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Inspiration Point : Eleanor's Last Hurrah

One of the highlights of our honeymoon in 1970 was the climb to Inspiration Point, overlooking Jenny Lake at Grand Teton National Park.  I took photos back then.

We tried it again in 1995 while celebrating our 25th anniversary.  Eleanor made it to Hidden Falls, while I continued the rest of the way.  But time was running short.  The last boat across Jenny Lake was leaving soon.  I ran out of time before I reached my goal. 

So this summer I wanted to make it all the way, and take a photo of the spot Eleanor was standing on in 1970. Due to Eleanor's knee and leg problems she would wait for me at the boat dock.

The following lists the trail details:

"Inspiration Point, above Jenny Lake, Grand Teton National Park

Distance – 5.8 miles (use the shuttle boat and shorten the distance to 2.2 miles)
Average time of hike – 3 hours (use the shuttle boat and shorten the distance to 1.5 hours)
Difficulty - Moderate - Strenuous. Follow trail to Hidden Falls, then continue up to Inspiration Point overlooking Jenny Lake and Jackson Hole"

Against doctor's orders Eleanor had decided to try and hike the Inspiration Point Trail. She was supposed to stay at the boat dock while I hiked to Inspiration Point. Then she wanted to try and make it to Hidden Falls (1/2 mile of uneven rocky trail).   She made it to Hidden Falls in 1995.  If she could make it there again, I would hike the rest of the way. 

I didn't find out until later that she was determined to have her last hurrah. She wanted to make it all the way up to Inspiration Point (another 1/2 mile of even more rocky uneven trail). The only time we ever made it that far was on our honeymoon when we were in our twenties. 

It didn't look that bad on the map.  The hike should be around 2 miles round trip.  So we took the boat shuttle across Jenny Lake.

At the boat dock there was a set of wood stairs followed by some stone stairs and switchbacks.  This was just the beginning, and I had some serious doubts about Eleanor making it to Hidden Falls.  She insisted that she will go as far as she can, and then stop.

The trail got a little better, but soon got worse.  We took frequent breaks to rest and drink water.

  At one point as people were passing us on the trail, Eleanor spotted a Marmot on a boulder.  Nobody noticed it.  It just sat there and watched everyone go by before scooting across the trail.

We finally made it to Hidden Falls.  Eleanor struck up a conversation with two professional

photographers who were coming back down from Inspiration point.  One of them took our photo.

They warned us about going any further.  The trail gets steeper and more rocky.  Furthermore, there are sharp cliff drop-offs.  He showed us photos of the upper trail.  That cinched it.  Eleanor would have a harder time going back down.  It took us 2 full hours to get to Hidden Falls.  It was time to call it a day.  Since Eleanor needed me in front of her on the way down, I stowed all the cameras in my backpack to free up my hands.  At one point we stopped to rest.  A family behind us started pointing across the rapids.  Eleanor spotted a Black Bear, which proceeded to cross the rapids on a log, and then scramble across the trail.  Several people hollered "Bear!" to warn those further down the trail.  It all happened so fast I wasn't able to get my camera out.  People we passed further down said they saw a Grizzly bear at the edge of Jenny Lake.

The day began at the foot of the trail at 8:57am.  By 12:16pm we were back in the shuttle boat.  Eleanor had her last hurrah, a 3 hour round trip hike on crutches.

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