Monday, August 18, 2014

Tetons - Granite Hot Springs and Granite Waterfall

After two days of hiking and playing near the lakes of Teton National Park we were ready for a bit of a change of pace. Juliet, as I mentioned, is so-so on hiking, and hiking with two small kids is hard even under the best conditions.

We read that there was a nearby hot spring and we were eager to check it out. We really didn't know what to expect, a warm spot near a rushing river? A pool? Hot tubs?

We did a little research and found that we needed to drive farther south and then east into an area outside the park but just as amazingly beautiful.

We followed the directions, turning onto the dirt road just as directed and were awe struck by the rugged and amazing beauty. We were the only ones there, and the ten mile dirt road took us easily a half an hour. It was one of the best half hours I've ever spent.

A large river followed a valley winding in and out of forests. Large meadows and amazing marshes were around every turn. We spotted a heron and a beaver dam but could have spent hours spotting hundreds of other animals.

The kids happily looked around in the backseat as E and I drove awe-struck in the front. We kept talking about our dream, to one day have a house in the woods, with a library and a big kitchen and a front porch. We want trees and a view to a river and internet. And not much else. It is so fun talking about this, and filled many happy minutes on the bumpy road onward.

Finally after what we felt was far longer than ten miles, we arrived. It was literally in the middle of nowhere and we could not wait to see what awaited us. 
We found it! A pool, deep and warm and built by the CCC in the 1930s. On one side of the pool a waterfall spilled happily into the pool filling it with fresh warm water. On the other side a waterfall spillway lead to the river below. In some areas the pool was three feet deep, in other areas it was eight feet deep. Most of the pool was well over my head, so we were so happy to have packed the lifejackets because the kids happily and easily swam independently the entire time we were there. 
Everywhere you looked the views were killer.

And the water was perfect, not too hot nor too cold. We swam and swam only stopping when our stomaches forced us to eat. See the waterfall to the right of James? That's where the pool filled up.
Seriously beyond stunning.
I loved the color of the water and the old wooden deck. Lots of cannonballs into the deep spots kept the kids happy and laughing.
Waterfall Man was as happy as can be.
And then finally, after swimming our hearts out, we'd had enough and felt a little too waterlogged. On the way in we had noticed this spectacular and quite impressive waterfall less than a mile from the hot springs. We were so excited to find that the five minute walk lead us right to the base of the falls and we were the only ones there. We LOVED it and all agreed it was better than Hidden Falls (a popular waterfall inside the park) that we'd seen the day before. We liked how wide this fall was and how we were really there alone.
Soon another family joined us and we traded photo taking responsibilities. Love this photo of the four of us.
After dinner out and ice cream in the city park again it was time for bed. We didn't bring any bedtime stories with us, so E instead told stories each night. In one story the kiddos found a boat and sailed to a candy island. The kids LOVED it. And although James is blurry and Juliet is only semi in focus, I thought I better add the photo anyway, because I love it.
Next up, Jackson Lake!

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