We’ve always loved the Tetons, but I was thinking nothing could match the beauty of our recent days in Yellowstone. Shows how little I know! It was breathtaking!
In a decade long ago, we did several annual canoe float trips from the dam at Jackson Lake through Oxbow Bend to the Pacific Grove take out point. Now Pacific Grove is closed for upgrades, so we just put our kayak in at Cattleman’s Bridge, just upstream from Oxbow, and explored the Bend.
Our time there was so wonderful, we decided to try the whole float as in years past. From Cattleman’s Bridge (Where there was a bridge many years ago; now no trace of it is left) to the launching point at Jackson Lake Dam was only 3 miles by road, so we put the kayak together at the dam, and I drove the Suburban to Cattleman’s. Then got out the folding bike, and rode back to Cherryl and the kayak. We had an awesome float, past our takeout like the previous day, played around Oxbow Bend some more, and then back up to the Suburban. Then a short trip back up to the dam where I’d locked the bike up, and we were all done too quickly!
Getting on the water early was really cool. I mean, really. Just above freezing: we were wondering if we’d be frozen after a while on the water. The mist over the water was beautiful. The sun quickly burned that off, and kept us suitably warm.
Watching the geese take off from and land on the water is great fun. Either they don’t have a very good rate of climb, or they enjoy skipping along the surface. Maybe they are simulating barefoot skiing.
The water is so clear you can see quite a ways down. It’s amusing to see literally hundreds of fish, probably a foot and a half long, swimming in the middle of the river. And see fishermen along the side of the river, catching nothing.
We recently acquired a set of wheels for our kayak. They let us effortlessly take it a long ways to a launch site, without carrying it. (It gets heavy if you have to lug it far!) The wheels then collapse, and we can strap them in the back, so we don’t even have to walk back up to the car! Love our new wheels!
In the many times we’ve been to the Tetons before, we’d never driven to the top of Signal Hill. So we fixed that! From the top you can see the whole valley – it’s worth the drive up there!
We contemplated launching the kayak (We should have a name for the kayak! Any suggestions?) on Jenny Lake; a beautiful little lake right at the base of the mountains. When we got to the secluded spot where we hoped to launch, the wind was pretty strong and we weren’t. So we skipped the lake and went for a short hike instead.
So we’ve spent the best part of two weeks in National Parks, known for their wildlife, and never saw a bear. Sigh. I shouldn’t admit this, but a century ago, when I was young, we toured Yellowstone and fed bears through the car windows. They would come right up to the car, and we’d hand them slices of bread. There would be a dozen bears at a time milking the tourists in a location. We had bears in our campground trying to take food off our picnic tables (Just like Yogi. Well, somewhat like Yogi.) (No hat or tie) Now we realize that that was a lousy diet for bears, and unsafe for people as well. As long as I’m reminiscing about old days, when my folks were just married (Before my time) they did Yellowstone. We have a picture of Mom boiling eggs in a cheesecloth sling dipped in the Morning Glory pool. Now I think they’d gun you down in a heartbeat if you got that close to a water feature. They might shoot me now for even mentioning it! (If I suddenly disappear, you’ll now know why.)
I started the above paragraph to talk about our current attempts to spot a bear. Not a one in either park. But after we left, and had driven an hour or more east, we saw cars pulled over on our side of the road, so we followed suit. There just 30 feet away was a Grizzly Bear!! He was having a great time just hanging out and putting on a show for us. At one point he rolled over and put his feet up in the air, just like he wanted us to scratch his belly. (We didn’t) I did open the door and shoot pictures from the step, but that was close enough.