Our continued adventures and exploration of this amazing park and the surrounding areas...
Monday 11 June, 2018 - The Blonde - the cloud is low and the temperature has dropped about 20’F from yesterdays high. It’s chilly and even though we intend to walk today it wasn’t looking very promising. We entered the Park and drove into Lupine Meadows, just as it started sleeting! Where has Summer gone?! I took my umbrella and explored a bit...The Bear stayed back in LH and started to look at "alternatives". We decided to exit and head south, quickly calling into inspect the Transfiguration Chapel. As a part of the history of Jackson Hole, this historic chapel is on many individuals’ sightseeing lists. It played a primary role in the movie "Spencer’s Mountain", which was filmed in Jackson Hole in 1963, and featured Henry Fonda and Maureen O’Hara. Now it is a very popular venue for weddings with an amazing backdrop of the Tetons..when there is no cloud!
The historic chapel at the south entrance to Grand Teton NP.
So Jackson Hole today for some library, groceries and a look around. This is "Bear Town"!! There are bears everywhere. My favourite are the rafting bears!
The Rafting Grizzilies!
The Bear....& The Bear!
There are heaps of galleries and shops selling wild animal by-products and crafts. The amount of skins, pelts and antlers is "totally" overwhelming. "Totally" is almost used in conversation here as much as "like"...whenever you agree with anyone on anything...it is "totally". So there were "totally" these amazing cowboy boot stores...
...and "totally" amazing stuffed animal displays...
...and "totally" the biggest antler arch we had ever seen...
....and "totally"...cool statues of famous figures dotted around the center...
The Bear "totally" famous and some geezer called Albert Einstein....
The Blonde - There are "totally" some great paintings and we get some good ideas for our new table which we are planning for our new home. Turquoise has been inlaid into the holes left by resin and knots.
The Bear loved the bear paintings of course!
We met Christine when we arrive backat Little Henrietta, (hubbie Bob, not there) they also own an XP Camper. She asked a few questions and they have been in the area for 10 days. There’s is No.30 and they have been enjoying their touring for nearly three years now (LH is No.47). Shame we did not have the time to spend with them and catch up on more travel stuff but they are heading out today. Meantime The Bear is checking out the saloon bars...
Saddle up! Time for a beer....
We loved Jackson. Very cute town and lovely people. We will return of course on Friday for our goodies. Tonight we camped above last nights camp. There were several coaches and RV’s who had made it up the bumpy, stoney forest track. We joined them and got an even grander view of the Tetons while we tucked ourselves in for the night as the temperature dropped and the wind picked up.
Nice view from our "free" camp spot...
Tuesday 12 June - Jenny Lake and Cascade Canyon Hike - So much for our plan to be up for sunrise shots from our hill top vista of the Tetons. It was such a cold night that we just snuggled under the covers and didn’t emerge until the pink glow was well and truly over! Thankfully we will be here a few more days and we should be seeing a few more. SHOULD!
The Blonde doing a spot of solar panel cleaning
The Bear - to make up for our lazinness we had a walk. A LONG walk. A walk around Jenny Lake and a side trip to Cascade Canyon and then to Hidden Falls....planned? Nah of course not....The Blonde as usual just tagging on those extra miles. Many people take the boat across the lake and just visit the Hidden Falls or walk the short way back to the Jenny Lake Visitor Centre. But nooooo, not for us! Starting with a climb up some steps we walked the circuit anti-clockwise on the recommendation of a Ranger along the lakeside with an occasional gentle climb above it.. Good choice.
Westerly view over Jenny Lake
We get to see the mountains with the full morning sun on them from the east side of the lake. Once you cross the bridge at String Lake and head south then you’re much closer to the foothills and whilst the scenery is still amazing it’s harder to get wide angled photos.
The Blonde on the bridge to String Lake
The Blonde - at the top of the lake the path scoots around the overflow from String Lake and crosses a bridge to the west side. The views all day were just spellbinding. We LOVED it. We met a lovely couple from Alabama on the circuit around the lake who reminded us how little annual holiday Americans get and yet the schoolkids are now off for THREE months! Go figure! We chatted while we walked on the west side of the lake with more open views of the water now. Of course, I’m not satisfied with just the lake circuit, I mean, who would be? I need to see Cascade Canyon. The Bear was somewhat reluctant and puffed a bit up the switchbacks but it may be the only canyon we get to hike up so I’m not going to pass by the junction am I?!
