along our hikes, David shared his love and knowledge of this earth and nature with us, showing me things I would have surely walked right by, but instead saw in a different way. I thank him for that. Mariah and Henna made, “nature food” for us each night, after proving to be awesome hikers during the day. What a joy Mariah was. David’s mom, Lou, recently passed away this year, leaving a hole in many people’s lives. Lou, was a wonderful spirit, and was known by most everyone in Lady Smith. She will be missed by so many, but as good people often do, she has left a spark in all who knew her. I know that during my days in Mt. Rainier I carried her along with me, and as David said, it was her doing that the mountain was out during our stay, shining brightly, beautifully just as I will always remember her.

Hike #5 Sunrise Nature Trail: 2 miles

Henna and Mariah on the trail

Mt. Rainier

Although a nature trail, it was a glorious first climb up to capture views of the mountain while in the snow.

Although a nature trail, it was a glorious first climb up to capture views of the mountain while in the snow.

Hike #6 Mount Fremont Fire Tower Trail: 6 Miles

Hiking along the treacherous trail

photo by David up at the fire tower

This trail almost sent me back to lower places.  We crossed snow covered rock scree that could have sent us into oblivion.  The views from the fire tower were marvelous and well worth any fear.

This trail almost sent me back to lower places. We crossed snow covered rock scree that could have sent us into oblivion. The views from the fire tower were marvelous and well worth the any fear.

Hike #7 Glacier Basin Trail: 7 miles

Henna and me on the trail

This hike took us to great shots of a glacier and the glacier basin campground that leads to the climb up Mt. Rainier.

This hike took us to great shots of a glacier and the glacier basin campground that leads to the climb up Mt. Rainier.

Hike #8 Paradise Nature Trail: 2 miles

Break time!

The last glimpses of the mountain this day were streaked with coming clouds.  This trail went straight up through the remains of winter snow.

The last glimpses of the mountain this day were streaked with coming clouds. This trail went straight up through the remains of winter snow.

Fare thee well. Corey

David and Corey