Saturday, July 5, 2014

Jackson Hole 2014 {Days 16 &17}

We've reached the end, folks! We're headed back to Texas on an early morning flight today, so JAZZ HANDS for the last of these posts! For those who have asked or who might be heading to the area and/or hiking with little ones soon, I'll do a post linking up our favorite hikes / restaurants / activities in Jackson Hole {including some longer mileage routes from last summer}, as well as one with some tips and packing lists for outdoor trekking with bambinos. 



Day 16

One our second to last full day, we finally made it out to Two Ocean Lake at the North end of the Park. We'd wanted to do this hike last summer but access was restricted due to Federal budget cuts {boo hiss}. 

Two Ocean Lake is accessible from either the Moose or Moran entrances, but going further up the highway to Moran is quicker than snaking through the Park from Moose. 

The full loop is 6ish miles; we started to the right of the lake from the trailhead {the sunnier, less forested side} and hiked for 2 miles before turning around, making for 4 miles of easy hiking {very little elevation}. We chose the right path because the mosquitoes were atrocious at the trailhead {PACK YOUR POISON}, and figured they'd abate some in the sunny fields. 

The wild flowers on this hike were nuts -- field upon field of pink, yellow, purple, and white blooms. This also apparently a very popular bear hangout; we saw two fresh piles of bear poo, and the ranger at the trailhead advised us to have our bear spray out and ready. No bears, though.

Leighton was still super high on patriotism - or, at least, the accessories of patriotism.

So, not my very favorite hike but worth the drive, especially in wildflower season. 

We had to have one more lunch on the patio of Snake River Brewery...even though L pretty much faded into Disco Nap Territory shortly after downing some sweet potato fries. 

After some much needed naps, we walked along Flat Creek to a little piece of land near the condo we rented last summer. Locals bring their dogs to exercise, and there are a few good wading spots. L loved tossing rocks into the creek and watching all the "puppy dogs" swim. 

Lazy frozen pizza dinner back at the condo. 

Day 17 

For our last full day, we enjoyed our final round of OSM pancakes at The Bunnery, and then decided to head back to the Jenny Lake area and take the Lakeshore Trail / Jenny Lake Trail around the lake. This is a much less popular trail than the two miler that snakes around the Southwest portion of the lake {ie: the short route in between the two boat docks}. 

From dock to dock via Lakeshore, it's a little over 7 miles. We figured we'd do 2 or 3, and then turn around. L wanted to hike a bit, so we let her out of the pack right as we started. About 6/10 of a mile in, we heard what sounded like a large animal down at the shoreline {maybe 25 meters from the trail}. Sure enough, we saw a cinnamon black bear scratching around below us. We watched him for a while until it appeared he might be on the move up towards the trail, and then skedaddled on our way. This was a cool experience -- just the right amount of not-actually-dangerous-"danger" so long as you try not to imagine the bear suddenly bounding full speed up the hill and down the path behind us {which, thankfully, didn't happen}.

Maybe 2/10 of a mile later, E and L came around a curve and spotted another bear standing smack dab in the middle of the trail. He turned around and calmly said "there's another bear right up there; turn around and start walking back." He picked L up {who was hollering "come here, bear! I wanna see the bear! I wanna touch him!"}, and we started walking calmly back the way we came. And when I say "calmly," I mean outwardly, because inside I was shitting my proverbial pants. E said he really needed to put L in the pack, but as we stopped to do so, we could see the bear following us at a not-so-slow pace.  We kept going as we had been -- briskly, but not running, bringing our arms up and down slowly, while loudly saying "RUH RUH RUH." We had bear spray, but had read to only use it when a bear attacks or is right up on you. Making stern but controlled noises and large arm movements is a better deterrent if you've yet to be attacked. This fuzzy guy followed us closely for a good 3 minutes {Longest. Minutes. Ever.} and came pretty damn close {maybe 15-20 feet from E and L; close enough to see him in great detail and realize the situation was serious}, but he backed off and turned around after a bit of our crazy arm movements and sounds. Of course the whole time, I'm thinking {a} what if L had run ahead of E -- she probably would have run right up to that bear and become a little cheese-it snack, and {b} WHERE THE FUCK IS THAT OTHER BEAR WE ARE ABOUT TO BE TRAPPED IN BETWEEN TWO MONSTER KILLERS LIKE TASTY RATS. Thankfully, the first bear was nowhere to be seen. 

Then I cried like a Human-Flavored Handi-Snack Who Leads Her Baby Human-Flavored Handi-Snacks into a Bear Pit.

Dramatics: They worsen in nature. 

We made it back to the boat dock in one piece, and E took L to the Ranger Station to report the sighting. It seemed like they were taking a while, so B and I set off in their direction...only to find a crowd of people taking photos of another bear {pretty sure it was the first one we saw on the trail, but who knows}. This guy was totally unbothered by hoards of tourists and was strolling right through the most heavily populated location in the entire Park. This did not make him any less fearsome to me; it just made me think that most tourists are huge idiots.

Having seen quite enough bears for one day, we set out on the very populated short side of the lake, catching the shuttle boat back. This is a lovely two-miler -- a great extender if you're doing Cascade Canyon and Inspiration Point. Total daily mileage: 5 easy/moderate miles. 

After driving out of the Park for the last time in 2014 {SOB}, we...napped. Shocker, I know. 

Loads and loads of laundry, with a Calico break in between. L wasn't on her best behavior, but she saved her major meltdown for the car ride home. We'll be sad to fly away tomorrow, but I know one toddler who will benefit from sleep in her own bed and her normal routine! 

Oh, vacation! You've been good to us! 


  1. Still shaking my head that you went through the bear moment. Not in admonishment, in empathy. Really scary.

  2. You had almost convinced this exercise-loathing, pool-side lounging, resort fan that hiking and mountains and nature could make for a darn nice vacation. And then, THE BEAR. I can't even imagine how scary that must have been. So glad all ended well and you were not that bear's afternoon snack.

    I for one have enjoyed the recaps. It's been a nice little virtual vacation as I sit at my desk and follow along.

  3. I have convinced my husband that we need to go to Jackson Hole. I aptly left out your bear experience, he's a pansy and would worry the bear would eat the kidlets. I however have little fear of bears (growing up in the northeast kingdom) so the vistas, hiking and cool temps look wonderful! Am worried about our 2 year old and her schedule BUT c'est la vie! Our nugget is a few weeks older than yours and rides in the moby/ergo like a charm! :)

  4. We were just there July 7-12! I am SO glad I didn't come across this blog before we hiked around Jenny trail! It was 2-3 mile

    1. Oops, I hit publish before finishing my thought...2-3 miles from dock to dock. I wonder if this was lakeshore trail.

    2. Hope you had a great time!!! Lakeshore is the long side - 7 miles from dock to dock.


happy little comments!