Day 8

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    Posted by Paula ( on August 24, 2005 at 21:57:30:

    In Reply to: Day 7 posted by Paula on August 24, 2005 at 21:55:38:

    SUNDAY, AUGUST 14, 2005

    We got up to beautiful weather again and had a breakfast extravaganza of everything left in the cooler since this is our last day in the park. Then we fixed lunches and put everything we needed in our backpacks and fannypacks for the hike up Cascade Canyon. After that it was time to pack up camp since we’d be leaving for home right after the hike about dinnertime.
    We arrived at Jenny Lake early enough to get a parking space this time and took the boat over to the trailhead. The line was short and we didn’t have to wait long. We checked out Hidden Falls and Inspiration point among the throngs of people, but as we’d heard on the forum, the crowds thinned out after that. The young men had seen a marmot on the rocks at Inspiration Point, but shortly afterward we saw a very different animal that we couldn’t identify run into a crevice between some rocks. We waited and he poked his head out again but quickly pulled back when he saw us. I looked it up after we got home and learned I’d seen my first pine marten.
    Continuing up the trail we came to a trailside moose jam of about eight people. They were watching a bull moose lying down on the hillside below the trail. We joined them for a while – no binoculars needed for this moose. Unfortunately, we forgot to take our camera on this hike, too. I think we need to have a dayhike checklist so we don’t forget things.
    The young men decided to forge on ahead at their own pace which was a good idea because Rick and I couldn’t help stopping to look at the view up canyon as it became more magnificent the higher we hiked. The waterfalls pouring off the sides of the mountains were beautiful. It was interesting to watch new cliffs, snowfields and waterfalls appear as we hiked. Plus the stream we were hiking beside was really pretty, too. There were wild raspberries – ripe – and thimbleberries – not ripe yet – on both sides of the trail. We also saw lots of wildflowers, there was dark blue monkshood taller than me. We both agreed it was one of the most consistently scenic hikes we’d ever been on. We met the guys coming down from the forks of the trails to North & South Canyons and learned they’d seen a second bull moose that we had missed. They told us where it was so we could look for it on the way down. They’d already eaten lunch so we continued on to the forks and admired the waterfall there before starting back. We climbed down to some rocks at the side of the stream underneath the bridge just below the forks to eat our own lunch. I saw some really pretty purple flowers there that I haven’t identified yet.
    When we got to the place where the boys had seen the second bull moose it was easy to spot because it was standing in the water eating. There was an Italian family down on the gravel bar that had been wading and sunning. Their kids had seen it get up and were yelling to the parents to come see. There were also three other people besides us on the trail watching it. It was even closer than the other moose. It was funny watching it try to scratch its hind end with its antlers.
    Further down the trail we had seen a large pool where people were wading and since the day was getting hot I decided to stop there and wade to cool off. When we got to the upper end of the pool I remarked to Rick that there were indentations in the bottom that looked like they could have been made by moose. We came around a bush where we could see the lower end of the pool and found ourselves right beside the rear end of a female moose! We backed away at the same time she waded away through the pool and climbed the bank into some bushes out of sight, leaving a trail of muddy disturbed water behind her. We went down a few feet to the edge of the pool and spoke with a young woman sitting there while I waded. She had been sitting in the same spot when the moose came out of the brush three feet from her and walked past her and into the water. She said it was really startling and all she could do was freeze. That would be frightening!
    When we reached the point on the trail where we had seen the first moose lying down early in the hike there was another moose jam on the trail. This time the bull moose was up eating in the underbrush and was really close and easy to see, although not as close as the other two moose further up trail. We reached the boat dock at 5pm and after a short wait we returned to the other side of the lake and met the boys at the van.
    We started the drive home and left Grand Teton National Park through the Moran Entrance at 6:40 pm. Just before the entrance a deer trying to run across the road almost ran right into us and had to swerve back to the side.
    We were looking for a fast food place to drive through and pick up dinner but there weren’t any along Highway 287. We reached Dubois and couldn’t find any fast food so stopped at J & C Pizza & Stuff. It was their Sunday Pizza Night where they didn’t serve the regular menu, but for one price you could have all the wood fire baked pizza you could eat. They brought the Caesar Salad that came with the meal and it was really good. Then the waitress started coming around offering all kinds of pizza – there was a wide variety and they were all really tasty. They included Three Pepper; Tomato, Black Olive & Basil; Pepperoni; Cheese; Garlic Chicken & Black Olives; Hamburger and Mushroom; Hamburger, Canadian Bacon, & Pepperoni. When we requested a hamburger and onion pizza they obliged. It was a fun place to eat and didn’t take quite an hour to eat from the time we walked in so was pretty fast.
    We continued on to Lander where we stopped for gas and I called ahead to make a motel reservation in Laramie. We had a couple of wildlife sightings on the trip that evening: we saw a fox run across the road in front of the van and we saw a deer right by the side of the road eating the long grass growing around the signs by the side of the road. We had a quick trip down Highway 287 to the freeway at Rawlins since it was Sunday night and there was little traffic and the road construction seemed to be done. We stopped at the Motel 6 at exit 313 in Laramie for the night. Right after we got in bed I heard a train go by and thought, Oh, no, if there are going to be trains going by all night we’ll never get any sleep! I suspected the train tracks might be the reason this Motel 6 was cheaper than the one in Sidney on the way out. But I was so tired from the hike that I fell asleep and didn’t wake up until morning. Rick & the boys, however, said they heard a couple more trains go by.

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