Sunday Hikes: Jenny Lake – Inspiration Point

The Teton mountain range stretches for 40 miles and shoots thousands of feet straight up from the ground. It is one of the most impressive mountain ranges I have ever seen with the Grand Teton (the tallest mountain in the range) reaching 13,776 feet above sea level. We began our first hike in Grand Teton National Park at the south end of Jenny Lake. The Jenny Lake trail makes a loop around the lake with a side trail going into Cascade Canyon. We planned to go left (the shorter way) and up into the canyon to Inspiration Point. Unfortunately the section of the trail we had planned to hike was closed due to construction (and snow) so we had to take the long way around doubling the length of our hike. So we set off to reach Inspiration Point. The trail around Lake is fairly flat and follows alongside a scenic drive for most of the trail. 


It was an easy hike despite downed trees and large piles of snow still surviving into summertime. The views from the trail are beautiful with the trees making a natural framing for the mountains in some places and Jenny Lake sparkling blue in the sun. 


After about 2 miles the trail leaves the lake behind to follow a beautiful creek up towards the north Jenny Lake parking lot. 


Once we reached the parking lot there was a cool bridge that crossed the creek and the trail headed back towards the lake and into he mountains. There were a lot of new growth woods in this section of the hike giving us unobstructed views of the Tetons. Right where the creek flowed into the lake we spotted our first ever Marmots running around in the brush. We stopped to take pictures and they seemed unbothered by us completely. One Marmot a little further down the trail even seemed like he was posing on a rock for us. 


Along the way we saw loads more Marmots before trail started upwards a little more and into thicker woods. We soon reached the spur of the trail that lead up to Inspiration Point where half of us decided to turn back and half continued on up into the canyon (Me, Dad, Whit, and two year old Hasten on my back). The trailed gained elevation fairly quickly from this point and soon the entire trail was covered in snow. It was amazing how much snow was there in early summer and it even got so bad I considered putting my microspikes on so I didn’t slip down the mountain (the only reason I didn’t put them on is because I foolishly left them in the car). Somewhere along the way the trail became lost under all the snow and with the help of a few footprints and some fellow hikers we made our way over some fallen trees and into a large snowy opening with a beautiful view of the lake and the Grand Teton looming above our heads. 



It felt as if we had climbed way higher than we actually did but we excitedly decided this was where we wanted to be (partly because we couldn’t find the trail in the snow and partly because it felt like the perfect spot). We let Hasten play in the snow and throw snowballs while we took pictures and made coffee on a nice large rock. There was a very cool waterfall up on the cliffs above us that I wish we could have gotten closer to but without any snow gear at all it was hard to make it up the steep slope. We made our coffee and headed back towards the parking lot where the rest of our family waited for us. We slid down the snow most of the way back which was so much fun. Once we reached the loop trail where there was no more snow we went as fast as we could to get back while on the lookout for a moose that somehow evaded us despite everyone else on the trail telling us they saw it. We reached the parking lot as it began to rain and excitedly told the rest of the family about our adventure before all hopping in the car to eat dinner. This hike is one of my favorite hikes I’ve done and I can’t say I’ve ever had coffee in a more perfect setting. There is nothing like being up on a mountain enjoying nature and coffee. 



Thanks! – Josh

My Favorite Coffee Roasters

A while ago I wrote a blog about my favorite coffee shops that I’ve been to while traveling but some of my favorite coffees come from roasters that don’t have their own shops or that I haven’t been lucky enough to go to yet. So here is my list of my five favorite coffee roasters I’ve had so far. 

     1. Counter Culture Coffee

     Calling home Raleigh, North Carolina, Counter Culture is very popular in the southeast. A good bit of the coffee shops in Atlanta carry Counter Culture and so it is my go to roaster and I get to try most of their available coffees. Counter Culture consistently roasts delicious single origin coffees and I never have to worry about getting a coffee I may not like from them because they are dedicated to sourcing and producing quality coffee that supports the farmers and helps them to farm the best coffee possible. If I had to choose only one coffee roaster to drink the rest of my life it would be Counter Culture Coffee. 


The two bags of Counter Culture I have right now (the one on the left is getting kind of old)

     2. Dapper & Wise 

     Located in the hipster Mecca of Portland, Oregon, Dapper & Wise is not only dedicated to making the tastiest coffee possible they’re also hilarious (just watch some of their Instagram videos and you’ll see). I first had Dapper & Wise a couple years ago when I received a sample pack for my birthday. Ever since then I have been in love with their roasts and even have a couple bags in the mail coming to me right now. 


One of Dapper&Wise’s shop locations

     3. Crema Coffee Roasters

     If you are ever in Nashville and can’t decide on a coffee shop then i’ll go ahead and decide for you. Go to Crema. I have been to most every shop in the city and Crema is easily my favorite. Not only do they have a dope shop but they roast their own coffee and they do it well. They care about the quality of their coffee and it reflects in the delicious roasts they produce. 


