Thursday, August 2, 2007

Grand Tetons, post beach

The Grand Tetons are amazing. When you think of “Wild West” scenery, alpine valleys, sharp granite peaks and wildlife at each turn, The Tetons deliver. Every day you drive by the range it looks like a painting, it hardly seems real.

We were planning to do a few days in the backcountry on the Teton Crest Trail, a classic trail for any serious hiker, but after our travel troubles neither Sara or I was in the mode for that level of roughing it quite yet. We decided to do some day hiking and ease back into the lifestyle. We did the Jenny Lake Trail (a great alpine lake with crystal clear water and berry patches along the way) and the Cascade Canyon Trail (follows a nice stream back up into the canyons and alpine meadows). Cascade Canyon area offers what I would consider absolutely perfect scenery. Although this is prime bear country (we were under full bear lookout mode – see YellowStone posts), we didn’t see a single brown or black bear or even any tracks for that matter. We did see a large male moose right off the trail about 8 feet from us. He was munching some grass and enjoying the shade, they are quite large up close.

Camping was good in the park (Gros Ventre Campground), nice and cool sleeping weather. The only interesting part, and depending on your point of view this could be a positive or negative in the wilderness experience, was the large pack of wolves that found its way near the campground to howl at the moon each morning from 4:30 – 5:30. I am not sure how far away they were, but there had to have been about 15 or 20 of them, barking howling in these long solo performances. I found it relaxing, kind of like we had finally reached the wilderness, it was a good thing Sara was asleep... and yes, the moon was pretty full this week so the cliché seems to be valid.

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