Trip Report: Kayak/Canoe-Leigh Lake, Grand Teton National Park

Kayak/Canoe-Leigh Lake, Grand Teton National Park
By Kathy Jones
BOATING 07/31/2015 Class I

Trip leader - Kathy Jones. Participants - Donnie Benson, Katrina Easton, Bruce Moore, Asha Patel, Wayne Stump.
We drove up to Grand Teton park on Friday, 7/31/15. After picking up our back country camping permit, we watched the required safety/LNT video and stocked up on bear spray at the park visitor center. They recommend that each person carry a bear spray at all times, and keep it in your tent at night. We camped at Gros Ventre campground Friday night, then headed to the String Lake canoe launch area early Saturday morning. We got our boats (kayaks & IKs) loaded and started off to paddle up String Lake. Once at the north end of String Lake, we found the portage trail over to Leigh Lake. The portage trail isn't long, or super difficult, but requires a fair amount of time and energy to move six boats and gear over and down the log stairs to Leigh Lake. Leigh Lake is spectacular. Clear water, beautiful forest, and breath taking views of Mt. Moran and the Tetons. We then paddled to our camp site, 12B, on the eastern shore. The camp site was great, with a white sand beach and the most amazing views. The camp site had a nice fire ring surrounded by logs for our group hangout spot. Each camp site has a bear box and a hanging pole for keeping your food, cooking gear, trash, and toiletries secured. We also brought our own wag bag toilet set-up. We filtered water from the lake for drinking and cooking. We did a little paddling and hanging out in camp for the rest of Saturday. On Sunday, we each headed off for different activities. Katrina, Bruce, Asha , and Wayne went hiking for the day over to Jackson Lake. Donnie relaxed in camp, then went for a hike. Kathy paddled the perimeter of the lake and checked out all the other camp sites for future reference. The camps on the western side of the lake are more forested and secluded, but lack the spectacular views. They seemed better if you want to fish, and there are several small creeks on the western side. We had a wonderful evening paddle after dinner, and a nice campfire when we got back. Monday morning we packed up and headed for home. We were more efficient with the portage on the way out, and were back to our cars by mid day.

It was a wonderful trip, with a fun group of folks. Our weather could not have been any more perfect....sunshine, moderate temps., no rain, and no wind. We saw moose, elk, deer, and beaver, but no bears. The most aggressive critter we encountered was a Clarks Nutcracker. Now I know why they are nicknamed The Camp Robber. That crazy bird dive bombed me and tried to grab food out of my hand! I will be back to this awesome place again in the future and maybe spend an extra day or two?

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