Sometimes, there is no place like home, especially when that happens to be a short drive from one of the most magical places on earth (and I am not talking about Disneyland). Grand Teton National Park (GTNP) may be overshadowed by its neighbor to the north (Yellowstone), but for many of us, it is “the park,” as in “I’m going biking, cross-country skiing, hiking, snow-shoeing, paddle boarding in the park.” It is our backyard and our playground year-round and, during the summer months, we share it with over 4 million visitors for good reason.
Yesterday was the perfect day for an iconic hike up Cascade Canyon to Solitude Lake. While it is possible to walk from the South Jenny Lake parking lot, it is a lot more fun to take the boat across the lake and enjoy the spectacular views. From the dock, Inspiration Point and/or Hidden Falls are a relatively short distance away. Continuing past Inspiration Point, the trail winds through pine forests, along streams and through meadows full of wildflowers even this late in the summer.
There are stunning views in every direction and we had to remind ourselves to turn around and look from where we came at times to enjoy the magnificent panorama behind us. We saw many moose (but too elusive for a good photo), picas, and bald eagles. We brought bear spray and were happy we didn’t need it.
A rainy May and cool June mean the wildflowers are still abundant at 8000′ feet and above.
Three hours, seven miles and 2300 feet of altitude gain later, we arrived at our destination: Lake Solitude!
We sat back, relaxed and enjoyed the peace and quiet before heading back down to “civilization.”