A Tale from Jenny Lake | Grand Teton National Park

Kyle (my husband, but then he was my boyfriend) had a wedding to attend in Jackson Hole, Wyoming in 2013. I was thrilled when he asked me to go with him and make a vacation out of it.

One of the days, we decided we had to go hike around Jenny Lake. The loop is “only” 7.5 miles and we didn’t think it would take us more than a couple of hours.

We were not mountain hikers (and still aren’t.)

We are from Iowa where mountains don’t exist and hills are manageable.

Mile 0

“Should we take our water bottles?”

Fresh off of a couple of flat 5Ks back home, I confidently declared, “Nah, I’m not carrying that thing for 7 miles! We’ll be fine.” Off we went, in our brand new running shoes. As we marched down the beginning of the trail, we wondered about the wildlife we might find.

“I hope we don’t meet any bears…”

Kyle assured me that we wouldn’t.

“…Well, if we do, we’ll just be really loud and we can make ourselves really big.” There. We had a plan. However, I wished I had a backpack (a tiny one) with some bear spray.

“I’m so glad we’re doing this.”

“Me, too. It’s so beautiful out here.” Practically skipping, we continued on.

Mile 1.5

“Um… I don’t know about those rocks, Kyle.”

“Do you want to head back the other way?”

“Um… no. Just don’t let me fall off…”

Mile 1.5 + 20 feet

jenny lake 2

“I’m scared! Kyle, what about a rock slide!!! What if we slide off of the mountain! We’re goners!!!”

“You’re fine, just go slow.”

I was fine. It wasn’t that bad, and it was a beautiful view.

Mile 2.9 | Inspiration Point

There were suddenly a bunch of other people on the trail.

“Goodness, where did all these people come from? Ohh… they all rode the boat.” I silently wished we took the boat, too, kind of.

Kyle said, “You know, we could always take the boat back.”

“Psh. It’s only four more miles!”

“Yeah… we can do it. We don’t need to give up and take the boat!”

“Go us!” We then high-fived.

Mile 4.5

jenny lake 3

After a while, we happened upon this secluded, shallow, refreshing place. At that point neither of us were ready to admit that we were done. Finished. Over it.

“It feels good to just sit.

We took our shoes off, submerged our feet and it was game over.

Surrounded by the beautiful mountain water, it was hard to ignore our thirst. I suggested we drink the lake water, but Kyle advised against it. I supposed he was right– we didn’t want to take any chances.

Kerri2 115

That cool water felt so good on our feet. Eventually, we realized we couldn’t stay there for the rest of our trip, so we reluctantly put our socks and shoes back on.

What a gross feeling that was.


Mile 5.5

And… that’s when we lost our minds.

He laughed.

10 feet later, I’d laugh.

“We’ve got to be getting close… right?”

We laughed and said, “We’re idiots.”

More laughter.

Mile 6

“There is a parking lot RIGHT THERE… UGH… I wish we had the stupid car.”

“I wish we would’ve known that… or had someone to come pick us up.”

“Nah, we’re good!”

Mile 6.2

“Why are there so many tiny hills? Can’t the dang trail just be flat?”


“We can do this. We can do this.”

Mile 6.3

“We just rode our bikes 10 miles last week. We can do this.” (10 miles biking in eastern Iowa is much different than hiking 7 miles in Grand Teton National Park.)

Mile 6.4

“We’re going to be eaten by a bear.”

“If we were going to be eaten by a bear, he probably would’ve eaten us somewhere over there.”


“…or a mountain lion. Or what if a moose attacks!” Nothing inspires you to keep going like the potential for a wild animal attack.

Mile 6.5

“I’m so glad we’re doing this… and I’m not going to think about how my feet hurt.”

“We CAN’T be that far now.”

“My feet hurt so bad!”

“I just want a drink. You know what? Let’s talk about something else… you know we could make a list of updates we want to do to the house…”

“I’m so sorry. I love you… but please don’t talk anymore. I’m sorry. This sucks.”


“This DOES suck. I love you, too.”

Eventually we made it back to the car. Looking back, we had a lot of fun (even though we were exhausted and unprepared,) and we both feel that our Jenny Lake experience was what “sealed the deal” in our relationship. Kyle proposed two weeks after our trip. Swoon.

I highly recommend hiking the Jenny Lake Loop (and being prepared, of course!) The trail is beautiful and has stunning views. Next time… we’ll be more prepared.

Published by Kerri

Wife & Mama | Gardener | Homesteader | Homeschooler |

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