“Just take the trail until you reach the boulder as big as a house, then as you go around it, the valley will open up wide for you…” said the ranger as we explained to him the day hike we were thinking of going on. Originally AJ and I had planned on spending the day separate at Grand Teton National Park. It wasn’t that we were tired of each other on our road trip across the US, but AJ had always wanted to bike this National Park with it’s beautiful bike path and that was an excuse for me to go on a meditative hike on my own. We had agreed to meet at designated time and place afterwards, but driving to the park we received news via text from AJ’s parent’s. The Supreme Court had ruled in favor of same-sex marriage. Twice. As we cried driving down the road, we realized that there was no way we could spend the rest of the day alone. We hiked out together, hand-in-hand, inspecting every single large boulder and examining it with a realtor’s mind. Is THIS one as big as a house? Did he mean a house in San Francisco or a house in the Midwest? Are we talking a single level ranch or a starter home or one of those two-story three-garage homes in the suburbs? Why wasn’t he more specific? And then we saw it. The boulder unmistakably as big as a house. We rounded the corner and saw the valley open wide for us with tears in eyes. The hike in Grand Teton as indeed Grand and America got just a little bit more beautiful for us.
All photos were taken by AJ Bates and Irvin Lin on the Canon 5DMkII and the iPhone 5.