Grand Tetons National Park, Taggart and Bradley Lakes Volkswalk:
Where yesterday was clear as a bell, today’s view of the Grand Teton Range was marred by smoky skies. The rangers we talked to said there were a couple of smaller fires but they didn’t think the fires would effect the clarity of the mountains that much and weren’t in the immediate vicinity. They hadn’t heard of any larger fires that would cause so much haze.
Trailhead start time: 9:00 a.m. Distance to cover 11K (6.7 miles). Vertical height: 1,400’ (up and down moraines). Start: Taggart Lakes Trailhead, Grand Tetons National Park. Hike finish time: 12:10 p.m.
This walk started out through an open flat sagebrush area, past horse corrals, a stream, and more rolling sagebrush flats dotted with wildflowers. In the first mile, we saw a weasel and a marmot sunning themselves on rocks.
|Squirrel eating mushroom.|
|Bob with Grand Tetons in background.|
The temperature cooled down about ten degrees when we walked through a lodge pole pine forest. We continued up to Taggart Lake at 6,902’. After a short rest to appreciate nature’s handiwork, we continued on to Bradley Lake at 7,022’.
|Susan at Taggart Lake.|
From Taggart Lake to Bradley Lake we earned our vertical trail gain switch-backing steeply through low-growth bushes, wildflowers, and small quaking aspen up and over a moraine, then down the other side to Bradley Lake. Prime bear habitat.
|Bob at Bradley Lake.|
|Susan at Bradley Lake.|
|Bob on bridge at Bradley Lake.|
I don’t like the idea of surprising bears, so I either (a) talk loudly to Bob or (b) say words to a song. Today’s song, “Move It!” was from the cartoon Madagascar. I make up my own words, “You gots to move it, move it. Bears gots to move it, move it. Move it! No bears on this trail. I don’t want to see you. Move it!”
On the downhill to Bradley Lake, we hiked in cool, old-growth forest which lasted all around Bradley Lake and part way up the moraine on the trail back to the parking lot.
After the old growth, we again passed through low-growth shrubs and small quaking aspens, so this part of the trail had much more sunlight. With the cool breezes and our walking pace, the temperature was tolerable (80 F).
|Glad hike is over! Collapse on closest rock.|
Back at the car I took off my hiking boots & socks and put on my Skechers sandals. Ahhhh! Immediate foot relief. Don’t get me wrong, I love my new hiking boots, but my feet were hot and confined. The Skechers let my feet breathe again.
After lunch, we drove back to Flagg Ranch for lunch at the restaurant. I had a Pig Wish Salad with wild-caught salmon and Bob had a vegetarian sandwich. Both of us enjoyed our meals. This restaurant was very health conscious with organic chicken, wild-caught salmon, and quinoa salad. We figured lunch would be cheaper than dinner and eating our big meal at lunch after a 6.7 mile hike seemed like a very good idea. We will have a small supper.
This afternoon, we are actually RELAXING at the 5er and took a three-hour nap. Feeling refreshed.
I have all the windows on the 5er open, breathing in fresh, piney air. It has cooled down to about 72 degrees. Overnight low will be 44. Last night we actually got cold. Tonight, we’re turning on the electric space heater.
Yesterday while hiking, the realization hit me that we have a cabin in the mountains, a cabin in the desert, a cabin at the beach, a cabin in the Texas Hill Country, a cabin at the lake, a cabin anywhere we want it. And it’s the same cabin—our fifth wheel. We have it with us wherever we go. All of our possessions (the few we have) are with us! The kitties are always HOME (except for the fact that the home moves from time to time, but they have adapted remarkably well). How great is that?
Speaking of the fur-kids, they seem to LIKE moving to a new location. They are thoroughly entertained looking out the windows at people, birds, bugs, squirrels, always something new. Can’t wait to see what they think of bison! Bowie loves to ride outside on my shoulder in a new location to sniff and look at everything. He’s such a curious cat. Sunnie, on the other hand, is perfectly content to stay in the rig. He might sniff the top step, but he doesn’t seem eager to land on the ground outside.
We are at the height of the summer tourist season, yet our campground at Flagg Ranch is not full. Our site has a lot of space…it’s like having two spaces. We are 50 miles north of Jenny Lake in Grand Tetons, so it’s been a bit of drive to and from our hikes, but what scenery! It’s not a chore to go back and forth. Plus our drive to Yellowstone tomorrow will be much shorter than if we stayed farther south.
Today as we were driving back to our campsite, we saw four tandem bicycles towing little trailers coming up the steep hill to Flagg Ranch. After lunch, we saw what looked like bicyclists in the lodge and I asked one of the men if they were the people we had seen riding their bikes up the hill. Yes, they were.
I asked him where they were from and where they were going. He told me it was two families from Oak Harbor, Washington traveling together. They started in Arlington, Virginia and were making their way back home to Oak Harbor. Their journey will take them 4,000 miles. I congratulated him. That is quite an accomplishment to make it this far. I wonder if we’ll see them again in Yellowstone? I’d love to learn more about them: how they dealt with weather, animals, breakdowns, stamina—must be the newspaper reporter coming out in me.
Bob went out to hike a trail along the Snake River this evening. He said he’d be gone about two hours. I would have gone but my feet and legs need a little recovery time after hiking 16 miles in two days.
Tomorrow morning, we set off for our two-week reservation at Fishing Bridge in Yellowstone National Park. Because we are so far north at Flagg Ranch, Fishing Bridge is only 42 miles away from our current location. We should have an easy driving day tomorrow. Yay!
When we are in Yellowstone, we will research taking the Linx shuttle bus to avoid driving “The Beast” and paying $3.93/gallon for diesel. Besides we will be able to enjoy the scenery and let someone else deal with road construction, wildlife gawkers and crazy drivers.
Summertime is also road construction time in Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. The roads take a beating every winter from the harsh weather conditions. The short summer season is the only time road repairs/construction are possible. For example, near Colter Bay in Grand Tetons there is a major road repair job now. The signs say allow up to 30 minute wait times. In the five times we’ve been through that project, our longest wait time was only eight minutes. We must be timing it just right.
I think I’ve cleared my brain of all the miscellany floating around in it. Looking forward to a good night’s sleep and feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the morning. I think I’ll sit outside and read until the mosquitoes come out.
Travel Bug relaxing. Ahhh.