While visiting Grand Teton National Park earlier this year we hoped to incorporate a bit of hiking. We were told most of the trails were still closed for the season due to the snow that refused to melt in the warm spring sunlight. A few of the lake trails had sections where the snow had melted but hiking the entire perimeter of any of them was out of the question. In the end we decided to ignore the snow and attempt the hike towards Taggart Lake.
While the beginning of the trail had pretty much melted into a slush of mud, the higher we climbed the more the snow had remained intact, staking its claim and refusing to melt. By the time we were at the peak of the trail we were knee deep in snow. With the sun shimmering in the snow’s reflection we were led along a winding trail through a forest of pine trees embedded in the cosy white blanket.
A ranger at the visitor’s centre we stopped at enroute advised us a bear and her cubs had been seen in the area earlier that morning. Understandably wary considering we were not willing (perhaps foolishly) to fork out the $100 for bear spray, we called out the standard ‘hey bear’ at regular intervals. About halfway into the hike the sound of children on the trail ahead allowed us to relax a bit. If there were any mama bears out there surely she would snack on the kids first…. ok, I’m joking, but the fact they were making so much noise meant any kind of animal would be scared off pretty quickly.
When we caught up to the noisy children it turned out to be a whole group of school kids on a day-trip to the lake. They were all navigating the deep snow with ease because someone had provided them with snowshoes for the hike. Needless to say our inexperienced snow-hiking was evident due to the hungry-for-legs snow that threatened to engulf our snowshoeless limbs with each step we took. Snowshoes would have been a good idea…
The closer we got to the lake the deeper the snow became and each step had essentially become wading through the snow as if it was a thick mass of water…. 🙂 This meant those with snowshoes – aka the school kids and their well prepared leaders – easily gained the lead and beat us to the lake’s shores. When the lake was finally in sight we saw that the entire body of water was still frozen over from the winter. We eavesdropped on the end of a science lesson (;)) and waited for the group to leave so we could take in the grandeur of the scene before us.
A stack of four mountains provided a backdrop for the frosted pale blue lake in the foreground. The blue ice was crisscrossed by long white snowy lines that we learned were made from animals crossing the lake during winter. The landscape was beautiful and I worried that my camera, which at this point was not full-frame, would not allow me to capture the entire scene and its beauty would be lost. I decided to attempt some shots that could later be stitched into a panorama so that I could somehow do the landscape justice.
So, this image is my panoramic landscape of Taggart Lake in Grand Teton National Park from that day. I took a series of 5 photos which I have stitched together in Photoshop to make this panorama. You may notice that the ground in the image isn’t exactly covered in knee-deep snow…. For some reason only the hiking trail, which was behind me, remained engulfed in snow – we were just lucky I guess… 🙂