We did this same paddle last year, but the view of the Grand Tetons was obstructed by smoke from wildfires. This year, the view was clear and magnificent.
Last August, we paddled Oxbow Lake and the Snake River. Unfortunately, the smoke from area wildfires really took away from the views. Not so today.
We took the truck down to Deadman's Bar, the takeout for today's trip. After dropping it off, we drove the Jeep to the back of the Oxbow Bend on the Cattleman's Bridge Road. Here's a map of our trip which covered about 13 miles.
We inflated the Sea Eagle SE370 on the banks of the Snake River.
We launched around 9:00 and paddled on the smooth water taking a detour off the main river out into Oxbow Lake. It was a beautiful day and the views of the mountains were awesome. This is why we came back to Grand Teton this year - to see these beautiful mountains without the haze from the wildfires that we had last year.
We paddled around the island looking for wildlife, but we saw mostly birds - White Pelicans, Trumpeter Swans, ....
Canada Geese, and various ducks.
But as we paddled back toward the river, we saw a Muskrat and a River Otter.
We love otters, especially when we get to watch a family playing and feeding together. Ah, but today we just saw the one otter which was on a mission and didn't stick around to play.
This was our second Bald Eagle sighting of the morning.
It was pretty much smooth, flat water until we got to the Snake River access point (Pacific Creek Landing) just inside the Moran Junction entrance.
After paddling the first hour or so, the rest of the way was just floating with a little steering thrown in. From Pacific Creek Landing to our takeout is ten miles, but we covered it quickly with the swift flow.
Okay, check out this photo from today.
And check out this photo from the same spot last year.
Told you it was smokey last August.
This is what we were hoping for when we returned to Grand Teton this year.
Farther downriver, we noticed a couple of Bald Eagles fighting some Ravens over some type of carcass.
We didn't see any bears or moose, but we did see quite a few Pronghorn.
Nearing our takeout, I took a couple more shots. As the river winds around, we got closer and closer to the mountain range. This is Grand Teton.
And this is the northern part of the range, with Mt. Moran on the right.
It was a bit of a chilly float, but the scenery was quite worth it even if we didn't see quite as much wildlife as last year.