Moose, Wyoming

Photo: Grand Teton Lodge Company & Flagg Ranch Company
Photo: Grand Teton Lodge Company & Flagg Ranch Company

You consider yourself a nature lover. You enjoy hiking and kayaking. You go swimming in the summer and snowshoeing in the winter. While getting lost on a winding dirt road doesn’t scare you. But there’s one thing you can’t do. Camp. After an exhausting day outside, you need a cozy bed and a good meal. No sleeping bags, outhouses, or campfires. But sometimes that makes traveling to national parks a little bit tricky.

That’s why the Jenny Lake Lodge in Grand Teton National Park is perfect for you. The lodge is rustic, charming, and very comfortable. Your log cabin is set up with a pine bed, a handmade quilt over a down comforter, and a wood-burning stove. Rocking chairs sit on the porch. They overlook a wildflower-filled meadow, towering pines, and, in the distance, the granite Teton spires.

Grand Teton National Park is in northwestern Wyoming, an area known for its protected land, abundant wildlife, and jaw-dropping landscape. The Tetons are 12 glacier-carved summits; Grand Teton is the tallest of them all. The park, which includes the Teton Range and six glacial lakes, was established in 1929. It’s smaller and less popular than nearby Yellowstone National Park. Though it’s up to you to decide which is more beautiful.

Photo: I, Michael Gäbler [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo: I, Michael Gäbler [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
After a cowboy’s breakfast, which includes corned buffalo hash, you’re off for the day. Go rafting down the Snake River. Beavers are busy building dams along the side streams. A herd of bison graze along a hillside. Then a bald eagle swoops overhead, as if on command. Depart from the Colter Bay Marina and cruise around Jackson Lake in the middle of the day. You see Mount Moran and osprey during lunch on Elk Island.

Then go horseback riding on a mare who seems just as excited as you to hit the trail. Pass trumpeter swans nesting by Christian Pond. Take in the amazing views from Emma Matilda Lake. Watch two moose feeding on willows by the swamps at Oxbow Bend. And since the trout seem to be biting either early or late in the day right now, go fly fishing before sunset. You just miss a brown trout, but end up catching a big cutthroat instead.

Back at the lodge, you shower in your stonework-filled bathroom. You listen to the crickets start to chirp as you get dressed. You sip a glass of California Zinfandel by the stone fireplace in the main lodge. Then you choose between cumin-dusted lamb loin and buffalo tenderloin as your entrée for your five-course dinner with the Tetons in the background. You can still be a nature lover without roughing it.

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