I am a mountain girl. Anytime I see mountains, I feel happy. Growing up on the east coast, most of my contact with mountains has been with the worn and ancient Appalachian Mountains. I love the history that has taken place in these mountains and the way they look like a big messy blanket covering the earth, at least where I live that’s how they look.
Traveling to the mountains in the west is such a different experience. They are sharp, rugged and look so menacing, but in the most beautiful and captivating way. I spend so much time just staring at them and wishing I could climb to the top. While that wasn’t really a possibility with our schedule and two little girls, we enjoyed the mountains from the water below.
One of my favorite days on our trip out west was spent paddling Jackson Lake in Grand Teton National Park. Paddling out west, and in National Parks requires some work. We were required to buy a boating permit and also needed an Aquatic Invasive Species permit. Unfortunately, we didn’t do our research ahead of time and could not do this at the same location. We ended up doing quite a bit driving to get these. It was annoying, especially when our only means of transportation was a thirty-six foot RV. My advice to anyone planning a paddling trip to the Tetons would be to prepare ahead of time and get you AIS permit BEFORE you enter the park.
Once we actually made it on the water, it was great. The first part of the trip took us through Half Moon Bay where we stopped and picnicked on an island before continuing around to the marina. Half Moon Bay was calm and quiet, but by the time we hit the open water of Jackson Lake, the winds had picked up and there was quite a bit of white tipped chop. It made for a colder paddle back, but none of that seemed to bother Izzy, who had fallen asleep on the back of my board and remained that way until we arrived back at the marina and I woke her up. The total paddle was about four and a half miles, a perfect, kid friendly trip… as long as your kids get enough sleep at night and don’t miss their much needed naps.