We had done the Taggart & Bradley Lake trail before, but it was in April and covered in snow, and we couldn’t actually see the trail in some places. The hike was easier this time, though with more people around, but not too horribly busy. There’s nothing super notable about the hike, though on a calm day it would provide good reflection photos of the mountains. We did not choose a calm day. It was much more relaxed than the previous trip where we were often wondering if we were still on the trail, worried about falling through the snow into a tree-void or coming upon bears.
We hiked out to Taggart Lake first – to the bridge. Across the bridge, I assume that the trail continues, or at least it seems that that would be the reason to build a bridge. But, it didn’t seem obvious where the trail was going from there so that was our turn-around point. Bradley Lake trail is the closer one to the trailhead, so it gets significantly more of the traffic, but we hiked around the east side of the lake to the bridge at the far end. On our previous visit, we had continued the trail beyond the bridge, looping back to the parking lot, but this time we cut it a little shorter and took the more direct route back through the woods.
While we are good with camping, and indeed planned to camp one more night, we are not savages and do like to be clean, so we found the pay showers in the Signal Mountain area on the way from the Jenny Lake campground north to our next residence in the Colter Bay campground.
After we secured the campsite and made some dinner, we drove back south toward Oxbow Bend to check for wildlife and sunset. We made a brief stop at the Jackson Lake Lodge where Janet’s parents had stayed, I think on their honeymoon. I’m not sure what it costs now, but back then it was $15 / night according to the receipts that her Dad found.
Sunset wasn’t much different than the night before, but we tried. When we had stopped at the visitor center at Coulter Bay, we noticed a placard advertising a nighttime star & Milky Way photography program that night at the beach, so we went to check that out. It was a nice clear night and there was 45 minutes to an hour of good dark sky between sunset and moonrise. With a little guidance from the instructors I actually got some successful Milky Way shots, which is a first for me. I had tried before, but was generally just guessing with regards to season, direction, and the necessary darkness of the area, so just knowing that a decent shot should be attainable at that time and place was a big advantage.