Emily Greiff, the newest addition to our staff, describes her first experience snowshoeing in Grand Teton:
Having relocated to Jackson from NYC in October, I am very new to the wonders of Grand Teton National Park. In order to familiarize myself with some of the trails, Maddy (the Foundation’s Development and Communications Assistant) and I thought it would be a good idea to take a morning snowshoe to Taggart Lake. Maddy has lived here for just over five years and previously worked for the Teton Science Schools as a field educator, and she is very knowledgeable about the park, its history, and the flora and fauna that make the park so wonderful and unique. I felt lucky to have Maddy as my guide, as our walk was jam-packed with fun facts and historical context.
We set off on our journey with all the essentials for a successful (and safe) trip in the park: backpacks, water, extra layers, a camera, and of course, bear spray! Having grown up in New England, the concept of bear spray was quite bizarre to me when I first arrived in Jackson. Thankfully, Maddy assured me that in all her years in the park, she’d never seen a bear on this specific trail.
We began our trek at the Taggart Lake trailhead. By the time we arrived, the parking lot was nearly full – with individuals and small groups preparing to XC ski, snowshoe, and backcountry tour. I was struck by the sheer number of individuals, and the range of adventures these groups were set to embark on from the trailhead. As we continued our hike to Taggart Lake, however, we were alone on the trail. Despite the crowds, the expansiveness of the park gave way to a peaceful and uninterrupted walk to Taggart Lake. Once we finally reached our destination, Maddy and I stepped out onto the frozen lake and took in the beautiful mountains. “This view will never get old,” she said, and I nodded in agreement.
As one can imagine, the transition from New York City to Jackson Hole has been quite an interesting experience, albeit, an amazing one. What I’ve found most incredible are the wonderful ways in which visitors and residents can connect to nature. There is never a shortage of wildlife sightings, unique adventures, and breathtaking vistas. It is clear to me, and to anyone who visits Grand Teton, that it is a beloved place that allows all types to enjoy it. Whether it’s a seasoned Exum guide climbing the Grand, or a New York transplant out for a morning snowshoe, Grand Teton offers anyone who sets foot in the park the opportunity to enjoy nature’s playground.