Monday, September 24, 2018

Crossing Teton Pass, and a Very Close Bear

We decided to take a break from the hiking and instead take the scenic route to Jackson. So, we drove to Alpine before we turned to Victor, Idaho. One more turn found us heading up to the top of Teton Pass. It’s a steep route, about ten percent grade and a truck was ahead of us, so it was a slow ascent to the pass.
Pulling off, we all got out and looked east toward Black Tail Butte, The Gros Ventre Range, and the City of Jackson. Avalanche shuts were devoid t of trees and any brush and each year massive avalanches thunder down the pass, frequently closing the highway. A plan was made to build avalanche sheds to save lives but the Wyoming Legislature decided to not appropriate the funds.
Heading down the pass we turned on the Moose Wilson road. There have been four moose struck and killed and one wonders at the idiots that don’t pay attention to the warning signs! Entering the park, we drove the road but didn’t see any bears to moose. Jen and Eric were planning on hiking a very difficult trail, and so we headed to the park headquarters to ask for directions.
Asking about the Delta Trail at the information desk the young park interpreter looked at me and must have decided that I was too old for such a trail. He said that they already had three rescues on the trail and wouldn’t tell me the critical turn to Delta Lake.
Now I had climbed there years ago but I didn’t argue as it wasn’t worth the effort, (Jen later approached the same person who told her the way to get to Delta Lake. Either it was because she is thirty years younger than I am or perhaps he wanted to impress her with his knowledge.
We next drove to the trail head which is located at Lupine Meadows. It’s the same trail I took when Terry Rypkema, Steve Gardner, and I climbed Teewinot, a 12300-foot peak just north of The Grand Teton. Figuring things out, Jen, Eric, (Renita and I weren’t going to hike to Devils Lake), we drove back to the Moose Wilson Road.
A few miles down the road we got caught in a bear jam but as we reached the location of the bears, they had moved back into the brush. A pull off was nearby and Renita pulled in and parked the truck. Soon people started to move our way and sure enough the Black Bear sow and her cub were walking right towards us!
The bears were only thirty feet away, when they turned and walked along a trail right in front of us. It was the closest we have been to bears this year and with an occasional glance towards us the sow continued down the trail closely followed by the cub.
To see bear here, you must know where they are, at different times of the year, and you must be lucky. Jen and Eric brought us their luck!   Clear skies
The bears disappeared over a rise and after high fiving each other we got back in the truck and drove back to Thayne. What a great day!

1 comment: