Hike’s # 2, 3, and 4: Wind River, Taggart and Bradley Lakes, Lake Solitude

Did I mention that these trips move fast? Well, they do. And if some of you were worried that I would not reach my goal of 40 hikes for this trip, you can stop worrying. I will catch you up as best I can below:

Hike #2: Wind River hike in Dubois, Wyoming.

We had origionally planned on heading straight into the Tetons, but as usual we were lured by the beauty of a place and decided to pitch our tent. The specific lure of Dubois Wyoming, a cute town along route 26 with a few mountains separating it from the Tetons, was the wind river. I am a sucker for a quaint rolling river, that will lull me to sleep inside my tent. After setting up for the night, we took a walk along this river, albeit along a paved trail, (I do not plan to discriminate what I call a “hike” on this blog). We dipped our feet in this frigid river and made plans for buying an inner tube to dip into future rivers along our travels. On mine and Noel’s first trip together, we had rolled into this town at 11:00 p.m. only to battle the winding road down to Jackson hole in the pitch dark. We are wiser now, and have learned to listen to what calls us to stop.

Hike #3: Taggart and Bradley Lakes, Teton National Park

Although we have frequented this park many times, there is always something new to mix in with our old favorites. As we are all friends here, I can admit embarrassingly, that sometimes at Hennacornoelidays we make quick judgments’ about things. We have been known to mistake a busy trailhead along the main road in a national park as the “easy” hike those other tourists do. But, we were eager to get in a hike, and took a chance. As always, we were wrong about this being an “easy” tourist hike. We soon realized that us flatlanders were out of shape, and this 5 mile hike was a great start to getting us acclimated to the thin air and elevation gain. This hike took us from the meadows that lay at the foot of the Teton range, with the main road in plain site, to rise up over to rest at a glorious lake. We found our own secret rock along the edge, dipped our tired feet while one of us took an almost skinny dip. The plan was to then follow the loop up to Bradley Lake and back to the safety of our car. Well at least that was the plan. We did begin the ascent up to Bradley Lake, yes more climbing, but about half way there, Noel spotted a baby black bear cub about 20 feet ahead on the trail. And if we’ve learned anything from hiking it’s that if you spy a baby black bear cub, turn slowly, drop any plans you had and head back the way you came. With our hearts pumping, we arrived at Taggart Lake, to learn that folks we had passed along the trail coming towards us had heard growling…but they obviously did not think that was relevent. But, all’s well that end’s well they say, and I’m glad that we once again learned to not judge a trail by it’s presumed easy accessibility. This one made our heart pump for more than altitude reason, good lesson learned.

Henna and Corey on our own rock!

Henna and Corey on our own rock!

one armed shot

Hike #4: Lake Solitude, Teton National Park

To be quick, this hike is an old favorite of ours. Noel and I initially back packed this hike almost 14 years ago. Then when we first took Henna here we travelled only part way. Last year we got just a bit closer. This year we had originally planned to back pack it with Henna. After realizing that we were not in mountain climbing shape just yet, we decided to go lighter, only carrying our food along. As we reached the place that we stopped at last year, and 2.7 miles from the beautiful Lake Solitude (all up hill), Henna decided we needed to continue. And then again, higher up the trail as we encountered a volunteer on the trail, to which he said something to the effect of knowing your limitations, Henna again turned and left him and her parents in the dust. When we finally made it to Lake Solitude, on the other side of the mountain, we all knew our painful descent was well worth the trip. Such is life I think.

Beautiful

Below is a poem that Henna to elouquently wrote about this hike.

Lake Solitude Trail

Switch backs, switch backs few.
To inspiration point whew.
Hidden water fall
In a canyon, wow.
At Lake Solitude, oh my!
Whew what a long day.
There is still more to go.
Feet hurt on way back.
Oh no catch the boat or else
we go two more miles.
We have walked 15 miles.
It was all worth it
We also saw a moose too.

Henna

DSCN3145

Determined

Corey

Cool Thing #4: Remembering How Cool People Can Be

People rock. A few roll, some tilt, but mostly people rock. They rock in the red and the blue states and everywhere in between. I think we (especially people like me who love to argue almost as much as they love watching politics) tend to lose sight of that.

Not in Illinois anymore

Not in Illinois anymore

Anyways that is what a fellow traveler said. Him and his wife are traveling America like us but with a couple of extra kids (they have three children age 2 through 7) and the family dog. Oh, they also are also traveling by bike. The dad has the dog and food and other incidentals, mom has the three kids on a type of tandem bike. The youngest can’t quite reach the pedals so he sits strapped to her back. We came across them at a park in Dubois, WY. Like a magnet they drew us in and in a short while we were trading stories while Henna played with the other children. We also asked them a lot of questions which I am sure they answer several times a day. The short of it is that mom quit her corporate job due partly to office politics and the dad is a pretty handy guy who, among other things, built their bikes. They tell their story a lot better than we do on their website thefamilyride.com

Thefamilyride.com

Thefamilyride.com

A couple of days later we met other corporate drop outs while hiking to Lake Solitude. That was yesterday and we are hurting pretty bad from the effort . Toward the end we met a structural engineer and his wife who decided to quit working for a while. They said they met others on the hike doing the same. Which leaves me thinking, are we doing it wrong it in America? Whereas most European countries have a minimum of six weeks of vacation a year (and shorter work weeks in general), most of my neighbors and friends are lucky to have two weeks. Maybe that is why there is so much resentment toward educators who mostly have the option not to work over the summer. A lot of the good, like the family ride people and the hikers I met yesterday, are just burning out and our society is the worse for it.

No pain no gain

No pain no gain

One more thing: there was another guy I met here too. Alone, he spends his summers camping in his modified van (with solar panels that keep the extras running when he camps). From what I can gather he spends a lot of time alternating between drinking Coors and mountain biking. He told me that he is 61 and spends every day just “pounding it.” The night after our death march of a hike, I called out to him on my way to the lake with Henna. “Man, we pounded it today”. Henna thought I was nuts. Noel

At Lake Solitude

I also want to give a shout out to our former neighbor here at Signal Mountain Campground, Kyle (or as he prefers to be called “The Preacher Neighbor”) and his very sweet and nice family who did not bat an eyelash when we told him of our non-religious views. He also seemed genuinely interested in what I am reading Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by the awesomely witty Christopher Moore. Hope we get to camp next to you soon (and I am not just saying that because you owe me a beer).