Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Saturday, August 10, 2013

July 29 Canoeing on String Lake and Leigh Lake

One thing on Pam's bucket list has always been to canoe or kayak on Jennie Lake, which is the famous lake that you always see in National Geographic Magazine and the like, with the Teton mountains reflecting on the water. It is true that Jennie Lake is beautiful, and the most famous, but on advice of a local friend of Pam's we stayed away from it. It is so famous that every family, foreign and domestic, that can afford a canoe is out on it floating and splashing on it. Kids are screaming, families are talking loudly, and the motorized shuttle boats are shuttling all the non hiking tourists across the water. All this spoils the serenity and the beauty pretty quick. It sounded like a suburban swimming pool on a busy day.
     We picked up our canoe at Dornans, an all purpose facility that had a gas station, restaurant, rentals, gift shop, tavern, pizza shop, etc, just outside of the Grand Teton Park. It was an  interesting proposition to get the canoe and all the equipment onto the Jeep with three people, a cooler, backpacks, and all the fixins. We only had to drive about eight miles to a more remote area, but just as beautiful, maybe more so. String Lake was a narrow, shallow body of water where we saw elk on shore, not shuttle boats. It was probably a half mile long, and then there were some rapids that we had to portage around on a path about 500 ft long, to get to Leigh Lake. This lake is every bit as big as Jenny Lake, only shaped like more of an L. There were no trails to walk around it, and very few people on it. We did see a few folks, but not many. After a sprinkle at the start of our excursion, the sun came out and the weather was perfect. We rowed around the bend in the L shape, and began to look for a place to tie up and have a picnic lunch. We were more worried about seeing a bear than seeing Japanese tourists with cameras. Lunch was excellent, the water was very deep and cold, the sky was blue, and the snow capped Tetons were above us. After lunch, we continued rowing to the furthest reaches of the lake, where Cascade Canyon emptied a stream into the lake. There was a British family camping there, and another family who had paddle boards and a kayak, that were fishing. Buddy and I proceeded to head up the canyon stream, walking on logs, and acting like kids, until we came to the point of no return, with steep walls, waterfalls, and fast moving water. We ended the adventure there and headed back down. Pam was talking to the British lady, who was wearing her bear bells on her shoes, and gathering stream water for something. As we talked, the typical ominous clouds started to come over the mountains, just as they do every day about 4-5 o'clock. We figured we better high tail it back before we got rocked with wind, rain, or worse, hail. We made it all the way back to the portage area between lakes before we got a little rain. We camped under a pine tree until it seemed to pass, then got onto String Lake again, where it rained on us a little, but basically we dodged the storms that were all around us. We loaded the canoe and equipment, and got back to Dornans just before the rental place closed at 6:30.  
  We then headed into Jackson, to the Snake River Brewery, for dinner. Then we walked to the ski resort, Snow King, at the edge of town, checked it out, and Buddy climbed on some bouldering walls that were in a park there. What a day!

Getting ready to unload the canoe

Ready to launch, get in the canoe Mike!

Elk on the shoreline

Paddling on String Lake

Landing and unloading so we can portage over to Leigh Lake

This is why we had to portage - shallow, rocky and small rapids

Posing at the bridge over the shallow water

Nope!  Can't paddle a canoe through that!

Portaging over to Leigh Lake

Are we there yet?!

And then you have to take the canoe down steps to the water!

Ready to launch again!  

Time to have lunch.  Just hoping the bears aren't close to the shore!

Mike and Buddy decided to go for a little hike and follow this creek

Mike was trying to get the reflection of the mountains on the water, but instead gets the clouds!

Now he got the mountains!

This was our view!  Look carefully and you can see where the land ends and the reflection begins.

And now you know why I wanted to paddle on the lakes again!

After the trip

This is how we transported the canoe.....and Mike!

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