Tuesday, September 16, 2014
We started the day early (for us) up at 8:30 – headed out by 10:00 – not sure why it takes us so long to get up and out. Today the plan is to take the boat shuttle from the South Jenny Lake Visitor Center and then hike to hidden falls and inspiration point – so no stopping on the way, that’s the plan!
Well best laid plans – as we headed out we could see the mountains more clearly than we had since we had arrived at GTNP, so we HAD to stop. The site of Mt. Moran and the fall trees reflecting on the glass like surface of Jackson Lake stopped us in our tracks. There was no way we could pass up this picture opportunity! In the middle of the reflection at one point there was a flock of ducks swimming along – I’m telling you if this doesn’t make you feel little and awe inspired – I’m not sure anything will. After a few more stops to get just the right angle of the mountains, we were finally headed towards South Jenny Lake.
You can hike 2 miles around the lake at a pretty easy hike, or you can take a shuttle across for $9 per person one way or $15 round trip. We opted for the 1 way, with the intention of riding over and hiking back. The boat ride takes about 5 minutes to get across; it was a bit chilly but a nice way to get over to the other side quickly. Arriving at the west dock, there are stairs that take you to the trailhead – the hike to Hidden Falls is just around .5 mile and not too steep, there are free walking sticks offered which are recommended. About ¼ of the way up there is a small fall that is very pretty and I think that it fools several people into thinking that is Hidden Falls. It’s amazing how much longer .5 miles feels when you are traveling more vertical than horizontal. This is one of the most popular hikes in the park, so depending on the time of the year can be very crowded. We made it to the falls in good time – especially for 2 out of shape old farts. The falls are aptly names as they are hidden within some rock outcroppings – they are beautiful. People gather around the fence area to get pictures with the falls in the background – it’s a nice backdrop.
Turning around and heading back down the path about 100’ there is a bridge which takes you to Inspiration point about .4 of a mile further. We headed up the trail to Inspiration Point, this part was a little steeper but still nothing like some of the hikes we had done in Rocky Mtn. National Park. About ½ way up there is a nice rock formation that is a great spot to stop for lunch. There was a group sitting in the same area that we had seen earlier on the trail and I had noted several different accents being spoken in the group. They were all eating sandwiches and I mentioned that I almost packed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as we pulled out our leftover smoked baby back ribs, and Kelly said “you should have”. One of the girls in the group looked over and said “You have ribs and you’d rather have a sandwich?” Well if you know me, that was all it took – we started chatting with Lizanne (pronounced Lee-Zon) from South Africa by way of London for the past 9 years. Apparently the group was from all over and on a 2 week tour of several of the National Parks with a tour company called Trek America. We talked to Lizanne for a good long while, long enough that some of her group went up to Inspiration point and back. One of the things that we are enjoying about this trip is meeting folks along the way.
It was getting late in the afternoon and Lizanne’s group looked ready to leave, so we parted ways giving her a card with our email hoping to keep in touch. So onward and upward we headed, one piece of advice that one of the girls from the Trek America group gave us was to stay toward the wall side at one point in the hike up because of the cliff on the other side – in a few minutes I was appreciating that warning / advice. There is one short part of the trail where you want to hug the wall as the edge looks over a drop off, but I’m somewhat afraid of heights and I never felt that queasy feeling. It only took another 15 or so minutes to climb to Inspiration Point – where you can see all of Jenny lake below, again beautiful, the lake was like glass I can see why the name, it was an inspiring view.
We took a couple of pictures, hung out for a few minutes and headed back down, we were getting pretty hungry and the clouds were looking like rain. The trek down was pretty quick – we were not too far from the bottom when someone was taking pictures of the rocky hillside, so we asked what they were seeing. It was the elusive Pika! A cute little ground animal that we looked for without success in Rocky Mtn. National Park. They have cute little round ears, no tail and are just about the size of a Guinea Pig– so adorable. Yippeee, we finally saw a Pika! We searched all over RMNP for this little guy and we couldn’t find one anywhere. So cool that we finally got to see one and we got some good pictures too!
Since we took a little longer than planned on our hike we ended up riding the shuttle boat back to the other side of the lake, too hungry to make the 2 mile hike around the lake. Next time we will be more prepared.
The hike to hidden falls and Inspiration point was relatively easy – I highly recommend it. Pack a good lunch and plan to enjoy it on the way to Inspiration Point then hike back around the lake.
A great day!
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