Saturday, August 16, 2014

Kayaking the Snake River at Grand Teton National Park

Yesterday we scouted for a spot on the Snake River to put in our kayaks.  We stumbled on Cattlemans' Bridge, a place where ranchers took their cattle from one side of the Snake to the other until the bridge was torn down in 2001.  It's now known as a great place to fish and put in small boats. We also saw someone snorkeling.

Lucky for us, a guide putting in a canoe happened to be there.  He told us that if we kept to the left, we'd find plenty of channels to explore.

Wow, did we ever.  

This ranks up there as one of our most scenic floats.  Besides the beautiful Tetons (especially Mt. Moran), we saw ducks, pelicans, herons, big fish, tiny fish, osprey, other birds galore, and three otters. It's supposed to be a great place to see moose and bear as well, but they were elsewhere today. 
This is Cattleman's Bridge where we put in our kayaks.  In the foreground is the canoe that belongs to the guide we met. (He was from England.  Go figure.)  The guide said his canoe was kevlar only weighs 30 pounds -- that's 20 pounds lighter than our kayaks.  
A typical view on today's float.  To the left in the background is Mt. Moran; its big spot of snow is called Skillet Glacier.  The Snake River is 1078 miles long and the longest tributary to the Columbia River.  
If you click on this photo to enlarge, you'll see an river otter that swam right between my kayak and Jim's. One of the other otters we saw was swimming on his back.  Seriously.
Here's an osprey Jim spotted.  They eat pretty much just fish and their wing span can get to 70 inches.  They are big guys and gals. 
The area we kayaked on the Snake is called Oxbow Bend; it's full of winding channels cut off from the main river -- so you don't have to deal with a strong current.  However, there are lots of offshoots and you have to pay attention.  Lucky for Bev, Jim has a good sense of direction. Here he's telling Bev we need to take a left.  That's a pelican in the water to Jim's right. And that's Mt. Moran straight ahead.
We finally got our ducks in a row and figured how to get back. We started our float at about 10 a.m., got back at 2:30, and saw only one other human group on the water until we got back to Cattleman's Bridge.


  1. I always wanted to know what an osprey looked like. To me, he zoom on your new camera was worth whatever you paid for it. Of course my cost on that was pretty minimal. Your images of the Grand Tetons are fearsomely majestic, but honestly, not that sexy.

    1. I guess those French explorers/trappers were pretty darn lonely. We didn't see it either.