DISCLAIMER….This post documents our vacation from September, 2019. We continue to write while being at home because of social distancing due to the coronavirus. This post takes us into Grand Teton National Park on Day 2 of the park (Day 7 of our vacation) where we took our second paddle, this time on String Lake. I encourage you and yours to visit all the beautiful places that the USA has to offer once our great nation overcomes this terrible obstacle in front of us. If you missed any of the Living in the Moment posts from this series, the links are listed at the bottom of this blog. Stay safe and God bless, we will get through this!
Another glorious day at Grand Tetons National Park preparing to take an awesome paddle on String Lake in our inflatable Sea Eagle kayak. This was our second paddle of the trip, the first being on the Yellowstone River a few days prior. Check out that post here.
String Lake is a beautiful little stretch of water located between Jenny Lake and Leigh Lake. The smallest of the three, this little beauty is more protected from the wind than the other two, has a great picnic area and is a much less crowded alternative to Jenny Lake. We highly recommend a stop here!
As soon as we arrived at String Lake, we unpacked the kayak from its suitcase and laid out the rest of the gear, the seats, paddles, dry bags and cooler. We made a time lapse video to show how quickly it is for us to inflate the kayak in only 3 minutes. You just need a strong leg motion to make it happen. Frank is the strong leg!
I can’t tell you how many times people have been amazed and dumbfounded by the fact that we brought our inflatable whitewater kayak on the plane from Florida for this vacation. Normal comments have been “I can’t believe it fit in the suitcase”. Actually it was two suitcases, one for the boat and a second one for the gear. In all fairness, the second suitcase did have a lot of our kitchen gear in it as well. The comment we’ve heard most often is something like “what a hassle, that’s too much trouble. I would never do that”.
Well, we would never have been able to take a thirteen plus mile, six hour paddle on the historic and beautiful Yellowstone River. Plus, since there are no kayak rentals at String Lake, we wouldn’t have been able to spend the day paddling and floating this amazing little jewel in the middle of Grand Teton.
The amount of freedom and enjoyment we experienced bringing our little boat with us can’t be measured in words. On a dream vacation filled with amazing adventures and incredible sights, our two paddles sit right there at the top of our list of “can’t believe we did and saw that”. And, all we had to do was bring two extra suitcases.
Before leaving Jacksonville some months earlier, Frank had decided he was going to swim in one of the lakes. He had been giddy over the thought of it and was surely going to make a splash when he did. He did make a splash alright, but what he really did was, freeze his butt off. I still laugh thinking about it. Armed with his long johns (thermal underwear), his wetsuit and booties, Frank prepared for his ice cold swim. I’ve read that the water here at String Lake is relatively warm in the summer months, but it was September and the outside temperature was in the 50’s and 60’s during the day. The water temperature was in the 40’s, not quite as frigid as the water on Deadliest Catch, but pretty darn cold
As we paddled, we followed a small flock of six Common Mergansers fishing together as a family. Watching them work together was amazing. We got some really nice pictures and the birds all got a nice meal! Many photos didn’t come out because the wind had picked up and to try to steady a shot with the boat moving up and down and side to side was quite difficult.
On this day in the middle of September, you could see to the bottom of this crystal clear lake. Paddling String Lake was a relaxing paddle, very different than paddling the Yellowstone River. That had been a workout. Here, the waters were somewhat calm with a light breeze and of course, no white water. We had moments we were able to float, kick back and relax. Other times we would paddle with or against the wind to position us exactly were we wanted to be on the lake. We experienced freedom of movement in an environment with no trails, no roads, no map and no set destination. Capturing sights and sounds we would never have experienced if we had stayed on the land wishing we had a boat to go on the lake. We made that wish come true!
There is nothing better than being in a kayak or other non-motorized boat experiencing the up close and personal environment of a place steeped in history and wonder like String Lake. Of course, the visual part of the experience is amazing but the sounds and feelings you assimilate are just as powerful. To hear only the sounds of nature and feel the movement of the water under you, makes you part of our natural world. It cleanses the soul and fills your spirit with a renewed sense of purpose. A purpose larger than anything you could possibly do at work or home while doing your daily tasks.
Please come join us on the next post as we make a pitstop to Jenny Lake to watch the sunset on this final day in Grand Teton National Park!
Living in the Moment is what we do while enjoying our time in nature. If you missed any of the other Living in the Moment Series, you can click on them here. Just After Take Off, Day 1, Day 2 Mammoth Hot Spring, Day 2 Traffic Jam, Day 2 Undine Falls and Lava Creek, Lamar Valley – Slough Creek, Day 2 Trout Lake, Lunch at Otter Creek, Mount Washburn, Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Paddling the Yellowstone River, The Tiny House, Old Yellowstone Trail, Gibbon Falls – Drive to Old Faithful, Old Faithful, The Lakes, Jackson Hole, String Lake, Colter Bay. Please look forward to our next post as the adventure continues.