Nice picnic spot halfway up Cascade Canyon
As some compensation we saw a huge bull moose on the way up but failed to get close enough on the narrow track to get a good photo. Still, you’ve gotta take what you can get.......and then we got up close and personal with a very friendle Hairy Marmot...
Its...Spot The Moose competition time!
Mr. or Mrs. Hairy Marmot was much easier to spot....
Once through the switchbacks the forest opened up and we started to see what we’d come for. The canyon flattens and runs alongside creeks and snowmelt. The willows are in bud and there are wildflowers everywhere.
The Blonde in Cascade Canyon
The Blonde - we were deep in willow country and I had just said to David that this was "moose heaven" when everyone walking towards us told us there were were Moose ahead, but by the time we’d scooted the 100yds she had decided to lay down in the long grass! Thanks mum! The lake made a super rest spot for many and the point to turn around and go back. One couple were coming back with snowshoes on their packs although I heard them say that they hadn’t needed to use them.
The Blonde & The Bear...on track around Jenny Lake
We retraced our steps. Mama Moose and Bub were still sleeping in the willows but word had got around and people were hanging around that spot. Going down was much quicker of course but by now the afternoon traffic had arrived by boat. We made the trip into Hidden Falls and then the long march home which had the temerity to go UPHILL for quite some way before dropping us back to the lakeside.
The Blonde always likes the best viewpoints....
The Bear - it was 15 miles in all by the time we’d added in Cascade Canyon and Hidden Falls... at Hidden Falls we had to share with the ferry-trippers who had come over the lake just for the ride and the stroll to the falls. They were a nuisance! And an intrusion into the end of our day! So we didn't hang around too long and it was difficult to get photos of the falls anyway with so many selfies going on...each to their own of course. All in all it had been a wonderful hike and one I think we will treasure for a long time.
The Blonde - I loved our day out. It turned out to be longer than we’d anticipated but we had all day to hike, we had food and water and we knew where we would be camping that night so the pressure was off...and despite one or two little moans and groans, The Bear actually admitted he had loved the hike.
...and just when you thought you had reached the top...yep, another staircase.
The Bear -we headed out of the park and then upti Shadow Mountain National Forest behind Mormon Row, where we photographed the barns on Saturday. It was a bit of a trek on sandy and steep rocky tracks but as we climbed we found an amazing camping spot all to ourselves with fantastic views over the Antelope Flats and the Tetons. Tomorrow may be a day just to sit and stare at the view!!
Sundown @ Shadow Mountain camp.
Wednesday 13 June, 2018 - The Blonde - from our hilltop freecamp at Shadow Mountain we can gaze all day long with an uninterrupted view over the Tetons. No crowds to dodge around. No pushing and shoving to see THE view, moose, marmot or anything else. So we choose to stay where we are and do stuff. For me it’s a day of journaling and photos and a little clean up - mainly indoors as it’s cold outside until after lunch. The Bear however braved it and sits in the sun saying it’s warm enough to be outside!
Later, I do make an exit though and head up the forest road to see what’s above us especially because we’ve seen so many bikes going up. It’s steep and I’m soon puffing. No way could I bike up here but several are on their way up (slowly) as I’m on my way down. I meet Melissa, an energy consultant travelling full time and we walk together for a couple of hours. I enjoy her company and our conversation is all my favourite subjects!!! She tows a trailer which she’s fitted out herself. Pretty good job too. Simple but enough. I admire what she’s doing. And I love that trailer door - what a great yoga platform!! She’s off to a convention in Victor, Idaho at the weekend. Lots of full time travellers exchanging ideas on life on the road, running a business on the move, yoga and vegetarian BBQ. I don’t think we’ll be ready to leave the Tetons in time but she lets me know there are several conventions like this and one is coming up in New Mexico. Hmmmm???
Our camp spot at Shadow Mountain...not too shabby!
