YNP\GTNP 2014 – 8\2 and 8\3 2014 – Flagg Canyon and Lake Solitude

After months of planning and waiting, our big trip is finally here! Two weeks in the Tetons and Yellowstone, hiking nearly every day. We got up at 3 AM on Saturday morning and drove to the Tetons. We arrived at about 1 PM in the afternoon and drove to our campground at Flagg Ranch which is almost to the south entrance of Yellowstone. We’ve never stayed here before, but it’s the only campground in GTNP that takes reservations so we decided to try. Our campsite was nice, nothing special really. They did have nice heated bathrooms with hot water and clean showers so that was good.

After arriving and setting up camp, we decided to take a quick afternoon hike to stretch our legs from riding in the car all day. We looked on the park map and found a trail that starts from the campground and runs 2 miles each way. That sounded nice, so off we went. While the canyon was pretty, we ran into lots of bugs (which would end up being the theme of the trip…) but even worse was the dust on the trail. It turns out that this trail is used by the trail ride company at Flagg Ranch where they do four rides a day on it. Over the years this has turned the dirt into fine dust. After four miles we were covered up to our knees in dirt and needed a shower badly. Ironically, this was the dirtiest we got all trip. It was disgusting really. I do not recommend this trail for hiking due to the dust. Without it, this would be a nice short hike. Here’s a nice pic of the Snake River and Flagg Canyon.

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After returning to camp for a shower, we went to bed early. We have a big hike in the morning, Lake Solitude.

We awoke early to begin our hike and drove to Jenny Lake where we would take the shuttle boat to the trailhead. This takes two miles each way off the hike reducing it from 19 to 15 miles. On the way to the trail we saw a porcupine in the road, but he was gone so fast we couldn’t get a pic. We also say this herd of elk near Jackson Lake. P1020874

 

On the boat at Jenny Lake:

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This is Hidden Falls, it is the first stop on the trail. You take a short side trail for about 100 yards to come to this fall. P1020883

From there we continued up the canyon following Cascade Creek the whole way. The scenery just became more spectacular all the way. The canyon was dotted with wildflowers and dominated by great views of the Tetons.

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As we neared the lake we had to cross what was obviously an avalanche from last winter still hanging on. The snow here was many feet deep and you could see where it slid down the mountain and destroyed a ton of trees. The power of this fall was incredible and this snow will not melt this year.

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We finally reached the lake where we had lunch of tuna sandwiches and wine. P1020924 P1020926

After lunch we headed back to the boat and saw this guy along the way:

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This is inspiration point, about one mile from the end. It looks out over Jenny Lake and the eastern part of the Teton park.  Most hikers only go this far so the crowds became much more thick at this point. From here we hiked back to the boat and then went back to camp for another early bed time. Our first full day of the trip was done as was the first of many great days of hiking.

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More to come.

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