Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Emma Matilda Lake Hike - Jackson Hole Wyoming


The day after running the Jackson Hole Marathon we decided to do some hiking.  Normally I am pretty sore after a marathon and thankfully my traveling companions: my boss and his wife, took it easy on me.  Instead of hiking around the hilly Tetons, they selected an out of the way route that was largely flat.  My legs were still tired, but at least my quads were getting a break.

Since they know the area and they are absolutely driven to see a live bear they chose to go to the Emma - Matilda Lake hike.  This appears to be a lightly used trail that circles the Emma-Matilda Lake about 30 minutes north of Jackson Hole:

The Hike

We opted to head down the trail and fork to the south.  This part of the trail was totally desolate and the silence was ominous.  Usually you are supposed to make noises and make yourself known so as to arouse any bears.  The point is, they don't like to be startled and more than likely they'll take off before they see you.  We were armed with bear spray and I reluctantly sort of went along with this plan. 

Around a mile into it, we started see bear scat and other fresh tracks.  Even at one point we could literally smell a moose.  I thought I was a pretty experienced hiker, but my boss was quickly spotting tracks, smells, and animal droppings that I would've been oblivious too.  

Unfortunately we didn't hit pay dirt in sighting an animal.

About 40% of the way through we made it to Lookout Rock which offered an incredible view of the lake and the distant Tetons.  

Just as we were approaching the end of the trail I looked between two bushes and about a 100 yards away I spotted a black bear!  It was incredible and you could tell he was shy.  As soon as I made a noise though, he moved back into the bushes.  It was sort of scary seeing a bear and we were happy he was alone.  I was constantly looking over my shoulder in case there were more of them.

We spent a good 10 minutes watching him before making our way back to the parking lot.  At that point, I also spotted a massive elk in the bushes.

So all in all this was a decent hike and we managed to see some animals too!

Enjoy the photos:

View of the Tetons in the distance

View from Lookout Rock

Bear Sighting!

Elk Siting!

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