Trip Report: Grand Teton Car Camp

Grand Teton Car Camp
By Aaron Jones
HIKE 09/12/2015 MOD

Grand Teton Car Camp
Aaron Jones
The Grand Tetons, Jackson Hole, wildlife and nightlife, our plan was to wrap our arms around it and turn every minute into a memory. I arrived with Carrie and after we set up camp we waited for Leslie and Steve. The four of us took off on a short hike to the Gros Ventre slide area. The place showcases a cataclysmic geological event whereby enormous areas of a mountain collapsed and it all took place barely one hundred years ago. Afterwards, it was off to Mormon row a collection of old structures that serves as the foreground for many iconic photos of the Tetons. Finally, before returning to camp we cruised over to Blacktail pond to watch for wildlife in the evening. A lone moose appeared to insure our efforts were not in vain. It was a busy but, beautiful day that went completely according to plan.
The following day we hiked to Surprise and Amphitheater lakes. These are beautiful alpine lakes at high elevation. The next day's hike took us to Bearpaw and Trapper hikes which some have deemed the best lake hike in the park. Taking advantage of time in the afternoon some of us visited the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson. This is a magnificent experience that should not be missed. Continuing with our efforts to see and do it all we appeared at Dornan's bar and restaurant to enjoy the regularly scheduled Monday night hootenanny. It was their 999th hootenanny and the emcee never failed to mention a performers number of appearances whether it was their first, third, or something way up in triple digits. Kid's song, folk and country, and some marvelous classical guitar work capped another full and wonderful day.
Tuesday morning ushered in a storm and our hiking sojourn involved following the bicycle routes around Jackson shrouded by rain gear and umbrellas. In the afternoon we experienced a special treat when we visited the Murie center. The Muries were biologists and we were all enthralled by the tale of how they arrived at the park and went on to champion a decades long effort resulting in the Wilderness Act. In the evening Leslie, Steve, and myself sought out the Stagecoach bar in nearby Wilson. When countercultures types were not welcomed in the sixties cowboy culture of Jackson this place welcomed everyone. To this day there is a band that has played there every Sunday night since 1969 and the locals at the hootenanny all gave high praise to these Sunday night sessions.
In the very early hours of Wednesday morning elk were bulging and answered by the mournful howls of a wolf pack. It was like an overture to the predicted huge storm that started immediately thereafter. With the first light of day we gathered up soggy armloads of nylon tents and sleeping bags and piled them into the cars. It was clearly time to leave but, as we were leaving a vision of four moose frolicking in the meadow reminded us of the natural treasures we had sought out in the park. We had seen marvelous mountains, moose, deer, raptors, and a solitary black bear. I know every one of us dreams of some future September day when we can once more hike the trails of the Grand Tetons when the elk are bulging and the autumn leaves are red and golden.
Participants were Carrie Clark, Steve Duncan, Barb Gardner, Leslie Woods, and myself Aaron Jones.