On to the Tetons
Tuesday mid-morning, July 19, 2005: Once in the Tetons, I stopped for a walk at Colter Bay. I took trail to Swan Lake and Heron Pond (3 miles, flat). There were some nice views and Heron Pond had two very impressive Beaver lodges. I had lunch at Signal Mountain Lodge. It was too early to check in, so I drove to some of the overlooks.
|Tetons and Heron Pond|
I stopped at the Moran Overlook, drove the Jenny Lake Scenic Drive (walking a bit at one of the overlooks), and then headed up Signal Mountain Road to the top. Signal Mountain Lodge is right next door and it was now late enough to check in. It's pretty clear these are the best accommodations (and food) of the trip. I went over to Oxbow Bend Overlook before dinner and there were two Moose there (female and immature).
|Mt. Moran and Beaver Lodge||Mt. Moran|
|The Tetons||Moose with Calf|
After dinner, I took some sunset shots of the Tetons from my porch.
Birds: 149. Mammals: 25.
Hiking and Floating
Wednesday, July 20, 2005: I took some early morning photos of the Tetons from my porch (yes, I got a room with a view). Since I started before the boat across Jenny Lake was running, my plan was to hike around the end of Jenny Lake, then up to Cascade Canyon via Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. I started to do this, birding on the way, but noticed the sign for Moose Pond Loop and decided to change plans. I hiked the entire loop back to Jenny Lake. I considered it a good choice because I got my life Pine Marten.
|Mt. Moran Sunrise||Teewinot/Grand Teton Sunrise|
After completing the loop, I continued with my plan, hiking to the junction above the west side boat dock, then going up to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. After taking some photos and enjoying the view, I continued on into Cascade Canyon. The trail in Cascade Canyon ascends slowly, so it was a pleasant walk. I wasn't sure how far to hike. I'd already gone pretty far, and didn't want to overdo it. I ended up going about 3/4 mile into the canyon. By the time I got to the boat, I'd hiked 7.5 miles and gained a total of 800 feet. I paid my $5 to ride back on the boat rather than hike another 2+ miles.
|Jenny Lake||Cascade Canyon||Mt. Owen|
Rather than taking the direct path to the lodge via the inner road, I looped around on the outer road instead, making some scenic stops on the way. I had lunch at the lodge, then took a break. When I checked in, I had made arrangements to take a float trip on the Snake River later in the afternoon. We met outside the restaurant and were driven to the starting point at Deadman's Bar. The inflatable raft we used was designed to float down the river in any orientation. The guide exploited this fact by turning it so that we were all variously in front, back, left, or right—all by rotating the raft. This was not a whitewater trip (those are available too), but a scenic/wildlife trip. The water was sometimes a little bumpy and we sometimes had to avoid obstacles, but it was a calm ride. We saw a total of 7 Bald Eagles, including both adults and immatures of various ages. For me, the highlight was the Beaver that slipped into the water right behind the raft. The trip ended at Moose and we returned to the lodge.
Birds: 149. Mammals: 27.