Grand Teton: Delta Lake

My true adventure in Grand Teton National Park was what began as a hike to Surprise Lake (and Disappointment Peak, which sounded fun). The hike would be about 11 miles round trip. I got to the trailhead parking lot around 9am and proceeded to loiter until some other groups showed up. This is my method of bear safety. Since I’m hiking alone, wait until there’s a group that I can hike nearish. I cannot tell you how glad I am I did that. I ended up hiking behind a group of 6 20-somethings who all came to an abrupt halt behind an older couple and a family.

There were bears just off the trail. I wasn’t able to get pictures of all of them at once, but it was a mother and 3 adolescent cubs. Very glad I was with a group, and we were a group of 13 at that point so I felt pretty safe. We cautiously worked our way well around the bears keeping a safe distance and making noise. After that I stuck to the group like glue.

One of the cubs noticed our group.
One cub is off the the left under the tree and you can see the other cubs’ ears poking up from the log.

Surprisingly despite the large group size we didn’t scare off this sage grouse from the side of the trail.I had started chatting with some members of the group and they were kind enough to invite me to come hike with them. They were not planning on going up to Surprise Lake, but turning off the mapped trail shortly after the grouse to head to Delta Lake, which they assured me was easier and way cooler. A fun new adventure, new friends, and safety in numbers all appealed to me and I headed off with them. I was also pretty intrigued by the fact that one of them was carrying skis with him.

The last snowfield before Delta Lake
We were very cautious about the run off from Delta Lake that was just under, and breaking through, the snow.
Delta Lake and Grand Teton
Tim skiing down to the lake (on the left) with the Grand as a backdrop.
Mia glissading.
Tim taking the fastest way down. The skis were great here but were a real pain once we were bushwhacking.

A good life lesson…I was so proud of myself for leaving a note on my car with my hike plan, name and emergency contact. I usually text someone but there was no service. As I walked off my planned itinerary I realized it wasn’t that helpful. And as we bushwhacked down towards the parking lot after our epic glissading I started laughing and told my new friends that I had been so proud of myself for leaving that note and I had forgotten to put the one thing that may have been the most helpful….

….there was no date.

Grand Teton had some of the most amazing views, the most exciting hike, the most close up non-bison wildlife, best exit views and Jackson Hole had the most amazing breakfast, the bakery I was hoping for. Persephone Bakery, check it out. It’s also next to Cafe Genevieve which came highly recommended and I plan to check out when I return for a wedding in October.

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