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JaB Grand adventure in the Grand Tetons
I write this at the end of the day, from my tent, head propped up on my sleeping mat and pillow looking out my tent door as the sun sets behind the Grand Teton.
We got our 11ish miles done on the early side today, by 4:15, granted the miles were mostly down and roller coastery for the first 8 miles. We did run in to a lot of front country day hikers, many of whom were curious about our backpacking adventure and the equipment we carried. At some point, we really needed to zip by the hikers to make it to our destination.
After leaving our tent site at 9:30, one of the first hiker couples we crossed paths with was an Asian couple from Tx. They had many questions about our trip, sleeping outside, and our packs and their contents. When they heard B had lived in China for 7 years that added a whole other element to the conversation. They were energized by what we had accomplished and hurried their way up the trail that we were going down. Shortly after we came to another couple making their way up Paintbrush Canyon. They too were enthralled with our week in the Tetons and asked many of the same questions as the first couple. When they found out we had 11 miles to hike to Bradley Lake they got a little concerned and were sure we needed to be quickly on our way.
We did continue down the trail, but knowing we could make it to the lake in good time, we planned where we would stop for a mid morning break. We found a beautiful spot on some rocks next to the gushing river that flowed down the canyon into the large Jenny Lake which was just around the corner. B pulled out her tortilla and butter, while I feasted on my granola with coconut milk and rehydrated strawberries and blueberries. It was about noon when we decided we should refill our waters, put away our gear and get a move on. By 12:15, we were on our way around the popular Jenny Lake.
It was quite different now, hiking with our huge backpacks along with so, so many day hikers, many of whom had taken the ferry to get around the lake to where we were. The ferry made it possible for many people who have physical limitations to get back a bit further in the wild without having to make such a long trek. As we walked along, an older couple stopped us to point out the moose that lingered on the far edge of the river below us. As the moose were a bit of a distance away, I didnt take a picture as they would have been too hard to see.
Moving on, we turned off into a less popular trail, and it was easy to see why. We were now on the valley floor, walking on a thin line of trail that split sage brush from sage brush, a short distance to a very populated parking lot. We walked along the dirt road lined with the cars that couldnt find a spot in the lot, noting all the many states retreated from their lisence plates. Eventually we came to a pit toilet bathroom, and garbage cans! Now this was exciting, something we hadnt seen in almost a week. Although a stinky pit toilet isnt all that fascinating, I couldnt help but laugh at the sign on the front doorno swimming it said. Ok, explain that to me.who on earth would even entertain the idea of swimming in the pit toilet?! Made me think of my husband, and what a kick he would get out of that had he been here.
Moving on, we walked a short distance out of the parking lot and up the trail to a fallen log that looked perfect for our next and last snack break before getting to our destination, Bradley Lake. We sat there off to the side of the trail as dozens of hikers walked past us, some noticing us, others oblivious as they walked quickly the short distance to their cars. We rested there for maybe 30 minutes, eating and communicating with my hubs on our satellite device. Again, we knew it was time to get our bodies up off the ground and moving the 3 miles to arrive at home for the night.
B and I separated at that point, she faster than I. We both enjoy walking alone, so separating isnt a bother, however there were throngs of people coming down the narrow path making moving forward a bit slower. The trail, for us anyway, was uphill, so the constant stepping off to let people pass wasnt all together a hardship as it gave me a chance to catch my breathe from the effort.
Interruption.Whow! We just heard a huge animal (a moose?) make a loud whistling noise and a huge grunt! So, so cool. B and I agree that it is most likely a mating callshe is going the few steps down to the lake to see what she can see. We are the only ones camped at this lake! There is only one campsite and it was permitted to us. More whistling sounds! Fascinating. And we are here to experience it all to ourselves. Blessed. AddenedB did a little research and found it was an elk, although not exactly sure if it was a mating call or not.
Ok, Ive totally lost my train of thought. OkEventually a side trail broke off to the left, this was our trail down to Bradley Lake. The trail had only one other person on it. Why this lake isnt more popular, I dont know. It wasnt long before reaching the lake in all its quite solitude. He was surrounded by evergreens on all sides and on the west stood towering above him, one of the Tetons was standing guard. Gorgeous.
When I arrived, B had already been down to the lake rinsing off. I followed suit, taking the time to soak my aching feet in the frigid water and doing a bit of laundry. The sun beating on my face beckoned me to sit back on the rocky edge and enjoy the stillness of the lake and the warmth of the sun. After maybe 30 minutes, hunger got the best of me, taking me back to our little camp.
At 5 pm we began making our last camp meal of our adventure, Chicken Alfredo. While it was rehydrating, I set up my tent, throwing all my gear inside. Dinner was served by 5:15, and boy was it tasty! I felt like we had been served directly from Olive Garden to our campsite. Yummy.
Its an early to bed tonight, for which I am so glad after such a long day yesterday. My muscle down the side of my left knee have been strongly making its complaints, making falling asleep last night a bit of a challenge. Armed with Ibuprofin, and having a bit of an easier hiking day today, I hope to not have to listen to its complaints tonight and can enjoy a good last nights sleep by this serene lake.
Tomorrow is our last backpacking day of this adventure. We will hike 8 miles to our car. From the remote parking lot and down the very bumpy road, we hope to make our way to Teton Village for a hot cup of coffee. We then have a 2 hour drive to Pinedale, just outside of The Wind River Range. Although my knee has made the decision for us, not to continue backpacking, we do hope to spend the day in the park on Tuesday and perhaps enjoy a day hike. More on that later. Now, for that early bedtime.