String, Leigh, and Trapper Lakes

We have finally started getting warmer weather!  And when it rains these days, its more like a passing storm.  This is much better to deal with than the days and days of cold rain we were getting before! 

We took advantage of some of this better weather and enjoyed a longer day hike to visit a few local lakes.

IMG_3593We began at the south end of String Lake.  This is actually the river that extends from String Lake down to Jenny Lake at the base of the Tetons. 

It didn’t take us long at all before we saw a cute little face from an industrious little Yellow-bellied Marmot. 

IMG_3597After watching him/her for a bit, we moved on toward String Lake itself.  IMG_3599String Lake is barely 10 feet deep and just over a football field in width.  This makes it one of the few lakes in the Tetons that gets warmed enough by the sun that you could swim in for more than just a quick in and out.  These lakes are formed by glacier meltwater so for the most part they remain pretty cold. 

While making our way around String Lake, we came across a mama Black Bear with her two cubs!  Sorry for the confusing pics, but they were through the trees down by a creek.  Here is cub #1.IMG_3608 Here’s cub #1 with Mom close by.  I had a heck of a time getting a picture of Mom that was more than just her butt!!


And last, but definitely NOT least is cub #2.  IMG_3615 Watching the three of them was very exciting and fun!!

Then we got to the bridge that crosses over the outlet between String Lake and Leigh Lake further north.  It’s a pretty cool bridge!!IMG_3626 Within just a short time we arrived along the shores of beautiful Leigh Lake.   IMG_3643

Leigh Lake is named after “Beaver Dick” Leigh, a colorful mountain man who made his living trapping in canyons on the west side of the Tetons. 

IMG_3641 Leigh Lake offers some of the best views of Mount Moran in the park.  This massive peak towers over 3000 feet above the lakeshore.IMG_3639Falling Ice Glacier, which is a field of ice over 100 feet thick that hangs between the horns on Mount Moran, discharges glacial flour into the lake, giving it the green hue that it has.  IMG_3741Leigh Lake is two miles long and almost 250 feet deep! 

It  was a beautiful trail that traveled through a mainly lodgepole pine forest.  IMG_3651There were a series of backpacking sites right along the edges of the lake.  IMG_3664On the other side of the trail separated by the campsite by at least 100 feet or more sits a bear box.  For those of you unfamiliar with backpacking in bear territory.  Everything that you pack with that carries any kind of smell whatsoever, including even toiletry items like deodorant, toothpaste, and of course all of your food etc, has to be kept in one of these or a bear canister that you carry in yourself.  IMG_3666 Something that I hadn’t seen before that was also close by was a tall pole with hooks up top and a moveable hook to hoist up and hang your backpack itself.  IMG_3665 IMG_3667

They make it pretty convenient to keep your stuff out of bear’s reach.  They’re pretty serious about keeping their bears out of trouble here in the Tetons. 

Our hike continued north past Bearpaw Lake.IMG_3721And then we moved on to Trapper Lake.  By this time though, we had been hit by one of those passing rainstorms.  It was pouring those big ole’ drops by this time!  You can see them falling in the water in this picture.  IMG_3687Also here is a HUGE beaver dam.  We kept looking for beavers, but saw none.  The inlet coming into the lake was very pretty and sounded so soothing.  IMG_3688

We passed a couple and briefly spoke to them about Trapper Lake before we hiked up to it.  Thankfully, we didn’t listen to them because they were trying to tell us that it wasn’t worth the hike to see it.  We felt differently.  IMG_3709The rain finally started to lighten up.  We enjoyed watching a Robin feeding close by.  I’d never been close enough to one to see it’s beautiful markings on its face and chin.  So cute!!!!IMG_3715 IMG_3718

We started heading back since we didn’t know how long the rain would continue and it looked as if it was going to downpour on us again soon.  It did too.  But then within about 20 minutes or so, the sun came out and it was beautiful again!  It made for a fun time on the way back too. 

And some amazing lake views too!!IMG_3732 IMG_3735 IMG_3743 It was an incredible day!  It felt so great to be out and about on the trails!!


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