22 June 2009

Bearpaw Lake

I spent the last week in the Grand Teton Nation Park. It has been said that the Park is the Disneyland of the National Park system. This seemed to be accurate as there was fun to be had by myself, my wife and my young children. Everyone had a good time. While I did a lot of different things from riding in a covered wagon and watching an old west shoot out to white water rafting I will focus this post only on my hike to Bearpaw Lake.

Bearpaw Lake is the oblong blue spot on the map just north of Leigh Lake. I rode the ferry across Jenny Lake from the South Visitors Center to the Hidden Falls trail head. From there I followed the trail on the west side of Jenny Lake to the trail on the east side of String Lake and Leigh Lake and then up to Bearpaw Lake. I completed my hike at Jenny Lake Lodge.

The overall trip was about 10 miles. The trail was fairly flat and well maintained allowing for fast and easy hiking. The landscapes were beautiful and the lakes pristine. Wildlife was abundant, especially the mosquitoes. I almost ran over a bull moose eating the vegetation on the edge of the trail. He didn't seem to mind me being there at all, which I appreciated. I saw eagles soaring above me. I also saw a lot of humans.

I found it interesting to see how well maintained everything was. As I hiked I heard a chain saw cutting through some fallen trees. Evidence of this could be seen quite often along the trail. Campsites were organized and bear safe lockers were available at each site. Flags and markers were frequent to give direction and show detours. I was surprised at how unnaturally this part of nature was being preserved.

Overall this hike was very beautiful and enjoyable. Next time I am in the area though I will hike deeper into the mountains hoping for a more natural experience.

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