5 Bear Sprays: one for each hand and an extra for the fanny pack
Grand Teton National Park, WY >>> Middle of Nowhere Wyoming
Drive Time: ?
We started the day by first examining the tent damage from the hail storm that passed by the night before. For almost three consecutive hours earlier in the night a large hail storm had wrecked havoc on our sturdy tent alongside the REM cycles of Michael and I. Upon inspection the only damage that could be detected was that two stakes holding the tent down had flown away and into the forest, never to be found again. As we finished packing up the car to get on the road back to Grand Teton a park ranger came to our campsite and asked to see our camping pass. Michael and I unaware that a camping pass was needed to camp in this particular spot and we convinced the ranger that we had just arrived and were unpacking rather than getting ready to leave. He reassured as that as long as we had not spent the night (which we did) that he could not charge us with the mandatory $250 fine. I would also like to note that the pit toilets at the campground were among the finest in Wyoming offering a large selection of odors and sights for campers to enjoy.
Upon arrival to Grand Teton National Park Michael and I stopped at a visitor center for guidance on where to start our day. When asking where Michael should run in the park, the rangers proceeded to ask us “How many bear sprays do you have?” as if any normal visitor would possess more than one bear spray because you can never be too cautious. As we answered we had not one but five bear sprays in our trunk, one for each of our hands and one in the fanny pack, they still instructed us that it would be unsafe to run the park as mountain lions love to pounce on unsuspecting runners with long hair.
When arriving at the trailhead parking for Phelps lake, the ranger in charge of guarding the parking lot approached us to instruct us where to park. As we rolled down our window and he caught a glimpse of Michael’s hoodie I was wearing that says “WF” on it, he asked “Do you guys go to Wake Forest?” Come to find out this ranger’s son had just graduated from Wake Forest, and this connection we shared led to a great bond between the ranger and us. He gave us tips for what to look for on our trip as well as what to do to not get eaten by a bear, which we narrowly avoided.
About two miles into the hike I began to feel unsafe about the conditions of the trail, as I could smell a bear was near. I began clapping loudly and singing my favorite Hannah Montana songs in an attempt to scare any wildlife with large claws away. Of course, the 30 second period I stopped singing Michael stops and yells “IT’S A BEAR!”. As he yells this the bear, who had 3 cubs around her, looked right into my soul. Michael began reaching for the mixed nuts that he had in the bag in an attempt to do I don’t know what, as I managed to push him to walk faster on the trail. We walked approximately another 100 meters with the bear slowly following behind us until the smell of us not showering for a while must’ve scared it away. We continued on our walk encountering no more dangerous wildlife on our roundtrip seven-mile hike around the lake, just some friendly squirrels and “things eating other things on top of a rock”.
When we got back to the car we started on our journey towards the east, but about three hours into the trip we discovered we had no food, therefore our three-course meal dinner consisted of canned tuna on crackers, a raw head of lettuce, then some Oreos. As I was driving Michael said “turn left in .7 miles” which when you are going 85 mph goes by just as fast as the biscuits they put on your table at cracker barrel. Therefore, we were forced to turn around only to find out the dirt road we were supposed to turn on had a sign labeled “turn around, GPS wrong”. As we got closer to the campground that I had picked out we discovered that it would be almost impossible to set up a tent there due to the sprinkling system that is activated during the night, alongside the presence of green trolls that lived under the nearby bridge. As a result, we were forced to keep driving till past midnight until we finally found an adequate camping site about 20 minutes outside of Mount Rushmore, but we were both so tired upon arrival we decided to sleep in the car for the 5th night on the trip so far.