Day 58: VIP Passenger and Grand Tetons Hiking

Today is the day! I’m picking up a VIP passenger, who also happens to be my mom! She’s flying in and riding with me for the rest of the trip back to Denver. She lands at 12:45, so I have a leisurely morning. After breakfast and feeding Pepper we head out to take some photos of the Tetons. It looks a lot less smokey today and I’m hoping to snap a couple of good photos. We drive up the main road (highway 191) and find the Glacier Overlook pullout on the road. There’s plenty of parking and I decide to set up camp for a bit and wait for mom to show up.

While waiting I climb up on the roof of the bus to take photos like I do a lot and realize one of the solar panels has broken 3 of the 4 metal mounts that came with it. Boy, glad I noticed that! I do a quick repair job (I’ll do a permanent repair when I get home in a few days) and snap some photos while on the roof. The smoke has cleared significantly and I snap some great photos.

Not long after I get a text from mom that she’s landed so I pack up and head to the airport! The Jackson Hole Airport is pretty small and she’s waiting for me on the curb. It’s really fun pulling into an airport and picking up a “passenger”. It’s great to see mom and we head to Jackson town for lunch. Parking the bus in Jackson isn’t too bad. There is a bunch of street parking on the north side of town right on the main street into town. We hop off and walk into town. It’s not long before we find a restaurant and sit down for lunch. It’s great catching up and it’s fun sharing all the stories and photos from the trip. After lunch we walk around a bit and pick up some souvenirs and send my nieces postcards. Mid afternoon we’re ready for a hike and head to Taggart Lake. I’m especially excited for this as I was here in 1989 with the Out West Trip that inspired the name of my bus. I have vivid memories of us swimming in Taggart Lake and I think I even have a photo of us swimming. We waiting until later in the afternoon so the crowds would die down a bit. And glad we did. When we pull into the parking lot it is nearly half empty and we easily find parking for the bus. We grab water and head out. The hike to Taggart lake is an easy 1.5 miles to the lake and then we continue walking along the shore and up and over a ridge to Bradley Lake (another 1.5 miles) and then loops back to the Taggart Lake trail just below Taggart Lake. The entire hike is 5.5 miles. The scenery is amazing. From forests, to views of the rugged Tetons, to crystal clear lakes, there is a little bit of everything on this hike. And not to be left out, the wildlife made an appearance at the end of the trail. Mom and I were coming down the trail and getting close to the parking lot and we saw a group of people on the side of the trail. They all wave at us and mom and I joke that they are probably taking a photo of a squirrel. Well, it turns out that it was a young Grizzly. It was really exciting, but anytime you see a young bear you have to look around to see if mom is still around. The most dangerous bear is a mom with a cub. We didn’t see mom and just stopped to watch for a bit and give the bear his space to do what he wanted to do. He eventually walked across the trail and down into the river valley. After he walked off we proceeded cautiously down the trail.

After that hike we headed back to the bus, loaded up and went to the campground. We made dinner in the bus and then read for a bit before getting ready for bed.