Crema’s delicious Ethiopia Sidamo that I bought last week (it’s almost gone)

     4. Intelligentsia Coffee

     Starting in San Francisco and then moving to Chicago and now with 10 shops in LA, Chicago, and New York City. Intelligentsia has been around for 21 years and with two decades of roasting experience you’d hope their coffee is good by now. And it really is. There is a reason they are one of the biggest names in specialty coffee and have so many locations across the country and it’s because they cook some tasty beans. 


Enjoying some Intelligentsia at the beach

     5. Cartel Coffee Lab 

     The last entry to this list and the second that was also on my favorite coffee shops list, Cartel populates the Grand Canyon State with 6 shops and they roast probably the best coffee in the state. Like the other entries Cartel cares about quality and sourcing and it shows through their coffees. My favorite coffee I’ve had from them was a honey processed El Salvador! 


My Cartel mug that is now broken 😦

– Josh

Seven Favorite Coffee Shops (So Far)

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I love coffee. I have many different methods to brew coffee at my house (My go to being my Hario V60 pour over) and I drink probably an average of three cups a day as well as I dabble in roasting coffee with my brother-in-law. So obviously I love going to coffee shops when I travel and I have accumulated a small list of favorites that I wish I could have at home with me. Here is my list of seven of my favorite coffee shops I have been to (so far!) Also I am excluding any of my home city of Atlanta’s coffee shops and just focusing on ones away from home.

  1. Cartel Coffee Lab (Phoenix, AZ)  – There are several Cartel Coffee locations but I visited the Phoenix location in July of 2016. Something that is really important to me is quality of coffee and Cartel definitely cares about their coffee quality. When I went I got a Honey Process Costa Rican that was sweet and nutty to the last drop.
  2. Glen Edith Roasters (Rochester, NY) – I discovered this shop in September 2014 on a road trip to see The Black Keys and Cage The Elephant in Rochester. When I went they were called Pour Coffee Parlor and served Verve and Intelligentsia but have since changed their name and began roasting their own. I would love to go back for a pour over and one of their “Lumberjack” sandwiches soon. (They also were doing nitro cold brew before it became such a huge fad) pour.JPG
  3. Boxcar Social (Toronto, ON) – When I visited Toronto last month (September 2016) one of the highlights to me was Boxcar Social. They specialize in coffee and whiskeys and serve flights of both. I did not try any whiskey but I tried a pour over of each of their offered coffees as well as an espresso shot of their Ethiopia Yukro from Anchored Coffee. I quite enjoyed the time spent there drinking coffee and I even brought back two bags to drink at home!
  4. Mission Coffee Co. (Columbus, OH) – I also went to this shop on my Black Keys/CTE road trip as well as again on my way to Toronto. The first time I went they were serving multiple roasters and I tried a Siphon (or Syphon) of an Ethipia Amaro Gayo roasted by Deeper Roots and that coffee stands out as one of my favorite coffees I have had with its rich chocolateyness and its sweet distinct raspberry flavor (needless to say I bought a bag of it). The second time visiting they had began roasting their own coffees and we tried an Ethiopian and an El Salvador!
  5. CREMA (Nashville, TN) – Crema rules. I visited for the first time last year and have been back every time I go to Nashville (which is often). The coffees they roast are on point and you can tell they care about they quality of the coffee they serve. The last coffee I had at Crema was a Honey Process Costa Rica Finca Dragon that i regret not buying a bag of. Crema is a must for me when in Nashville and despite it always being busy Crema is probably my favorite shop.
  6. Black Tap Coffee (Charleston, SC) – Just like Nashville, I visit Charleston multiple times a year and Black Tap has become a staple in our trips alongside places my family has been visiting for years. Black Tap roasts their own coffee and does a good job at it. I can’t wait to go back to sip down some pour overs and spend time with family.bt.JPG
  7. Elemental Coffee (Oklahoma City, OK) – Elemental is where I had one of my favorite coffees ever. I visited in July of 2015 on my way to the Grand Canyon and had a pour over of an Ethiopia Sidamo that I sadly had drink in a paper cup because we didn’t have time to sit and drink it but it was good enough in a paper cup that I had to buy a bag of it to compare with the Ethiopia Sidamo my brother-in-law and I had been roasting with our whirly pop. Once I got home and we brewed some up in the trusty ol’ V60 we were blown away by the complex flavor and deliciousness of the coffee. I tried to visit Elemental again on my way home from Utah in July of 2016 but was thwarted by storms and sunday coffee shop hours.

So there is my list. It is lacking for sure as I haven’t been to the northeast United States and I am about to visit Bard Coffee in Portland, Maine and that could easily be added to my list. But for now these are my favorites! – Josh