This is late in coming, but we spent a beautiful weekend in the Tetons for Valentine’s. The weather was supposed to be beautiful, everyone else seemed to be going somewhere south, and we’d heard reports that the Yellowstone bears were coming out of hibernation.
We stayed at a little place called the Anvil Motel just a block away from the city square. It was nice to be able to walk downtown and shop around or find someplace to eat within a few minutes.
We weren’t sure how much snow there was going to be in the area, so I made a list of things to see and we decided to wing it when we got there. The first item on our checklist was the National Elk Refuge. It was really neat to be able to see so many elk close-up, but we couldn’t decide if they were too domestic to be considered one of the ‘wild’ animals we would see on our trip. There’s a road that goes around the refuge, so we followed it to see what else there was. We saw a bunch of eagles, which is a bunch more than I saw in Utah when I went searching for them the week before. It’d been so warm in Utah that it seemed as though the Farmington Bay Bird Refuge Eagle Day was taking place in the Tetons instead. Farther along the road we saw some tundra swans, bighorn sheep, and tons of mule deer. After a lunch of PB&Js, we drove into Teton National Park. It was free national parks weekend, which was nice, but the road was closed only a few miles into the park due to snow. There was probably five feet of snow along the road in places.The snow was packed enough to hike on, which was lucky for us because we didn’t think to bring cross-country skis or snowshoes. Everyone else had skis and snowshoes, but the snowshoes seemed to hinder rather than help the hikers. Everyone was parked at the entrance to the Taggart Lake trailhead, so we followed suit and attempted to find the hiking trail through the trees. It was so warm we were stripping our jackets halfway through the hike. I kept thinking to myself, “Why in the world am I not wearing a thousand layers in the TETONS in FEBRUARY!” Global warming, people. Although it wasn’t a strenuous hike, we had to watch where we walked. Occasionally your foot would find a soft spot in the snow and you’d fall through the snow up to your hips.
We eventually made it to Taggart Lake. To my disappointment, it was completely frozen over. I was hoping for some cool reflection photos, but it was also neat to be able to walk on the lake. People had been skiing across the lake all day, based on the ski trails. Someone had even marked a giant heart in the snow for Valentine’s Day. ^We spotted this little guy leaping from tree to tree.
The entire hike was only about three or four miles, and we had some sunlight left for the afternoon. We drove back out toward the main road, and took a detour through Moose road. True to its name, the last time we were on this road we saw several moose eating in the reeds. We also saw our first wild baby bear a couple years ago. This was also an in-and-out road due to the snow. We didn’t clearly see any wildlife (I definitely saw something large and dark darting through trees and I can’t decide if it was a moose or a coyote), but the views were pretty stellar.
We decided to drive to Jackson Lake, since we still had some daylight, and see if we could drive through to Yellowstone for Sunday. There were many pull-outs along the way, and we had trouble not stopping at every one to see if we could get the perfect shot of the Tetons.
I’ve been practicing my headstands, and this is the first time in my life I’ve been able to do it, so I’m pretty proud of myself. Except Colton didn’t understand the shot I wanted so I did like six head stands before he finally got it and head on snow is not very comfortable…
Unfortunately, the road through the Tetons to Yellowstone is closed for the winter, but we dithered about Jackson Lake for a while. We were amazed that it also appeared to be frozen over, as it’s a much larger lake than Taggart. There were people ice-fishing on it, so we hiked down as well and ran across the snow.
And then we tried to take some model shots, because we think we’re cool, haha. Pretty sure I only look cool because I have a lumberjack shirt and sunglasses, but pretty sure that’s the sexiest picture of Colton I’ve ever taken and I drool over it every time I see it. And of course he hates it. So I had to post two. By then the sun started to set, and we headed back toward Jackson for dinner.
So backstory to this next part: On my ninth birthday we visited Jackson Hole for the weekend, I believe it was fall break, and one night we were all starving after a long day of whatever-we-were-doing. So while my family stayed in our little hotel, my dad went out to hunt for some dinner and came back with the most delicious, spicy, perfect, Thai fish dish I’ve ever eaten. To this day my mouth waters every time I think about it. It was so spicy that I was crying and I couldn’t stop eating it because it was so delicious. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten anything to match that amount of culinary yumminess in my life. Anyways, I’ve told Colton about that fish a million times and I was determined to visit Jackson Hole specifically to search for that Thai restaurant. So for dinner, that is what we did. There are three Thai restaurants in Jackson, and my dad couldn’t remember which one it was. He guessed that it was Thai Plate, and from our online researching that seemed to be the only place that had a fish dish. (And, clearly, there is no way the menus have changed over the past fourteen years.)
It was a short walk from the hotel, so we easily found it, and walked down this strange, board-walked alleyway to this teeny tiny hole-in-the-wall that was completely packed. I don’t know if the alleyway has always been there or it was just under construction, but I don’t really care, because the food was SO GOOD!!! We ordered some Tom Kha Kai soup, which was the most delicious soup I’ve ever had. We had everything rated from a 1-5 level of spiciness. Since my spice tolerance is not as high as Colton’s, the shared soup was a level 2. But it was so spicy I was crying and red-faced while drinking it. We also ordered a plate of Green Curry, and the Panang Salmon. Pretty sure the curry is the best I’ve had in my entire life, and the Salmon was THE salmon. I’m sure of it. It was perfect and spicy and just what I have remembered in my little nine-year-old memory. There was also so much food that we ordered some more rice and had another meal and a half the next day for leftovers.
I can’t quite describe how happy I was to finally find the fish I’ve been waiting to try again my whole life. And we both agree it’s the best food we’ve ever had. Every time we stay at Jackson again or drive through, this will be at the top of our list of places to eat. I would highly, highly recommend it. Despite how small the building was, there were people lining up outside waiting for a table, so we weren’t the only ones who thought this place was so yummy. Now we’re just depressed that this isn’t closer to Salt Lake!I’ve never been so content after a meal. It was amazing.
The next day, since we couldn’t drive to Yellowstone, we decided to take the long way home and drive through Bear Lake. We had all day, so we took our time and really road-tripped the drive. We stopped by Moose drive again, hoping to see a moose, but that didn’t happen. Which was okay, because after I had my wish of spicy Thai salmon it could’ve snowed the whole way home and I wouldn’t care that we didn’t see anything. We stopped at way more pull-outs than was necessary, took tons of pictures, and enjoyed beautiful scenery. The mama and baby goats we saw were also enjoying their people-watching, it seemed. It was a successful winter trip to the Tetons, if for no other reason than I FINALLY ATE MY SPICY THAI FISH DISH FROM JACKSON HOLE!!! Seriously people, go eat there if you get the chance.
We stopped by Bear Lake and decided since we’ve been in every glacier-filled lake we’ve visited, there was no reason not to jump into Bear Lake. Oh my goodness it was cold. Our feet were numb in seconds. The lake must have been iced over recently. It was a lovely Valentine’s weekend with my sweetheart. 🙂