Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Off to meet friends and donate blood

So back on the road we headed south to the Colter Bay campground in the Grand Teton National Park. We were meeting friends who were also camping there.

Our first stops were the visitor center and lunch. The visitor center was tiny compared to what we had seen in Yellowstone. Jenny got the maps she wanted and we went to find some lunch. The concessions in Teton NP are run by Grand Teton Lodge Company and the food at Colter Bay was pretty good. None of the concession run food service could be called cheap but it could have been worse at least the food was well prepared. Where GTLC failed according to what Jenny experienced was in the shower building. Her report was enough to keep me from even bothering to shower, I could wait until we got to the hotel in Jackson on Tuesday.

After lunch we pulled up to the campground hut and were assigned a site on the outside of the last loop. This was a tent only loop as well. Outside, last loop, maybe you are thinking big open site with few neighbors. That was all true only problem was my brain went to bears. We were now in my mind the first site to be in the way of a curious bear, the fact each campsite had it's own bear proof storage box didn't help. As it turned out we would lose blood only to the swarms of mosquitoes, no bears sighted the entire trip.

Our friends came by as we finished setting camp up. It was really hot and a guided drive was offered and quickly accepted. We headed for a 17 mile gravel road, only a couple of spots were rough enough to require 4wd and high clearance. The Jeep has seen way worse and we rolled right back to the highway.

We had been watching storm clouds gathering and the storm hit as we headed (raced) back to camp. Our tent fly was open and our friends' camper awning was out. The wind and rain was intense and we saw 3 foot waves on the lake as we crossed the dam. Of course everything was over by the time we got back, our tent was dry but 4 of the 6 tent stakes had been pulled completely out of the ground. These were 9 inch stakes I had needed a mallet to install, I'll never skip stakes in the future. We ate dinner and then went to visit and eat smores at our friends' campsite.

Sunset was nice that evening due to the numerous clouds passing overhead.
The next morning I walked down to the visitors center to take some pictures since the boys were sleeping in as usual. The days plans were to meet up with our friends and go hike at Jenny Lake. We went to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point by way of the ferry which cuts the hike by 2 miles each way. The hike was fun and Zack walked most of the way without complaint which meant my back was mostly spared. After the return ferry ride we hung out for awhile before our families split up for lunch. We stopped by the Moose visitor center and then ate at the Chuckwagon restaurant nearby.

With lounging at camp out of the question for fear of the mosquitoes carrying us away we went off to see some other sights and to look for more wildlife. We checked out the Chapel of the Transfiguration, Mormon Row, and a nearby buffalo herd. We tried out another four wheel drive trail to Two Ocean Lake. Unusually there was construction on this road. We encountered a roller followed by a grader. Kind of ruined the scenic experience. At the lake Zack wanted to hike around it until we told him a run back to the car to get the bear spray was in order. He said "well if there are bears around here then why would we hike, lets just go". Once back at camp we headed to the beach area to cook dinner, no way I was cooking hamburger at our campsite. We had purchased some firewood and had a fire later back at camp. After eating our fill of smores again we got ready for bed. Bed time was pretty early so the boys would read every night. Kevin went through two Harry Potter books and Zack read his newly acquired wolf pup book to me.
The next morning we packed all the gear up and went hiking again. This time we walked to Leigh Lake from the String Lake trail head. The trail was flat and easy walking, the highpoint for the boys was the stream connecting the two lakes. We got off the bridge and hopped rocks for a few minutes before continuing on. We reached a canoe portage ramp and spent some time wading in the cold water. At least I was clean up to my knees. After the hike back we all went to lunch at Doran's in Moose for pizza.

Our camping trip was now over and we headed to Jackson and the Wyoming Inn.