Hiking to Lake Solitude

Trip Start Aug 30, 2008
Trip End Sep 13, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Wyoming
Friday, September 12, 2008

9/12/08 Today we hiked the Cascade Canyon and on up to Lake Solitude. We had originally planned to backpack this route but because of problems with my feet we decided to wait a few days. The weather was fantastic. There were no clouds and the temperature was in the upper 50's. We travelled the same trail we used several days ago by taking the boat across Jenny Lake as this cuts off 2 miles each way. We flew past the Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point where we previously took pictures. We wanted to get to Lake Solitude as soon as possible. Since the weather was better today (no clouds) we took more pictures of the beautiful Cascade Canyon. From the boat dock to the Forks of the Canyon was 4.5 miles then we took the North Fork Trail another 2.7 miles (steep!) up to Lake Solitude. As we hiked up the canyon, views of the Teton Range were quite impressive. We arrived at the Forks of the Canyon to find many people resting and eating lunch. We were afraid they were going to Lake Solitude so we hustled to get there first, but a majority of these people just returned to the boat dock. From the Forks we had another 1200 feet in 2.7 miles to go. We kept our heads down focused on the trail. After about a mile of hiking we looked behind us and the views of the Tetons were absolutely breathtaking. We stopped several times to take pictures. We passed the North Fork Camping area and wished we had backpacked this trail and camped in this area. It was truly beautiful. We decided that we WILL come back and backpack this trail. The crowds thinned out once we passed the forks. We came upon a sign that said Lake Solitude 0.5 miles, walked another 50 yards and a second sign said Lake Solitude 200 yards...go figure. We were happy to see the second sign! We walked around the bend and there it was! I have tried so many times to reach Lake Solitude but for one reason or another have been unable to make the hike usually due to snow pack. But this time I made it with the help of my significant other. Lake Solitude is one of the many high country glacier lakes in the Grand Tetons. It sits at 9032 feet (we were sucking air at that altitude!). We sat on a rocky outcrop and had some lunch. The lake sits in a cirque with the Grand Teton (13,779 feet), Mt. Owen and the Teewinot Mountain looming above. The water in the lake was crystal clear. We could have stayed there all day enjoying the views. Another trail leads up from Lake Solitude to the Paintbrush Divide. It was an impressive trail climbing straight up the mountains behind the lake, someday maybe Kevin and I will do that trail as well. We talked to some guys who were fishing Lake Solitude and they said that the cutthroat trout were wearing them out. They were catching a trout on every cast. They told us that yesterday they caught 70 Cutthroat. We were very sorry we did not bring our fishing gear! If we had, we would still be fishing. We might never leave Lake Solitude except when they get that 22 foot snow pack. We started our trek down to the boat dock. We wanted to make sure we did not miss the last boat at 6 pm. We hiked as fast as we could down but my feet were aching. It was a mere 7.2 miles back which we hiked in 3 hours. We made it to the boat dock at 5:35 pm. Our round trip hike was 14.4 miles in 7 hours, this included frequent picture taking pit stops. We had a long 5 hour drive ahead of us to Salt Lake City. Four hours of the drive was on a pitch black, two lane road. We hated for our vacation to be over and wished we could live in this beautiful part of our country. Everyone should see Yellowstone and the Tetons at LEAST once in their life. Get off the beaten path and explore the treasures these two national parks have to offer. This will not be our last trip to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons.
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