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And then there were the mountains, valleys, rivers, falls, the glacier-carved canyon, and wildlife.

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buffalo

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Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

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Yellowstone Falls

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elk

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grizzly

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blue bells

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Golden Gate Bridge of Yellowstone

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Mountain Bluebird

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Calcite Springs

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herd

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Lamar Valley

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While the Grand Tetons were formed by the collision of tectonic plates, Yellowstone was formed by volcanic eruptions that resulted in a caldera (essentially a volcano with its top blown off). The Yellowstone volcano is still active, and has created more than half of the world’s geothermal features combined: hot springs, geysers, mudpots, and fumaroles.

Viewing these geothermal features with my own eyes was otherworldly. It was like I had been transported into a fantasy land, with fountains spewing from the ground, steam escaping from the depths of the earth, mud bubbling angrily, and turquoise-blue and jade waters that looked so inviting, but would scald you upon touch.

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Before school began in early August, J and I took a road trip to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. We backpacked for three nights in Grand Teton National Park before heading into Yellowstone. The experience filled me with awe and wonder, and at times made me feel like a tiny speck of dust. The beauty was indescribable. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

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driving into Grand Teton National Park

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Paintbrush Canyon

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Holly Lake

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going up the divide

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portrait session

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Paintbrush Divide

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soak at Lake Solitude

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view from our campsite in the North Fork

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South Fork, on the trail

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the Tetons

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to Hurricane Pass

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Grand Teton

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Cascade Canyon, on the trail

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update

My apologies for neglecting this space. I didn’t mean to. It’s just that I’ve been swallowed up by school. School started six weeks ago, and tomorrow marks the end of the fourth week of middle school. Between student teaching, classes, and homework, I’ve had little time for anything else. I find myself scrambling to finish my reading and homework every night, or pushing myself to get ahead so that J and I can actually enjoy our weekends together. J has been really great about picking up my slack around the house (well, he pretty much does everything now) while I work on my assignments on the living room floor. All in all, being a student again is not as bad as I had envisioned it. I’m learning a lot, and I’m having fun doing it.

I also have an incredible demonstration teacher showing me the ropes. She is seriously amazing, and the 8th graders absolutely love her. I have so much to learn from her.

And I didn’t think it possible, but I find middle school students crazy adorable.

I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings.

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the enchantments

About a week ago, we were in Washington visiting with friends. We also hiked the Enchantment Lakes. To say that the hike was challenging would be an understatement, as it was one of the most grueling “day” hikes I have ever been on. By the end of the hike, the five of us were like zombies marching in the dark, down the endless switchbacks in a trance-like state. How our feet managed to move of their own accord to navigate around roots and large rocks, I do not know.

Difficult as it was with multiple obstacles along the way, the hike was not without rewards. The views were incredible, and we were also blessed with multiple goat sightings.

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Tomorrow morning, we leave for Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone. It will be a long road trip, but we have audiobooks from the library and sandwiches, kimbap, muffins, and other snacks to keep us entertained (and alert while driving) and well-fed on the road. In my numbed state in the Enchantments, I vowed to myself that it would be a long time before I would want to go hiking again. (J had this thought as well, as I found out the day after the hike.) But as we prepare for this trip, again we’re giddy at the thought of being in nature’s paradise, where wildlife abounds.

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anticipation

I am a little too excited for our weekend trip to write about quiche today, so I’ll leave you with some photos of our hike in Muir Woods.

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We’ll be hiking, exploring, and camping for a full three days in the Lost Coast, which is on the far northern coast of California. We’re starting out early tomorrow morning for our five and a half hour drive. Yippee! Can’t wait to tell you more about it when we get back.

Hope you have a happy Memorial Day weekend!

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land’s end

Some photos from a recent trip to Land’s End, a hiking trail located within the city.

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Being where the land meets the sea always takes my breath away.

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