29.07.2010 - 29.07.2010 29 °C
Rise time: 5.45am.
Why was I up so early this morning? I wanted to make a head start on getting a space in the most popular campsite in the Grand Tetons - Jenny Lake. I got to Jenny Lake about half an hour after I left the Gros Ventre campsite and I was still not the first one there. This morning at Jenny Lake was my first encounter with the reservation system in National Park campsites. There are no staff at the campsites at appropriate times (ie. when you are trying to get a spot). What you must do it drive around the narrow campsite lanes looking at the tags on each site. The tag indicates the date of departure, so you obviously want a tag marked with the date you are arriving. Now this process is frantic. There are only a limited number of people leaving each day so it is literally a race to find a site. But, no it doesn't stop there. You must then ask the site incumbents if they will be leaving (you see the current occupants have until 11am to decide whether or not if they will stay and they get priority). Asking anyone anything is pretty tough at 6am in the morning so the process must be approached delicately. Well I not only found a site being vacated today, but I also found someone up as early as me and they were leaving too. Tag placed, I had time to dry my tent on the car bonet. Or so I thought. I took a prudent check of my site and tag about forty-five minutes later - but my tag was gone and in its place was someone else's. Hmmm. Well I was sure this was a mistake that could be easily corrected with a little investigation. It turned out that the campsite 'host' had removed my tag assuming that I hadn't asked the site incumbent if she was leaving. I had. The tag now on the site was removed and mine replaced. Tough luck for the people who thought they had a site, I guess they didn't get a place at Jenny Lake in the end.
My first port of call was the visitor centre at Jenny Lake for advice on what to do on my two days here. Advice in hand I made off for my seven mile hike around Jenny Lake. Jenny Lake is a spectacular sight, sitting at the feet of the Tetons and reflecting them with great majesty in its waters. After very little time I was pretty exhausted (I put this down to my early wake up rather than my general level of fitness) and so I fought through the bushes and trees and found an isolated beach spot on the lake's edge. I ate/sat/lay/sunbathed here for about an hour just getting my sense of place. Before too long, well about when the waves were crashing up to where I way lying, I packed myself up and carried on. The rest of the hike really wasn't too challenging and before too long the seven miles brought me alongside the lakeside campground where I was staying.
Something about good housekeeping at the campsites. Everything has to be stored in large bear storage boxes; this is everything from toothpaste to that last bit of litter from dinner. Keep Britain Tidy has nothing in comparison to Be Bear Aware. There is nothing like the prospect of a bear storming your site to make you check and re-check for that last bit of litter.
Talking of bears - I phoned home today just to let everybody know I had made it safety up through Wyoming. We spoke for a while and I made the error of telling my Mum, not only about the presence of bears in this part of the world, but also the fact that I man had just been killed by one in the area. To hear my Mum question whether it had really been a sensible idea not to buy a rifle in Colorado made me consider censorship for her own sake in the future.