Home Away From Home, National Park, Wyoming

Hidden Lake and Inspiration Point Hike

It was our last day in the Tetons so we tried to make the best of it. As usual, we got a late start and then had to return to the campground not once but twice for things we forgot. We finally headed out to the Jenny Lake Visitor’s Center to catch the shuttle over the lake for the hikes.

We were planning to hike to Hidden Lake and then Inspiration Point, just a one-mile hike one way. Easy peasy. Right? Wrong! The hike to Hidden Lake was all uphill and though for the most part, the path was not difficult to walk the climbing was another story. We met a ranger who encouraged us to take it slow and take plenty of breaks because of the altitude. We were going to gain about 600 feet! The hike was nice. We had sun and shade and an occasional breeze which helped tremendously. We saw the turnoff for Inspiration Point but headed for the very lovely Hidden Falls. Situated near the mouth of Cascade Canyon, Hidden Falls drops roughly two hundred feet in a series of steps, thus easily making this the best waterfall hike in the park. As a result of its popularity, the waterfall is one of the most visited destinations in Grand Teton National Park.

When we got to Hidden Falls, we just sat by the falls enjoying the beauty and the sound of the rushing water plus we got to rest a little bit and catch our breath. Little did we know how much we would need it! After all, it was only a half-mile up. Right?

A pretty treacherous path
We began climbing along a very rocky and rugged trail stopping often to catch our breath and have some water. Near the Point, we passed over a short section with a fairly steep, narrow ledge. Of course, there were people going both ways but most of the time people would take turns on the more treacherous parts. It was however so worth the effort as we had an outstanding panoramic view of Jenny Lake, the second largest lake in the Tetons.

We made it!

The lake was named after a Shoshone Indian named Jenny Leigh who helped with the initial survey, the 1872 Hayden Survey. Another lake in the Tetons is named for her husband. As I researched Jenny Leigh, I learned that in 1876 Jenny and her six children all died of smallpox. What a sad ending for an outstanding woman.

The hike back to the shuttle was mercifully mostly downhill. We still had to stop for breaks but not as often. That was when I understood why the people we had met on our ascent had looked so ragged. I am sure we looked pretty ragged by then too. The shuttle ride back was blessedly cool.

After the return to shore, we headed for the car and hopefully a nice cool picnic area. I saw the sign for the Teton Village so told Jerry to turn there. I had not researched the village but I had read that it was a point of interest so off we went. We didn’t find any picnic areas so since it was after 2:00 Jerry just pulled off of the road and we did our usual, picnic lunch in the car. We rode right past the village and into Jackson Hole and did some light grocery shopping.

We returned to the campground for a little rest as we were both pretty exhausted from our hot, difficult but rewarding hike. A bit later we decided to ride out to Mormon Row. As we left the campground on Gros Ventre Road we saw a lot of cars pulled over and we all know what that means – an animal of some sort. It was a moose! I had been so disappointed that I had not seen a moose during our visit despite having been told that they were around. There he was, a huge bull moose. Of course, Jerry had left his good camera at the campground so we jumped in the car, rode back to the campground, returned to the sight of the moose and he was still there. He stayed until he was frightened by some guys entering the river to fish.

T. A. Moultan Barn
We continued on to Mormon Row. Mormon Row was a village started by members of the Church of Latter-Day Saints to sent out to establish new communities. They clustered their farms together to share labor and community which was in stark contrast with the isolation typical of most western homesteads. There are only a couple of houses there now and two barns which highlight Mormon Row. The T.A. Moulton Barn draws photographers from around the world to want to capture the barn with the majestic Tetons in the background.

Despite the fact that we only hiked a little over five miles total today we were pretty tired when we got back to the motor home. Jerry grilled pork chops and I prepared corn, peas and Mac and cheese knowing we’d have leftovers for dinner tomorrow night. Tomorrow morning will be an early start as we begin our trek back to North Carolina via Lawrenceville, Ga for some RV repair. It’s been a grand trip, more wonderful than I even anticipated but it is time to go home. The best part of every trip to me is returning home. It’s time to see our grands!!!!

Irrespective of hour or season, whether viewed on clear days or stormy, the Tetons are so surpassingly beautiful that one is likely to gaze silently upon them conscious of the futility of speech.

