Sunday, June 17, 2007

Spalding Bay, Grand Teton NP

You really have to be looking to find Spalding Bay. The gravel road in is not signed, and it is pretty obscure on the park map. I had a ranger visit while here, and he acknowledged this, indicating that sometimes it's better that way. I agree. The bulk of those that visit are locals, and I guess they appreciate the seclusion.

I made this basecamp for 3 nights, paddling Jackson lake a number of times from here. I found a very nice little inlet while paddling, and on this inlet I saw the bulk of wildlife that I did view. While I was floating and watching some waterfowl, an immature (molted) bald eagle roosted in a nearby tree to watch me with curiosity. An elk wandered the nearby hilltop, he too, stopping for a gander. As I paddled out, an adult Bald Eagle lit in a tree to survey the open lake.

There was a family of river otter who would come out late in the evening just offshore from the launch. I watched one as it played and cruised a kayaker who fishing just off-shore. While it must of have been entertaining to watch, sure didn't do anything for the fishing...I had a new deer who would come around the cmap. This was a teenage buck with velvety stubs for antlers.

I did find Boulder City on a driver over to Jenny Lake. I parked at the Cathedral View pullout and took the first trail into the woods. I had finally purchased bear spray before in Jackson and this provides a little peace of mind as I go deeper in and off the beaten path. As the trail went through the first tree line, I noticed the ground had been "tilled" just beyond. This caught my eye, as I had observed the Grizzly family at Oxbow Bend rooting the ground and leaving it looking this way. As I approached the morraine, I saw another tilled area, this being fresher and larger. I decided to backtrack out to the parking lot. As I was approaching a second trail that led a ways west before entering the forest, a tourist who had watched me come out approached and informed me that a man was attacked by a grizzly nearby the day before. As he hgave me details, it become obvious that this was the one and same grizzly family! Come to find out later, the victim was out jogging on a trail at 6 am, stumbled right on top of the bears, and there was a fresh elk kill in the area. Pretty much everything you do not want when being in Grizzly country, especially the time of morning and jogging... The man suffered only minor injuries. Anyways, this gave me more to think about as I made my in through the new trail, and final discovery of boulder city. And they are not kidding in the name. On the north side of the morraine, boulders stretch forever! Everytime I would find a patch to scramble and get a higher viewpoint, I would discover more through nearby trees. I ventured a mile or so out on this trail, and have no idea how large an area the boulders are concentrated in. Definitely had a fun afternoon in here :)

I took the long route, from Lupine Meadows, out to Bradley lake, the next day. I definitely had my wildlife radar turned off today! This is a nice hike, starting along the meadows, and then cutting its way through a lodgepine forest, before starting quite a climb up. I had initially giving thought to taking this trail up to Surprise Lake, but a 3,000' climb just was not in the cards today. As it was, I probably climbed close to 1,000' over the 6 mile hike. So, as I crossed a cascading creek, I stopped on the footbridge to get a picture. I heard footsteps on the other end of the bridge, and as I looked up to acknowledge the hiker, I was surprised to see that it was a deer! It was coming at me at a pretty good pace, and the fact it would do so was a bit unsettling. The bridge was less than 3 feet wide, and I was 10 feet or so out from the end, and I did not want to have this deer pass me in such close quarters. I called out to it in a harsh voice, and it stopped momentarily, but then reproceeded to come at me. I repeated this a couple of times, as I backed off of the bridge and stepped far enough off trail to allow it some room. It then trotted by and down the trail. Sheesh! I've heard of "sharing the trail" and all...

Bradley is another nice lake in the park. There appears to be two backpacking camps here. I have yet to commit to a night on the trail, as it still is a bit uncomfortable, lone camper in the sticks in high bear areas. We shall see. On the way back, I nearly stepped on a grouse that blended in with trail! It was nice enough to not stray too far away, allowing me to get a couple of good pics of it. Later on, I spooked a marmot that was on the trail, and it returned the favor as it high tailed it down the hill :).

On my way out of spalding bay, I saw my my first marten. It did not stay out long enough to get a picture though. It made me realize that there is still a lot of wildlife here that I have not seen. I'd love to come across a minx... On the way out of the park, I saw my first "Bullwinkle" Moose. Big guy, with velveted antlers coming back in. Saw him just across the bridge from the "MOOSE" visitor center. He had attracted quite a crowd, and I wonder whther the visitor center did not entice him to pick this spot to lounge out :)

Anyways, back to Jackson, and a waste of the better part of the day with Dell, over problems related with my Axim. If someone out there has actually experienced satisfactory technical service from them, I'd love to hear from you as to how you accomplished it. It scares me that they are rated as the best in their industry...

Up to Curtis Canyon for the night, and another awesome Teton sunset.

No comments: