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783 Summer Stories

Trailhead sign

At the end of our summer trip ('12) we were in the Tetons. As a day hike, we decided to travel the Paintbrush Divide Loop. Starting from String Lake Picnic Area we were going around Jenny Lake to Cascade Canyon, then up the canyon to the forks and finally to Lake Solitude. After lunch at the lake weather permitting, we would cross Paintbrush Divide and descend Paintbrush Canyon to return to String Lake. It was going to be a big day hike, but we were ready for the challenge.

Bridge crossing String Lake outlet

Leaving String Lake before 6, we set a good pace along the outlet stream to Jenny Lake.

Hidden Falls

Contouring around the western shore of the Lake we made a short side trip to Hidden Falls. The boat shuttles had not started running and we were alone.

climbing to Inspiration Point

We climbed the steep trail to Inspiration Point ...

Inspiration Point over Jenny Lake

to a breath taking view of Jenny Lake.

Views of the Cathedral Group from Cascade Canyon

The trail eases to a gentle rise as we passed through Cascade Canyon. Most hikers seem to stop at Inspiration Point. Ah, but the views are outstanding through all of Cascade Canyon.

a look west in Cascade Canyon

We past a beaver pond with views to the west. We were all alone heading toward Lake Solititude.

fork of the cnayons

At the fork of the canyons, we took the north fork toward Lake Solitdue.

traveling up the North Fork Canyon

The skies were darkening and it began to rain as we started up the North Fork.

Lake Solitude

Shortly after arriving at the lake it began to rain in earnest. The weather was begin a bit fickle. Looking to the west the skies were blue, but to the north they were threatening. Regardless we would stop, take a break and discuss our options.

In drizzling rain, we found a small grove of trees next to the trail that gave a bit of shelter. We put on some extra clothes and pulled out the map and food. We were alone at Lake Solitude, well at least for a few seconds. Then, a lone hiker joined us. Now there were many other places near the lake where the hiker could have stopped, we did not take the best rest stop - ours was away from the lake but close to the trail leading to the divide.

We soon found out that the hiker was a recent college graduate who was taking one last trip before starting his career. He was traveling alone and making a swing through the western states. He seemed proud to have made the walk to the lake alone.

After a longer than expected break entertaining the hiker, we decided to continue on our loop and cross the divide. The lone hiker, though inivited, decided not to go with us.

Looking south down the North Fork

As we climbed away from the lake we could see our trail down the canyon and Grand Teton in the background

looking dow at Lake Solitude

One last look at Lake Solitude from the trail and then we focused our attention to crossing the Paintbrush Divide.

We enjoy meeting hikers along the trails and this recent grad was a nice guy, but it was ironic that we hiked alone for 8.5 miles (or so) and then the minute we arrived at Lake Solitude, a hiker suddenly appeared and joined us! Ha!

The hike is a wonderful retreat into the backcountry of the park. From our trailhead it was a 17 mile round trip to the lake and back, but the trail was rather moderate by Teton standards. The trip over the divide was much more difficult, but has some great views.

Happy solitude less trails


Trip report from the Paintbrush Loop (oops sorry some of the pictures are the same)


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