Hermitage Point & Avalanche Canyon in Grand Teton National Park, WY
After doing a sloggy hike along Bull Creek in the Bridger-Teton National Forest above the Hoback River I decided on an early morning snowshoe of Hermitage Point at Colter Bay on Jackson Lake in Grand Teton NP. I've hiked all the way out the point many times, once you get beyond Swan Lake and Heron Pond it has often seemed like my own private paradise only wildlife shared with me.
This day a season of higher than average snowfall left Hermitage Point and much of northern Jackson Hole in a sub arctic grip the likes of which hadn't been seen here in 9 winters. The area got 3 times the snow we got here NW of Dubois, not far across the Continental Divide. The eastern slope here could use a little moisture, there's sure enough of a cold surface mass over on the western slope to hope some warm air will bring showers.
Well, I got out early but shared the point with not a single Ungulate. That's OK, I'd seen perhaps 800 to 1,100 head of elk in the Sagebrush driving to the trailhead. I did however share the point with some raucous Sandhill Cranes and a couple of Bald Eagles that cruised over the air holes near one of the massive beaver lodges. It was still frozen indeed, but it was to hit 60 degrees down in Jackson and I knew I better head back before the snow softened up too much. Sure enough, 300 yards from the trailhead I started sinking in.
After a couple of days of wildlife observation on Saturday April 29th I snowshoed just a short distance up on the Moraine between Taggart and Bradley Lakes towards Shadow and Nez Perce Peaks. Other than some feisty Marmots sunning themselves on the Bridge at the Outlet of Taggart Lake and a few skiers headed for Dissapointment Peak I had the day mostly to myself until the end of the hike when I had the pleasure to meet two young men that had just been aerialy filmed skiing the Grand Teton for an upcoming dramatic release. I know Mr. Briggs skiied the mountain 35 years ago, but it doesn't make it any less amazing today. At the start at the trailhead I arrived just as several skiiers were headed out on mountain bikes to the Leigh Lake Trailhead. From there they were headed on foot to Bearpaw Lake and a camp up towards Mount Moran. They were to ski the Skillet Glacier first thing this morning.
Wyoming is of course quite beautiful. A few flowers here and there, affirmations of life everywhere. This is the time to be in the Greatest habitat for large mamals in the Temperate Zone. Does lot's of snow translate into lots of mosquitoes? One must find something to worry about in paradise, for that to be a serious concern tells you how truly fortunate I am.
The Tetons From Hermitage Point
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