We were up with the lark this morning at 4.45 a.m. and off to Schwabacher Landing at 5.30 a.m. ready for the sunrise at 6.01 a.m. We had a bag of goodies with us, water, coffee, bananas and crisps as it was our intention to do a hike to Phelps Lake straight afterwards.
The temperature was 36ºF and it didn’t feel too cold, although we were well wrapped up in our hiking gear.
On the way down to the landing we saw two large elk.
We arrived to find four other cars already there but there’s always plenty of room for all. We found our position and waited. Sadly, it was quite a breezy morning and that means ripples in the water and that disrupts the reflection of the mountains. The ideal photograph is the sun shining on the Grand Teton mountain range and reflecting in the pond below.
As we were stood waiting for the sun a fox suddenly appeared opposite us on the other side of the pond. We got a photograph of him but didn’t get a photograph of him catching a vole for his breakfast!! 🦊🐀
Today was not the day for the perfect photograph as it was quite breezy. Si got a few good shots and I took a half-decent video. Perhaps we’ll try again in the next few days.
The goose was still sitting on the nest, no chicks yet! 🐣
After we left Schwbacher Landing we headed for Laurence S. Rockefeller Preserve to do a hike to Phelps Lake. There was a sign at the start warning us of the deep snow. In the summer time this hike would normally take about 1.5 hours. Because of the snow, it took us 3.30 hrs to complete 4.26 miles.
We spoke to a Ranger yesterday and she said the hike was doable as long as we had good hiking shoes and walking poles. She said the best time to do it was first thing in the morning as by about 3.00 p.m. the snow is slushy and makes hiking more difficult.
I forgot to say in yesterday’s blog that when we went shopping in Jackson we purchased walking poles especially for today.
It’s always advisable to get to the Preserve early anyway as the parking is limited.
We set off and the first thing I commented on was lack of snow! Well, that soon changed. Before we knew it there was rather a lot of it and of course this obscured the trail. Luckily, we have the AllTrails app because without that we would probably have gotten lost.
Here are some photographs of our hike.
A group of young people passed us at one point carrying their skies. They soon put those skies on and ski-planed instead of walking. We were lucky that someone had walked through before us and for the most part we were able to walk in their tracks.
Unfortunately, where there were no tracks it was a game of poker. I fell backwards twice, held down by my backpack. Lucky I was able to pull myself up with my poles. At one point when I fell down and my backpack had opened up and the bananas I had packed for the half-way point fell out and I didn’t realise it until we got to the lake and found they were gone! No breakfast for us. Luckily, we had hot coffee to keep us going.
It was very hard going and we said it was the hardest hike we had ever done. Not because of the distance but the intensity with all the snow.
I fell forward many times and got stuck up to my knees but poor Si had the most awful experience when he fell down a huge hole so large it was up to his hips. HIs foot was well and truly stuck and he couldn’t pull his leg out at all. We started trying to clear the snow with our walking poles but in the end and I had to dig him out with my bare hands. 😱
We wouldn’t have been so panicky about the situation if it wasn’t for the fact that before this happened we heard growling in the trees and were convinced a bear was nearby. We had the bear spray handy just in case the situation turned nasty!!!! 😱
It was a relief to reach the lake to have a sit down and some coffee!
There are two routes to take to the lake. Some people just do half the route but of course the Barretts had to do the whole thing! The Laurel and Hardy phrase “Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into” came to mind a few times! 😂
As we reached the end of the walk another phrase, this time from the film Forrest Gump came to mind ……………. “And just like that my running days was over” but in our case Si said our snow hiking days were over. 😂
Poor Si fell down so many large snow holes that his socks and bottom of his hiking trousers were soaking. Mental note to ensure spare socks are packed in future if we ever do happen to go hiking in the snow again.
We did eventually make it back to the Tourist Centre car park and made our way back to our cabin.
When we were at Schwabachers Landing this morning a lady told us they had seen a Sandhill Crane sitting on a nest in water quite near the side of the road but it was quite hard to spot. On our way back I happened to spot it so Si managed to get some really good shots. Sandhill Cranes can be quite hard to find.
Then, just a little ways down the same road we saw a huge moose feeding. Again, we managed to get a shot.
So, the day wasn’t all bad. We had seen a sunrise, albeit not that good, completed a very difficult hike and seen some wildlife. What could be better? Well, an early night I think to prepare ourselves for more adventures tomorrow! 😴🛌