Fritiof Fryxell – 1958

Home Away From Home, National Park, Wyoming

Taggart Lake Trail in the Tetons

Our hike this morning was Taggart Lake Trail which was off the Jenny Lake highway. It was a little more than three miles round trip and had sun and shade, ascent and descent, flat and rocky climb. All in all, a perfect hike. We ran into a young couple from Virginia on their way to San Francisco for graduate school and chatted with them for the last half mile. It made the hike go much faster and then suddenly we were at Taggart Lake. It’s a small lake but pretty with beautiful reflections in the water. We did see some small fish swimming around. It took us about 30 minutes to walk back to the parking lot.

We returned to the campground for lunch and then went into to Jackson Hole for me to get a haircut and boy did I get one! I told her I was going to let it grow out and just needed a trim and shape up. Glad I didn’t tell her I wanted it short but I did get a good cut.

Afterward, we walked around Jackson Hole looking at t-shirts. If you can’t find one you want it’s not because there aren’t enough stores in town. They are everywhere! We ended up at Starbucks where we did some computer catch up. Both of us needed to sort pictures. I had already downloaded the pictures from Jerry’s camera to my computer but I wanted to put them in my Google photos in case something happened to my computer. Backup! We spent a good while in there.

Later we went to the Chapel of Transfiguration. It is a lovely log church which still holds Sunday services in the summer. I do wish we could have been there for a service. There is a large picture window at the back of the altar that frames the Tetons just behind the cross. Everyone is invited in to pray.

We then walked over to the Mentor buildings but everything was closed so we didn’t get to enter in the buildings.

We returned to the campground for leftovers for dinner. Jerry didn’t sleep well last night so an early night was in store.

Home Away From Home, National Park, Wyoming

A Day in the Grand Tetons

We slept in this morning. Since Jerry was not feeling well last night, I didn’t want to awaken him so he slept even later. We got a late start, almost 10:00. Heading to Coulter Bay where our first hike began was second on the list. First, Jerry wanted to find the overlook we had seen when we first entered the park. The view of the Tetons and their reflection on the water was a picture that couldn’t be described. We ran into the ever-present road construction but that didn’t slow us down too much as we headed back toward Yellowstone. Jerry wanted to get his pictures!

We finally found the turnoff – we think – and Jerry got his pictures. Again, the view was spectacular. On the way back we again were stopped for construction but it was a short delay. We headed on to Coulter Bay and made a stop at the general store first. It was a very nice store with groceries, gas, and then a gift shop on the other side. We ended up passing on the t-shirts but we did buy a fanny pack that would hold a water bottle and my phone. That will not be very pretty but it beats carrying a water bottle all of the time.

We decided to take the Lakeshore Trail which is a mostly flat trail that winds around Colter Bay. The views again are incredible. As we hiked along, we met someone who told us they had seen a bear and although we kept our eyes opened, we never saw one. We did sit on the shore of Swan Lake for a while. While sitting there a butterfly landed on my foot and stayed there long enough for us to get a picture. The water was not freezing but it was too cold for me to want to swim although there were others who did venture in.

After walking back to the Visitor’s Center, we got our lunch and found a picnic table in front of the center with a view of Colter Bay and the marina. There were some pretty nice boats out there all privately owned. It was the perfect place for a picnic and definitely the most perfect place we found to have lunch during the entire trip. Cool, shaded and peaceful.

After lunch, we walked back into the center and talked with a ranger about how to spend the rest of our day. Unfortunately, Signal Mountain is closed due to aggressive bear behavior. Apparently, someone had been feeding the bears and they were aggressive toward the rangers, thus the closure. We left the center and suddenly we were on the very picturesque road the ranger had suggested driving. We stopped at the Jackson Lake Dam and Reservoir. What power!

Our next stop was the Chapel of the Sacred Heart. The chapel, built entirely of logs was dedicated on August 15, 1937. It is a lovely church and they still have services on Sundays during the summer. Jerry decided not to stop anymore and take pictures and then there was another view that he couldn’t resist. The granite mountains are beautiful but the glaciers on top just seem to complete the lovely picture.

We then rode into Jackson trying to find someone to cut my hair. That is one busy little town! Traffic was terrible and of course, people were walking everywhere. We got a picture of the elkhorn arch and then headed back to the campground.

We had planned to have an early dinner and then go out animal watching or should I say animal looking. After dinner, we rode around for a while but we returned to the campground with our efforts in vain. Other than seeing a few bison here and there we haven’t seen any animals during our stay in the Tetons other than chipmunks which are abundant, almost like the prairie dogs in South Dakota.

Thankfully so far, we have had cool nights so one air conditioner has been sufficient. We’re a little worried about the trip home because we are headed to hotter and more humid weather. It has been cool and dry and we have been blessed with great weather these past seven weeks.