Last month in Wyoming, the final major hike of our stay in Jackson was the Taggart-Bradley Lake Loop in Grand Teton National Park. We had yet to see a bear, which we were hoping to do (at a distance, preferably), and we had heard that the Taggart Lake area was known bear territory. Armed with bear spray (just in case) and a camera, John and I set out on the trail in the cool, early morning hours.
Very early in the hike, we could hear the sound of nearby rushing water. As the sound intensified, we came upon a grove of aspens – my new favorite tree.
Just around the bend from the aspen grove, we found this powerful, boulder-strewn stream. We now had a visual to accompany the noise we had heard. And what a visual it was!
We then veered away from the stream and headed in closer to the Tetons.
One mile in to the hike, we stayed right at a fork in the path to venture up to the southern side of Bradley Lake. The only view of the lake we were granted was one through the trees, seen below.
We followed the loop back down south towards Taggart Lake. This time, the trail took us right to the shore. We snagged a seat on a fallen log for a water and snack break. This was our fourth day in a row of fairly intense hiking, and we were wearing out! The break was a good excuse, though, to linger next to the quiet, still waters.
Before too long, we pressed on, keeping our eyes and ears open for the hoped-for bear sighting. We ended up in a large area of new forest, in which John and I were taller than many of the young trees.
As we completed the southern portion of the loop that would lead us back to the Taggart Lake Trailhead, we stumbled upon a sight that is all-too-common back home: an open field of dirt and low brush. Apart from the smattering of pine trees around the edge of the dry clearing, the landscape appeared to be straight out of Texas! Simply put, it was not the prettiest of spots.
In the end, the most beautiful and scenic parts of the hike all happened up front, with the magnificent stream being the highlight of the trail. We never did spot our bear.
After a picnic lunch at the Leigh Lake Trailhead, we completed one final, short hike up to Leigh Lake before calling an end to our hiking – for that day, at least. Next stop: Lake Tahoe, California!