2011
08.25

So last night I was talking to my buddy Jim telling him that I was going to go on a hike today since I have not done any since I have been here. He said that he would go with me if we left at 5:30am. I didn’t really want to get up then but I am sure glad I agreed to it. After I got off the phone with him I headed back to dump road where I usually park to sleep and there was a raging party with a big fire. I decided I didn’t feel like leaving and tried to get some sleep unsuccessfully and left at about midnight to find a new spot. Before I knew it, it was 4:45 and my alarm was going off. Jim was late because of a road closure but we still were able to make it to the other side of Jenny Lake for sunrise. I haven’t seen a sunrise that good since my hike up Indos Nose Mountain on the shores of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.

Jim and I wanted to be the fist ones out because were were hiking for wildlife, mainly bears and moose. It wasn’t long before we encountered our first bull moose still in velvet. Can you find the moose in the photo below? I cant so a zoomed in shot is below it.

 

The next shot is shooting west into the valley. Our plan was to walk all the way back. And thats what we did.

A little further down the trail I saw a Pika. I was pretty pumped about it because Pika are an endangered species due to GOLBAL CLIMATE CHANGE. Yes, over the years Pika have been moving to higher and higher elevations because lower elevations have been warming. Some day they will be extinct because they will be unable to cope with the heat and be unable to ascend further into the mountains unless they grow wings. These little guys are the farmers of the mountains. They cut grass and dry it on rocks before stashing it for later consumption.

The clouds started to roll in and we hid out under a tall pine tree to wait for it to pass. This happened four times on the hike with a lot of thunder and lightning hitting on the peaks around us.

We continued on after the storm blew threw… after about 10 minutes if that. A couple hundred yards down the trail Jim pointed out a snowshoe hare and I stalked up on it. notice the white feet. They change color from the color you see to white in winter.

I went along stretch without taking photos. We eventually made it to the cross roads we were trying to get to which was 6.5 miles from where we started. We sat there looking at the sign and looking for dippers, a little bird that jumps into rushing water, walks on the bottom and comes up after finding food on the stream bed. We were unsuccessful at finding the dippers but it did pass some time while we figured out what to do. I told Jim that I wanted to go to Lake Solitude which was a 2.7 mile hike. So we were off.

Above is a view looking towards Lake Solitude. It is a little farther than the snow you see in the farthest mountain back. Then below is a shot from the same spot only looking towards the Grand Teton.A marmot was sitting on a rock baking in the sun when awaken by Jim and I walking and talking. Pretty sure based on the grey hair this marmot is pretty old.

We continued on and the pine forrest turned to a big grassy and rocky meadow. The dark skies squeezed out a little rain and thunder but we found a big rock to wait it out under. The rock looked like something that someone survived in for the show “I Shouldn’t be Alive.”

Another marmot decided to show its self. And then we finally made it to Lake Solitude after 9.2 miles up hill.

It was a great spot to eat lunch and sit around for a while since the only breaks we took on the way up were short to wait out the storm. If you look closely at the photo you can see a slight pink color in the snow. It is a algae that smells and tastes like watermelon but it is toxic. We were only around the lake for about 30-45 minutes and then we headed back down. I took a lot more landscape photos on the way down. The wildflowers were incredible.

 

Above you can see the Grand Teton. It is the highest mountain in the park at 13, 770 feet. Its a beast. Below is a shot of a flower called Mountain Paintbrush. Definitely the reddest specimen of Mountain PaintbrushI have seen.

 

The next photo is a shot looking back towards Lake Solitude from where I came.

The Jenny Laake is at the end of the canyon of this next shot. Its about 4 miles away. All down hill.

On the way down we stopped a lot to eat huckleberries and various other berries. I know them by sight but my memory is garbage so I do not remember the names. All I can say is they were all good. People would pass us as we ate the berries and then we would pass them again soon after we picked an area clean. Jim only has one gear and that is high speed. It was funny that we were cruising past people who only hiked a few miles and we were finishing up 16.4. The last animal we saw was a cow moose and her calf. The calf was in the bushes and we I didn’t really care all that much if I got a shot of it because I see them quite often. I did take a lousy shot of the mom just for documentation though.

I regret taking a shot of the lake in the afternoon but I really didn’t feel like changing lenses again. Instead of walking the 2 miles back to the harbor, Jim and I caught the ferry back across Jenny Lake. It was a great hike and I am really glad I did it. We went 16.4 miles from 5:50am to 4pm and had a elevation gain of 2,362 feet up to an max elevation of 9,035 feet at Lake Solitude. I felt like I accomplished something today.

  1. I want the sunset pics for my bedroom wall……20inchers Seth! Awesome!

  2. Save the pika! It’s sooooooo cute!

  3. Seth I like the way you wrote this one. The many pictures are great with the way you worked them into the writing of the days events.