Our warm up hike in the Tetons was Jenny Lake to Inspiration Point. It was scenic, but also very popular.
8 miles round trip, 500 ft or so of elevation. We started at the visitor center among the crowds of people. There park service runs a boat shuttle across the lake, and almost everyone took it except us and the Aeropostale photo shoot. They had radios, handlers, lots of models, a pop up dressing room, props for Christmas, racks of clothes, and a catered barbequeue lunch.
We saw Indian paint brush and yarrow, and purple flowers. The hillside next to the lake was covered in thimble berry. Most of the berries near the trail had been picked off, but I found a few to snack on. The trail ambled up and down beside the glacial lake and away from the lake. All day it was kind of hazy. Isaac liked climbing on the boulders beside the trail.
The direct trail from hidden falls to Inspiration Point was closed for a significant rebuild, so we planned to detour down to the boat dock, out and around the lake farther, and then back up to Inspiration Point. The closer we got to the boat dock, the more people filled the trail, until you couldn’t stop without tripping up the people behind you.
We stopped for lunch at Inspiration Point. The view looked out away from the mountains, over Jenny Lake, to Baseline and Antelope flats. We decided we had covered sufficient distance for the day, but we were about fed up with the lines of people. The weather forecast also predicted strong thunderstorms for the afternoon.
The only way back was the same way we had come since the hidden falls trail was closed. We passed by the boat dock. The line of people stretched farther than we could see. We hurried back up through the milling people taking photos of the lower water falls. At the junction with the other side of the hidden falls trail, we turned uphill to see the falls. Unfortunately with the trail work, we could not really see the falls, but we did see a group of rock climbers on the cliffs above climbing back down.
From there we took the horse trail back. We hoped it would be a straighter, less crowded route. It traversed higher on the mountain side parallel to the lake shore trail. We passed an overlook with views and seating better than Inspiration Point. Then we heard and saw the wind and thunder coming in over the water. We covered up in our rain gear before the rain hit us. The rain was not too bad, but the thunder and lightning came so close that we questioned our decision to take the higher elevation horse trail. We enjoyed the views across the white capped lake into the storm. An eagle with a fish in its talons caught a thermal below us and soared over our heads.
Before we reached the cars, the rain stopped and the sun peeked out between the clouds.