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Hike around Jenny Lake + Bears!

Jackson, Wyoming: Promising weather for a hike today, so we were up and out the door early (for us) and were on the trail by 9a. This is the third time we have hiked around Jenny Lake, at the base of the Teton Mountains in Grand Teton National Park. The hike is between 6-8 miles, depending upon how many side-trips you take. (We took all the side trips.)

We weren't on the trail five minutes when we saw a deer. Yes, I know a deer isn't very exciting. We see deer nearly every day at our house... but this is the first deer we had seen in over a week. All the time in Yellowstone - no deer. We took this rare sighting as a good sign. Good thing too, because about fifteen minutes into our hike, we came across a large black bear!

This photo is not going to win any awards. DT took it with my camera while standing on a rock, yards and yards away from the bear. The bear paid us no mind. S/he was eating. After a few minutes, s/he skedaddled down the hillside. On a mission. Though it does not show in the photograph, this black bear was "cinnamon" colored. Very pretty and about 250 pounds.

Why we saw a bear: these berries were within a half-mile of the bear. The bushes are loaded with fruit. There is plenty for a bear to eat on the shores of Jenny Lake in August.

We continued on to a very busy area on the mountain-side of the lake - Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. This area gets a lot of foot traffic because the Parks Service runs a boat from Park Headquarters ($10 each way!) to the far-side of the lake, bringing throngs of people who walk to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point.

At least when you reach Inspiration Point - 7200 feet elevation - there is always someone there to snap your photo.

Did I mention I hiked to 7200 feet today?

Just checking.

Though we seem to be in the middle of freaking nowhere, we had full cell service at Inspiration Point. DT snapped this photo and we emailed it to The Lovely Lisa! Lisa has hiked to Inspiration Point with us before.

Am I inspiring you to go on a hike? Listen carefully. Do not go on a hike. Sit on your sofa and have a cocktail and a bag of potato chips instead. I am typing this with my feet in a bucket of hot water. Hiking is difficult.

PS: I love hiking more than I love almost anything.

In the Inspiration Point area, you will also find Hidden Falls. I suppose it is "hidden" because you have to go behind the mountainside to see the water fall. The falls are so loud, you can hear the roar from 500 feet away... and there is a huge, wide trail leading directly to the falls, so they can't really hide at all. Amazing that there is still so much water flowing down the mountain in mid-August - but there are several glaciers above the falls feeding the creek. The waterfall is beautiful!

Hidden Falls

My Driver below Hidden Falls

Water cascading over rocks below Hidden Falls

After spending quite a bit of time around Inspiration Point and Hidden Falls, most visitors take the boat back to the Visitor Center. We are not most people. We continued along the shore-side path and walked completely around Jenny Lake!

We saw beautiful wildflowers (and tons of berries).

We saw a frog.

We stopped for lunch - split a sandwich - and this was our view!

We saw a huge Osprey nest.

Miles later, we came to the other side of Jenny Lake and had this fabulous view of the Tetons across the Lake. Inspiration Point is on the rocky point in the valley between the peaks.

This is about where we had our second bear encounter of the day. We were walking along the lake-side trail. I was about ten feet ahead of DT. This is generally not a good idea. My sight is so poor, I look at the trail/at my feet, and don't pay enough attention to what is in front of me... which found me ten feet from a black bear dining on berries on the side of the trail. 

We came around a bend and there was a nice, fat, 250-pound (black) black bear. I was staring at his massive backside. I was seriously shocked. In all our years of hiking, we have never, ever, come so close to Ursus americanus. He smelled worse than he looked.

I (don't faint) did not say a thing. I was scared, and backed away from the bear and my rear-end ran directly into DT, who was just steps behind me. DT saw the bear at the same time as I ran him into the trail-side brush. The noise from us crashing backwards into the bushes alerted the poor bear to humanoids in the area. The bear high-tailed it into the woods. No time for a photo. DT noted the bear had a radio collar. I was just stunned. Seriously, I could not catch my breath for ten minutes. Adrenaline! (Plus, we were at 6,800 feet.)

Near the end of our loop, a ranger had a display of animal pelts on a rock wall and was discussing the local wildlife with the tourists.

Pelts. Schmelts. We had seen the real thing and had lived to tell the tale. Seeing a bear in the wild makes you feel pretty smug. 

Just sayin'.

I also have to make a small note here, so that I have it documented in our family history. After our 8 mile hike today, DT went for a little three mile jog. You have no idea what it is like to live with an athlete.

We had dinner tonight at Il Villagio Osteria in Teton Village (the ski area of Jackson Hole, about 12 miles from Jackson) with our new best friends neighbors, fellow Country Coach Magna owners and Oklahoma State Cowboys, Sue & Mick. Our meals were most excellent, but the company was terrific. We really enjoyed getting to know Sue & Mick. Dave and Mick had a blast talking college football.

We were having so much fun, I nearly forgot to photograph my delightful asparagus ravioli. Our meals were outstanding. I can highly recommend Il Villagio Osteria. Please note - they serve wood-oven fired olives.

Until my next update, I remain, your absolutely exhausted and exhilarated correspondent.

RV Park: The Virginian Lodge RV Resort. Our usual and favorite campsite in Jackson. Nothing fancy at all, and really expensive - but right in town with full-service 50 amp pull throughs. Gravel sites with a picnic table on a little spot of lawn. Hot tub, pool and cafe at the adjacent hotel. Cable, bathhouse & laundry. No wifi that I can find. We are paying $62 per night. Dang.