Morning of the third day.This is the Snake River near where we camped. We were on the road to Primary Destination #1, Grand Teton National Park. Moose is the headquarters and main visitor center for the Park. We found a campsite and chose a place to hike.We purchased the necessary supplies. That’s Bear Spray on the right. Yikes! These warnings were everywhere you look – at trailheads, in restrooms, on brochures. OK. I believe…But it won’t happen to me? Right? (Read the fine print on this–that’s scary.) We chose the Hermitage Point trail, about 9.5 miles. Here’s a view across Jackson Lake. The hardest thing about writing this blog is choosing only a few photos.The stunning Arrowleaf Balsamroot was everywhere.On the trail.I don’t think National Geographic will be calling me anytime soon, but it was fun to try and get wildlife photos. I think I do better with flowers because I can get closer and they don’t move. But maybe this isn’t bad considering that my longest lens is only 135 mm. Ruffed grouse, according to my bird book. These tent caterpillars were everywhere. They eat all the leaves in the area of their tents and can be quite devastating when in large quantities. I didn’t see any swans in Swan Lake, but there were plenty of geese… …and a sandhill crane.
We were less than a mile from the end of our hike and nearing dusk when we came upon this in the trail.OK. Time for 2 photos and then retreat. This is an enhanced closeup of the photo above. The signs all say that the bear is supposed to go away. She didn’t. We backed up and Dan fumbled with the bear spray. I had read the instructions while he was driving but I don’t think he paid attention. “Flip off the orange safety catch with your thumb and then position it in spray position. No, point it at the bear, not us…” Did you know that you have only 4 seconds of spray in one of those cans? Not like the wasp spray we have around here. The bear approached a little more and we retreated more. We were less than a mile to the end of the trail and I really didn’t want to go back. Then we saw other people coming up the trail towards us. These were 3 kids (well, college age) who we had seen on the trail before. It turns out that they didn’t have a map with them and had taken a wrong turn to a dead-end trail, backtracked, and were running to make up time back to headquarters. They were thankful that we stopped them or they would have been running straight at the bear. When we saw a cub come out from behind a log and it was evident that this mama bear was not going to retreat we turned around and started walking the other way. It added only about another two miles to the hike for an 11.5 mile day. (Is this over-dramatic to those of you who live in bear country? I’m sure that I have hiked in bear country before, but I’ve never seen them. The difference is that these animals are not as wary of people as they would be other places–which is great if you want a deer or grouse photo, but not so much an animal with big teeth and claws.) Sunset over Jackson Lake.