We arrived in Grand Teton National Park on Tuesday late morning and headed to the much larger Colter Bay campground after striking out at Signal Mountain campground, which we had our eyes on. We were actually assigned a camp site (because they were too busy to let us pick one) so we asked for a private & quiet site. We did a drive-by of our assigned “secluded” site and it was by the bathrooms, stinky and not private whatsoever! Sylvie wasn’t having any of this, so we drove around and found a much better site which they let us have without arguing. We set up house (solar shower, hammock, tent, etc) and decided to make it our base camp for a few days.
In the evenings, we set out for our “safaris”, looking for the usual fare (bears, moose, elk, etc). We found a few as well as a lot of birds and bugs.
The weather has been hot, humid with thunder showers in the afternoons. Friday was a particularly hot day and we wanted to reward ourselves after a 10 mile hike, so we went to the general store where we had spotted “hand dipped ice cream” and ordered ourselves a double lemon-huckleberry one. Never mind trying to lose weight by hiking..that ice cream could have fed 6 people, it was so huge! Oh well, we suffered through it and sat on the bench outside the store next to an elderly couple from Pennsylvania. We chatted with them over the next hour. They were traveling with her parents (88 and 86 years old) and camping for a few months. They had been everywhere (even the Arctic Circle) and had incredible stories, so it was fun to talk to them.
One of our day hikes took us through some incredible pristine mountain lakes (dotted with “beaches” that would made you think you are in the Caribbean) with backcountry camp sites along the shore. We were so envious of the people camping there and wished we were backcountry camping ourselves.
Colter Bay campground was OK but we had our share of crazy and noisy neighbors, from one that tried to set the forest on fire with a bonfire to the family of 10 with screaming kids and barking dogs (another refugee camp!!). The nice thing about having an open itinerary is you can be spontaneous, so the next morning we got ourselves down to the backcountry office really early to inquire about availability and permits. We were fortunate enough to secure a couple nights at the 2 lakes we wanted to stay at. No more noisy neighbors for the next 2 nights, just us and nature (which as previously told in the Lassen post can also have its share of issues).We spent our first backcountry night at Bearpaw Lake (no bears there) where the weather took a turn for the worst – lots of rain. We had forgotten to pack a tarp, so used our tent footprint as a cover for our “kitchen/dining room”.
The next morning’s weather looked more promising and we were entertained by a mule deer showing off her 3 fawns who bounced and played around our campsite – what a show! Unfortunately the camera was still in the tent, so settled for just watching them while we ate our breakfast. We packed up camp and set off to our Caribbean beach campsite at Leigh Lake that we managed to get for our second backcountry night. We arrived in beautiful weather, so quickly set up camp to dry things out and enjoy the beach & sun while we had them. We had a young buck in this campsite also.
Just after James’second dip, some ominous clouds started rolling in, so we grabbed all the gear and jumped in the tent just as the rain started pouring down along with thunder and lightning. Sylvie had to pee really bad, so waited for a break in the rain. It looked like there was one, so she jumped out of the tent – but what a timing! As soon as she got out, a huge lightning bolt and deafening thunder cut loose, causing her to scream and dart around like a rabbit. As least that’s what it looked like from inside the tent 🙂 She said she almost peed her pants! All of this was followed by hurricane force winds – yes, the Caribbean experience. Ahh….the joys of backcountry camping!
Overall we enjoyed our week in the Tetons very much. It’s been a different experience from when we were here a few years ago in the fall.