Back on the Trail

Published: September 25th 2014
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Last night we slept with a mouse. After all, we were in the middle of the woods, so why not get the full experience by sleeping with a wild animal. Most may not think of mice as wild, but I will tell you they are. We stayed in a cabin (basically a hotel room with exterior log walls) at Flagg Ranch again. Right about the time everyone else fell asleep, I heard something. I looked over at the floor and there he was - the mouse, named Lucky via Peggy. I let everyone else know that we had a visitor and we moved a few things around to be sure he did not get into them and that he did not climb in my suitcase and go home with me. That mouse played all night. He found our fudge we had purchased the night before and helped himself. Well that fudge gave him a sugar high and he ate, ran, gnawed, and scratched ALL NIGHT. He was even still running around when daylight hit. I attempted to kill him as well as David, but we both failed. Hopefully the next guest staying there will have better luck. We are living on the wildside.

After a sleepless night, we packed up without Lucky, ate breakfast and headed south, back to the Tetons. This was our last day in the parks. We drove slowly searching for Bullwinkle and other wildlife, but they were a little sparse. We stopped at several pull offs for views and pictures and walked a few small trails. We drove deep into the forest to the trailhead for Two Ocean Lake. We did not hike it, but the it is a very scenic place - even from the parking area. We later visited an old cabin from an old settler and realized how amazing his life in the mountains must have been. I know it couldn't have been easy, but still amazing, surrounded by such beauty. We continued on riding, stopping, looking, but still no Bullwinkle. We decided to eat lunch and hike one more trail.

We ate lunch in a picnic area with a guy from Cody who was full of information and he enjoyed telling it. We learned of movies filmed in the park, decisions made by the park service, things he enjoyed and characteristics about some trails. Afterwards, we said our goodbyes and headed to our trailhead.

Today's hike was the Taggart Lake trail. The trail itself is 1.5 miles one way, but decided to make a loop out of it to totaling 4 miles. I think I sort of persuaded them to go that route. This trail was rated as easy which is one of the reasons we chose it. 1.5 miles of easy hiking takes little effort. Well, I once again disagree with their rating. This trail was not easy. After walking on relatively flat ground for 1/4 miles, the trail drastically changed. It was all uphill for the next 1/2 mile or so. Climbing is hard enough, climbing in such a high altitude is difficult. The trail was also very rocky, so footing was something you had to watch. After we had finished the climbing section, we were rewarded with a close up fantastic view of the Tetons. From there to the lake, the trail was flat and easy walking through a forest. So the trail should be rated as easy-moderate-easy. That one section of moderate difficulty overshadows all the easy areas. We reached the lake and took a break enjoying the view. The lake was a beautiful blue/green color with the mountains as it's backdrop. The water looked very inviting and it was hard to not just stay there and enjoy all day. It was then that we decided to take the loop and ventured upward. The trailhead board up said to watch for bears in that area so were very aware of our surroundings. The first part of the loop section leaving the lake was very steep and difficult and I know everyone was doubting the decision to travel that way. After reaching the top we were rewarded with a birds eye view of the lake. It was awesome. The trail then began a long steep decent giving us long range views all the way down. We climbed down the mountain for quite a while and were all thankful that we had not hiked the trail in reverse order, for that section would have been rated as strenuous. The trail did level back off and we returned to where we started. We did not see any bears but saw lots of signs of bears and other animals. The hike was enjoyable and offered wonderful views, it was just a bit more difficult than the description had stated.
Hiking down from Lake TaggartHiking down from Lake TaggartHiking down from Lake Taggart

David is pictured on the trail

Exhausted from the hike, we took a little break, got rid of the hiking boots and once again began our hunt not only for Bullwinkle, but any wildlife. We drove around most of the park loop and spotted a herd of elk grazing in a field and large herd of pronghorn antelope in another field. We made it back to the visitor center and saw a large crowd with rangers keeping them at bay. David saw 2 deer grazing in that area, but I knew that 2 deer did not draw that big of a crowd and at least 6 park rangers. So we stopped as well. When we reached the group we saw a black bear and 2 cubs. They were hidden pretty well in the trees, but managed to get a few pics. We left there still searching and wanted to travel a road that led out of the park, but it was closed due to bear activity. A lady at the previous stop told us they closed it because a grizzly likes to hang out there and he sits in the middle of the road to eat. That is something we all wanted to see, but we would not on this trip.

With a black bear now added to the animal sighting list, we only needed to add the bull moose (Bullwinkle). We went back to the original place of moose sightings from our first day with high hopes. We did see another (or the same one) moose, but it was not Bullwinkle. He just would not come out of hiding. It was late and dark so we checked into a hotel one last time. After some dinner and repacking, we were ready for our early morning flight back.

This trip was a bit different for me. Even though I have traveled to both parks before, this is the first time we had 4 adults as the traveling party. We saw exciting and new things and all had a great time. Not sure if they will let me plan the hiking again, but I think we all enjoyed it, despite sore muscles and aching feet. We saw lots of wildlife which we all enjoyed. And that is one of the many draws to this area. When I leave for one of these hiking trips, my husband tells me to go and scratch that travel itch.
Our traveling party Our traveling party Our traveling party

Linda, Peggy, David, Sandra (me) ( pictured from left to right)
What he doesn't know is that it really just makes me want to travel more. As I fly over the vast landscapes heading home, I see so much out there I want to go explore. Ready to plan the next one.

Additional photos below
Photos: 22, Displayed: 22


25th September 2014
Magnificent view

Wow, lovely!
25th September 2014
Magnificent view

Wow, lovely!
25th September 2014

Sleepless nights
I hate rodents so I would have been chasing him too. Such an amazing part of the country. Love the changes fall colors. Thanks for sharing.
26th September 2014

Guess youall are home or almost there. Don't know about David and his friend since they were driving. Did Linda fly with you or ride back with them?
Be sure and bring pictures as they were beautiful. Hope you get to rest before having to go back to work. Glad the wildness was only a mouse this time. Love you!!!
28th September 2014
Ponds at Schwabacher Road

Great blog!
Excellent photos and fine hikes and adventures. Thanks for sharing one of my fave parts of the country!

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