Posts Tagged ‘grand teton’

Tue, June 16, 2009

Today’s plan was to go to Jenny lake, hike one of the trails and an activity on the lake. Weather was never great through out the trip, but it was particularly bad in South Dakota and Wyoming. Just cloudy, drizzly, foggy …

I had read and heard a whole bunch about Jenny lake and was eager to get there. We drove there quite early in the morning. There were no crowds. I had done some research on some hiking possibilities and we had decided on Inspiration point as the destination. There are two ways to do this hike. The longer way is that you walk along the shore of the lake from the visitor center for about 2 miles and then climb up to Inspiration point (1 mile). Or you can take a boat ride to the trail head and cut out the walk along the shore. Since SK was only 3.5 yrs, a 6 mile hike would have been too much for her, so we had decided to take the boat ride to the trail head. It’s a short 10 minute ride on calm waters with awesome views of the mountains.

Inspiration point - Jenny lake in the background

There were a good number of hikers and we started climbing up. After passing by a creek, at around ½ mile, is the hidden falls. But I could just catch a glimpse through dense trees and didn’t find any good viewing platform for the falls. We continued on to Inspiration point. The hike continues on into a Canyon, but we stopped here and enjoyed the views.

On our way back, I was curious if we could catch a better view of the Hidden falls. We had to look around quite a bit and we finally spotted some hikers coming from another path. And they asked us to go a few meters further up to catch a better view. Here we could see the full height of the falls and it was quite pretty. But hanging around there was difficult since the ground was very slushy and it was crowded too. So after a few pictures, we walked down to the boat dock and rode back. A better description of this hike (done by someone else) is here, complete with pictures.

Hidden falls

After lunch, we looked at something to do on the lake. There were no speed boats or kayaks here, so it had to be canoeing. PK is ok with kayaking, but in the past, when ever the conversation turned to canoeing, he would become resistant. But today the kids were eager to do something anything on the water, he agreed. Overall, all of us enjoyed the experience. When the boats across the lake came, the wake used to rock us a lot and that was a bit scary, but other than that, it was a lot of fun. At one point, it looked like PK was more worried about all the expensive stuff we had (HD camcorder, camera, 2 blackberries etc) than us! I think the best views of the mountains were from inside this lake.

After this we wanted to go up Signal mountain on the auto road. On the way from the Jenny lake center to Signal mountain, there were a line of cars pulled over by the roadside, so we joined the party. Turned out, there was a black bear cub limping about. Seems to have hurt one of his legs and he was hovering in that vicinity. Signal mountain road was a scenic drive and very nice views at the top – the lakes, the mountains, the park, Snake river …. But the mosquitoes and other insects there were very bothersome. So we didn’t stay for very long.

On our drive back, another car flagged us down about half way through the mountain. A cyclist who was going down had fallen and injured himself and there was problem with the bicycle too. The car which flagged us down was a sedan with an elderly couple inside. They wanted to help the cyclist but couldn’t fit both him and the bicycle in their car. So they wanted us to go along. Our SUV was stuffed to the brim (from stuff for the road trip and our India luggage) and there was barely room for a cat inside. We cleared out a few things and the kids squished themselves and he somehow squeezed in the backseat. He had to be dropped back to Jackson, WY (almost 50 miles away), in the opposite direction of where we were headed. I wasn’t too happy initially, but you gotta do the right thing, so we did. We had to exit the park, pass by the Jackson airport and reached Jackson in about an hour. Jackson is a charming city and I regretted that we didn’t get to spend any time there at all.

The cyclist turned out to be an interesting kid, in his teens. He was from Netherlands and on a 2 month trip to the U.S and was doing a cross-country trip. He was mainly taking public transportation between cities/points of interest, staying in hostels and doing local touring by bicycle. He had started in the east coast and gone to similar places we had (by bus or train). Everyone enjoyed the conversation and AK seemed in awe of that kid’s adventures. After dropping him off, it was a quiet ride back to the cabin.

Miles driven today:126

States: WY

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Mon, Jun 15, 2009

This was our last day in Yellowstone.  To start off, we drove on the South Rim Drive. Undeniably, the highlight of this part of the park is the Artist’s point. A postcard perfect spot to catch the Lower falls and the Yellowstone canyon! We wanted to hike down Uncle Tom’s trail but it had still not opened for the season. That was a disappointment since the viewing platforms on this trail are supposed to give the closest view of the falls.

We were done by mid-morning and we started driving down towards Grand Teton National Park. A milestone we passed through was the continental divide. The drive itself was short and soon enough we were in Grand Teton. We chose a picnic table by the Jackson lake with a view of the Tetons.

As far as accommodations were concerned, we had not made any advance reservations here before we left home, because our plan was to camp and the lady had said it was very early in the season and campgrounds would be pretty empty, so no need for reservations. But after the Yellowstone experience, no one was in the mood for another two freezing nights in the outdoors. So we went and checked into log cabins at the Colter Bay Village. The cabins were good and SK was pretty excited that there was a bathroom and a TV!

We went back near the marina to see if we could catch a ride on the speed boats. But it was quite expensive and rides were closing for the day in a few minutes, so we didn’t want to be hurried. We ditched that and took a small walk along the lake shore. Beautiful views …

Artist's point

I liked Grand Teton a lot. I’ve visited so many parks, many of them quite unique and beautiful, but somehow the small parks always impress me. Usually the parks are so big that even after a four-day stay, I leave with the feeling that I couldn’t do everything that I wanted. But the advantages of these smaller gems are that they are quite beautiful too, less crowded and in a 2-3 day stay, you get to see and do a lot more. I remember liking Zion National Park for similar reasons.

Miles driven today: 120

States: WY

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