Sunday, July 14, 2013

Grand Teton National Park

There are no foot hills in this park to obstruct our view of the Teton Range.  We could easily see them from our home in this park, so being away from phone or internet was not all that bad.  The mountains rise up sharply from Jackson Hole Valley.  One of our first stops in the park was to get a close view of the mountains.  Sagebrush flats are in the foreground, they give the landscape a silvery gray-green color.  Grand Teton is the tallest in the mountain range and is easily identified by its jagged peaks.
 The Teton Range rank among the youngest in the world.  However, geologic forces have been at work in this area for millions of years.  Beginning 10 million years ago movement on the Teton fault generated massive earthquakes causing the mountains to rise while the valley floor dropped.  Starting two million years ago massive glaciers flowed south from Yellowstone, eroding the mountains.  More recent glaciers have receded 15 to 25 per cent in the past 40 years.  The alpine glaciers sculpted the jagged Teton skyline and moraines ( masses of rocks and sand) have dammed beautiful lakes as Jenny Lake.  We took one of the more popular trails in the park along that lake, where we were able to enjoy additional wonderful vistas of the Tetons.  South Jenny Lake is at the bottom of Cascade Canyon, which is located in the split of the mountain range in the picture above.
 The trail took us steadily upward, about 21/2 miles to Hidden Falls.  It was a bit strenuous, like our hike Sunday, with some rock scrambling and took us a couple of hours.  From the trail we also had a great view of Moose Lake.  John remembers, when we were here years ago, that there were moose grazing by the lake.  None could be seen when we were there.
Hidden Falls was worth all the pain of getting there!  As we neared the falls we could hear them, but they remained hidden from our sight until we were right in front of them- hence the name Hidden Falls. 
 We were hot and tired, and the mist from the falls felt good.  Signs near the falls reminded us that this was a place to “be bear aware”.   Many people, us including, haul out snacks once they reach the falls, and also near the falls are many berry bushes.  Both probably draw bears to that area.   Going down was a bit easier and took us less than an hour.  As we neared the end of the trail we saw one mule deer feeding a short distance from us.  I really hate it when wildlife refuse to pose for me!  Many of my pictures are of their backsides.

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