Thursday 14 June, 2018 - The Blonde - hilarious start to the day. This gorgeous French couple with no English approached us in Albertson’s car park as we were loading our groceries. They had a noise which they couldn’t figure out and couldn’t report to the rental company over the phone due to said lack of English. I could understand but was very rusty on the replies but we went to their aid. The Bear searched and searched while I was on hold to their RV rental company.
"Mon dieu -what is this vibrating in my bag?"!
The Bear -I checked over all the plumbing and electrical connections in and around where the noise was coming from but could find nothing. Then at the bottom of a small recess behind the sink I found a vibrating bag???!!! It turned out to be his ear and nose hair trimmer which had somehow turned itself on!!!
The Blonde - Thank goodness for my French!
The Blonde - a message came through that two parcels expected tomorrow were already waiting for us at FedEx store in town. I knew one was my new Lowepro camera bag but The Bear had been very mysterious about the other. Was it for me? Of course it was...another spoil!
Now The Blonde has two MacBook Pro's...what could possibly go wrong?
A new Apple MacBook Pro with a whopping 1 TB SSD disc space.... Yippee!.... Hooray!.... Fandabbydozey! No more sulks when the laptop crashes due to lack of space. Speed and space and it comes with a great big touch pad and nice touch keyboard. We’re back to the library having postponed our trip to Togowatee while everything gets transferred to my new soooperdoooper machine. I am spoiled. I need to start acting with a bit more gratitude, patience and kindness. The Bear - AGREED!
The Bear - later in the afternoon having got everything sorted on the new laptop we head out and up to the Togowotee Pass and to Falls Campground...ready to do some more hiking around the Togowotee Pinnacles. Nice camp area and we need to give LH some shore power to charge up the batteries.
Little Henrietta @ Falls Campground
Friday 15 June - The Blonde - whilst the Togowotee Pinnacles are calling us this morning the weather is not as beautiful, clear and sunny as yesterday. We fluff around watching the clouds and decide it’s a day to charge the batteries and get Lightroom onto my new MacBook Pro and play with my new camera. We move to a powered site and plug in. I’m sure Little Henrietta is grateful not to have to try and squeeze every bit of energy out of the weak sun. I learn that the Brooks Lake campground is only opening today. So much for my strop last night for not going the extra 5 miles up there!
We have a campfire tonight and it’s good to get out of Little Henrietta and away from the challenge of Lightroom! One of the campers, an ex copper who worked in the Coastguard in Alaska early in his career, had seen a moose by the creek that meanders into the Falls. Damn! I had seen moose hoof prints on one of my tours to get some steps on my FitBit. Maybe he (and he was a big guy with a big rack of antlers) is waiting to show himself to me before we leave? We have had a few near misses recently. I need a good Moose experience.
Nothing better than a blazing campfire...and a bowl of corn chips!
Saturday 15 June - The Bear - Falls Campground was very grey and wet this morning...and cold. It looked like another day inside for The Blonde to play with her new toy. Or a trip into Dubois for shopping?? Really? But yay, by lunchtime the sun started to show its face and we ventured outside chatting to our neighbors, looking over the falls and spotting a cow moose. I was saved from a trip to town!!
The Blonde - so then, shall we head for Brooks Lake just 5 miles up the hill???? Yesss please! Letsgo! The dirt road was pretty well groomed to say it opened only yesterday. There was a contract crew from Oregon planting spruce and lodge pole pine saplings for the US National Forest Services. This region has been devastated by pine beetle. It’s estimated some 85% of the forest is affected. This crew are planting 90,000 trees in a week. They were almost running then stopping to scrape a hole, punch a sapling in and moving on. They were here one moment then gone the next and all you could hear was their trailing voices as they disappeared over the next rise! Great work guys.
Fly fishermen at Brooks Lake
Brooks Lake is beautiful...and we are not alone...the keen fly fishermen are already in situ. The Pinnacles on one side and another stunning butte on the other. I’ve been looking at them for the past two days thinking what did they remind me of. And today it came to me. Mt Rushmore. David can’t see it at all but I keep expecting to see the Presidents faces!!
The Pinnacles...can you see Mt. Rushmore...nah...neither can I?
There are still patches of snow and the ground is quite boggy. We meander to the lakeshore but without long boots we can’t get across the creeks and snowmelt. Wildflowers and alpine plants are pushing up everywhere. There are already campers and fishermen using flies and lures and there’s a couple of boats out. There’s a lodge nearby and we see a couple of horseriders heading there and a group of ATV’s on a tour.
Nice back drop for an afternoon horse ride.....
Our camp host warns of bears all around when we ask if the trails are open. We’ll hike tomorrow (in long boots) and see how far we can get. I tried my new camera backpack today with almost everything in and I’m happy ! I can now comfortably take my tripod and a couple of lenses as well as water, lunch and rain jacket.
The Blonde @ Brooks Lake...featuring her new camera backpack...now where are those bears?
Ending the day with more cloud than we’ve seen since lunchtime, we huddled up to a hot smokey campfire, not much dry wood around, and listened to the last birdsong of the day.
Great campfire spot with The Pinnacles behind us...and a nice G&T to the side...plus, The Blonde of course!
Suddenly a stunning fiery sky develops and once we think it’s all over the tips of the a Pinnacles turn bright orange and the lake reflects the vibrant sky. The best sunset we’ve seen since we set out.
Sunday 17 June, 2018 - The Blonde - no hike today to Jade Lake! - It’s a “soft day” as the Irish would say! That means it’s p*****g down, cold and grey. Last night’s wonderful sunset should have given us warning of what was to come. We cannot see the Pinnacles this morning the cloud is so low. I really really want to do this hike. It’s such (WAS such) a beautiful place and we are promised bears. Actually it’s the first time I’ve really felt the threat of bears. We carry bear spray and do all the right things regarding scents and food but on this hike we would/could have come face to face with both Grizzlies and Black Bears on foot. Regardless, I still wanted to be out in this spectacular scenery and breathing some fresh air. Soooooo, it’s another morning of computer work. My bum is becoming square and feeling quite sore from all the sitting. FitBit gets me up and keeps me honest but it’s not enough. By lunchtime I’m feeling the need for space.
The Blonde hard at work....as the rain rattles on the roof!
The weather doesn’t improve and so we sadly have to abandon our plans for The Pinnacles hike and head back down to Falls Campground, but then....YESSSS...we see mum moose and calf grazing in one of the marshes on the way down. They let us observe them for quite some time. I have a side angle lens on my camera so David passes his over. With the 600mm zoom I manage to get some good shots.
Mum & Bub moose happily grazing....
"Did you hear that?"........."sshhhhh...I see EarthRoamers!"
The Bear - our previous spot at Falls Campground is empty so we pulled straight in hooked up to shore power and OD’d on a new TV series..."The Good Fight", ate chips and as the Blonde calls it "other crap"...managed to do some much needed cleaning up outside on LH during a short dry spell. The weather is closing in again and we hear there has been 3 inches of snow up at Brooks Lake and the road has been closed again...so there you go, it was a good decision to make our way back down after all. There’ll be no campfire tonight, everything is so wet and damp and surprisingly despite the cold the mozzies have arrived.
Monday 18 June - The Bear - the weather hasn’t improved this morning and any hiking in this area just isn’t going to happen in the next few days from the forecast we have. We saw the best of the area on Saturday when the sun came out and we had the best sunset. So back over the Continental Divide we go heading west into The Tetons again...with a sprinkling of snow enough to bring out the salt trucks and gritters.
Little Henrietta & The Blonde at Togowotee Pass Summit...snowing in June!
The Blonde @ Continental Divide - Togowotee Pass Summit...and its snowing!
The Blonde - back in the Tetons the weather is so much better and there was one last place I wanted to see before we left this area, the Blacktail Ponds - just in case there was a moose waiting for me! There wasn’t but the wildflowers and the birds were very pretty and definitely worth the detour.
The Bear - It is hard to leave the Tetons. It has been a wonderful adventure here and the scenery has been exquisite and we’ve had some great camping and hiking. We highly recommend if you come this way make sure you don't just drive through on your way to Yellowstone and take a cursory glance...it is worth at least a few days to apprciate what it has to offer. But we must be moving on. Next? We are heading south and then west to Craters Of The Moon!