To give you an idea of his size, note that the squares on his quilt are one half inch on a side. I have named him "Grand" for the magnificent peak which dominates so many views in Jackson Hole. He was fun to make, though sewing up the thirteen tiny pieces was a little tricky, especially because the hand spun yarn I used is so fuzzy that it was hard to see what I was doing. Next time I'll choose a yarn with better stitch definition.
Knitting a bear was indeed an appropriate choice for this trip. Altogether we spotted six bears, more than we have ever seen in a single season; in fact, more than we used to see over many summers combined.
The most entertaining encounter was in Upper Paintbrush Canyon, just above Holly Lake, where we spotted a mother and her two cubs. In no time the cubs scurried forty or fifty feet up a tree, found themselves some comfy branches, and went to sleep. The mother stayed at the base of tree foraging for food and posing for photos, or so it seemed. In my excitement I made rookie photographer errors so unfortunately she is not as clear as she should be.
|Black Bear cubs|
|Black Bear (Note that not all Black Bears are black)|
Grand Teton National Park is of course named after its tallest and most famous peak, which is usually called, with equal measures of affection and awe, "The Grand." From every direction it looms up to capture your attention. Its character seems to change depending on the vantage point, the time of day, the season, and the weather.
Since our overnight back country trip took us to the upper part of North Cascade Canyon in the evening we were able to take sunset photos of The Grand across the smooth waters of Lake Solitude. For anyone wanting to make a similar trip, keep in mind that the area around Solitude is closed to camping so you will need to secure a permit (at the information center in Moose or the ranger station at Jenny Lake) for the North Fork Camping Zone located below the lake. Violations can result in a citation and fine of $120. Yes, the rangers do check.
|Mount Owen and The Grand Teton across Lake Solitude|
One morning we got up before dawn to take sunrise photos at Schwabacher's Landing, a location which offers stunning reflections in calm waters and a straight on view of a line of jagged peaks such as a child might draw. It turned out to be a great morning for photos with a sky full small puffy clouds. If you want to go to Schwabacher's Landing note that the road has been closed to vehicles due to sequestration-induced budget cuts and is now being treated as a hiking trail. We parked on the shoulder of the highway and walked down the road in about twenty minutes.
|Sunrise at Schwabacher's Landing|
The clouds hung around all day and made a dramatic sunset.
|Sunset over the high peaks|
From high up across the valley the peaks seem bigger.
|Near Jackson Peak|
From the south The Grand seems bigger yet.
|Hiking down Taylor Mountain|
In South Leigh Canyon on the western side of the range the top of The Grand sticks up like a shark fin.
|In South Leigh Canyon|
And from the upper slopes of Mount Saint John it feels as though you can reach out and touch it.
|Climbing Mount Saint John with The Grand and Mount Owen (the darker peak with snowfields) as backdrop|
Anyone wanting to see these mountains from a perspective other than the highway turnouts or Jenny Lake would do well to pick up one or more of Rebecca Woods' excellent hiking guides. They are available at the Valley Bookstore in town, at the visitors' centers in town and in Moose, and online at The Jackson Hole Bookstore. She describes hikes of varying lengths suiting a variety of abilities and interests so you are sure to find something that will appeal to you and your group.