Bears, Oh My!!
Junior Ranger Tim took advantage of a day in Teton National Park to see the mountains up close. Though the views are breathtaking from the lake, I knew the real gems required hiking up into the Tetons and away from the crowds.
Favorite brother Dan graciously loaned me his trusty VW Touareg for the day. After a 30 minute drive, I left the Lupine Meadows trailhead around 8:30 on the way to Amphitheater Lake. 10 miles round trip with 3000 feet of climbing.
I know this is off topic, but while preparing my body for the climb ahead I noticed this sign in the restroom. Although I am thankful to my mom and dad for all the important life lessons they taught me, this one must have slipped through the cracks.
The views while climbing were not ideal due to blowing smoke from a couple of nearby forest fires, but fire is necessary to keep the forest healthy.
Partway up the climb I had the pleasure of running into 3 friendly and charming ladies and their very experienced guide who were taking a break. After chatting a bit, they invited me to join them for the rest of the climb to the lake. I was surprised when we reached a lake before Amphitheater Lake and appropriately it was named Surprise Lake!!
After being forced under duress to take multiple pictures with many different phones/cameras, they agreed to pose with me for a picture.
Following a short break to admire the lake, we continued on up to Amphitheater Lake. The trail became hard to follow for this last .2 mile, but the guide did what he does best and got us there safely.
After fueling up, everyone got ready to head down the mountain. They graciously allowed me to start hiking a couple of minutes before them to clear the trail of any bears…so thoughtful. With about 1 mile to go until the trailhead I ran into a big black bear and 3 cubs in the middle of the trail. I was walking pretty fast with my head down and got about 20 feet away before I noticed them. After slowly backing up the trail, I grabbed and armed my bear spray. I watched them move through the woods, cross the trail uphill from me, and then wander away.
I arrived at the car around 1:45. It was a very scenic hike, but meeting and spending time with a great group of people made it memorable. I hope to run into them again someday. After driving back to camp I changed into a swimsuit and met Dan at the shore of Jackson Lake for a refreshing swim.
I’m writing this post from the Boise Airport. Dan just dropped me off and is on his way to the Oregon Coast. I’m flying back home to MD. As I reflect back on this great adventure with my brother, I remember back to last year when returning to work after our trip a co-worker asked me how the trip went. I told her it was a “trip of a lifetime.” This one was just as great and I hope that Dan invites me along again so we can create more memories and reminisce. He is such a generous brother and wouldn’t let me pay for anything on the trip (free vacation for me!). As a parting gift, I crafted (and promptly ate before spoiling) Dan’s name in marshmallows. He’s a performer so I think he has had his name in lights, but not marshmallows…and he was jealous of mine!
Bears, Oh My!!