Tetons & Yellowstone – Taggart and Bradley Lakes

Having successfully made it through the night without becoming human popsicles, we headed to the general store and ranger station.  The store had a surprisingly large array of camping gear.  The ranger station had a nice fire going, which would have been nice to sit by, but there was hiking to do.  Neither had many people around – but that wasn’t surprising since we were there when the doors opened and the season had barely begun.

At the park ranger’s suggestion, we drove to the Taggart and Bradley Lakes trail head which was just a bit south of Jenny Lake where we stayed.  We headed out on the trail only to realize that the bear spray was in the tent.  Too late, oh well, and as you can probably figure by this post, we didn’t get eaten.

We started the hike with a couple from Florida at the start of the hike.  They had rented bear spray with their car (interesting business model) and we hiked with them for a mile or so maybe.

The trail was officially open, but there was clearly not much foot traffic and the snow was at least three feet deep based on a couple times when we punched through.  We hiked around Taggart Lake and up over the ridge to Bradley Lake – I think we saw some moose tracks on the ridge (moose instead of elk because they were huge and because the ranger said the elk were just starting to move into the lower reaches of the park).  I’m certain we were the first ones to go to Bradley Lake that day and probably for a few days.  There wasn’t really any well marked or defined trail – we followed old footprints when we could see them and otherwise just pointed ourselves in a general direction.  The lakes aren’t that far apart, so there was limited area in which to get lost.  We made it to and around Bradley Lake, visit the bridge on the far end and declared that the end of the hike.

Bradley Lake Pano
The Tetons behind Bradley Lake

On the return, we found the trail closer to the shore of Taggart Lake and took that.  We had our first major wildlife spotting when we came upon a black marmot.  There was also what we later identified as a Dusky Grouse in the same area.  We chased both around for a bit taking pictures.

We took the long trail around Taggart Lake, across the end of the lake, up over a ridge and back around to the parking lot.  We saw a bear track on the East side of Taggart Lake, which was odd because it had to be one of the more traveled areas.  On our way out we saw a second Dusky Grouse doing his mating dance.  We briefly saw a female, but she scurried off into the brush and couldn’t be found again.  We crossed paths with family with two younger kids heading around the trail toward the lake.  I’m pretty sure they were not going to be happy by the end of the hike either because their feet were wet and freezing or because the turned back and didn’t get to see the lake, also, because we found a pink coat on our way out and I’m guessing it belonged to the daughter.

I’m guessing the temperature was 55 degrees that day – warm enough for hiking in long sleeves, but chilly when stopped or if a breeze came up.

After the hike we did a loop around the Jenny Lake scenic drive.  Took a few pictures of the mountains over the lake, but it was a pretty overcast day, so they’re probably less than spectacular.  On our way out, there was a lineup of cars along the road as someone had spotted a black bear. Got out to take some pictures and discovered that it had a little cub who I managed to catch climbing down from the tree that the mother was guarding.

Black Bear
Our first bear sighting of the day right after the scenic drive past Jenny Lake.

At Oxbow, we logged a few more wildlife spottings – a bald eagle on the ground and a pair of osprey soaring over the river.

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About norconkm

I'm a person. I live in Grand Rapids, MI and work as an Electrical Engineer. My hobbies at the time of this writing are kayaking, skiing, archery, photography and maybe biking. As this is my personal blog, my hobbies are likely the primary topics about which you will be reading.

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