We hiked one of the most popular trails at Grand Teton National Park, the Jenny Lake loop. Well, part of it. Hiking around the lake was incredible. The water was clear and blue, lighter around the edges so that you could see directly to the bottom where there were rocks and sunken trees visible. It was clear where trees had been impacted by recent fires along the lake shore. There were trunks stripped of branches lying along the ground, skeletons of trees still hanging onto their former height even though fire had clearly eaten away from their base. There was new growth at their base though; small trees and bushes were fighting for sunlight all along our walk, where the larger tree’s canopies were no longer hogging all the resources.
We hiked about a mile and a half around Jenny Lake, before coming a junction that would take us up into one of the canyons, the Cascade Canyons trail, via Inspiration Point. Inspiration Point is a popular spot to view the lake and surrounding mountains. We wanted to go further into the big beautiful canyons, however. Onto the Cascade Canyon trail we went. It was a little more peaceful than the Inspiration Point trail, where there were many families and other visitors to the park enjoying the view. We were able to see the clear waters along Cascade Creek and even saw a moose and her calf sitting along the banks.
There were a few places along the trail where you could walk right down to the creek and stick your hands/feet/head in. The water up in that canyon (and I’m sure many others in the area are the same way) was so transparent, cold, and refreshing. We could still see snow high up on the mountains so it was likely snowmelt feeding part of the stream. I know that almost none of the streams or rivers in Maine look like that, too much human activity around the area.
On our way out of the canyon, we encountered a group of seven backpackers that were on their way out of the mountains after a three-day, 33-mile trip. It was lucky we saw them. They stopped at a junction where a family and a little boy were explaining that there was a bear right around the corner. Now, Katie and I had bear spray, but we definitely felt more comfortable just following along with the big group of guys that had just passed us, all of whom seemed relatively unconcerned about the bear, sure that they could make enough noise to scare it off. Ultimately, all we got was a glimpse of the bear’s ears through the woods. Although I’m not sure how much of a view the people who were traveling the opposite way as us got. They thought it smart to ask us about the view from the trail and how long it took to get there rather than be at all concerned that we had just told them that there was a bear around the corner. I haven’t heard anything about a bear attack in that part of the park, so it seems they were okay.