Grand Teton National Park: Signal Mountain and Camping Adventures

Grand Teton National Park- Signal Mountain Hike

Psst: looking for part one of this trip

We left Jackson with all our camping maps, making our way up to Moran Junction, far northeast of the popular Jenny Lake area of Grand Teton National Park. Per the US National Forest rangers, we drove east away from the park. A curvy road free from cars and filled greeted us with stunning views of the Blackrock Creek valley. Just when we were certain we took a wrong turn, we saw a sign indicating the Turpin Meadow campground was a mile ahead of us.

Turpin Meadow campground in Bridger-Teton National Forest near Grand Teton National Park

Instant relief overtook us when we saw a few open spots at this 18-site campground. We claimed a spot with plenty of shade, a fire pit (a huge relief: any fires outside pits were banned due to severe drought in the region), a sturdy picnic table, and a large bear locker for food. All smiles and joy, we unpacked everything and set up our beloved 2-person tent. The campsite was quiet enough to feel secluded from the masses in the National Park but there were enough people near us that we didn’t feel alone in the wilderness. This was a particularly important balance to me, as the presence of grizzlies made me feel queasy every time I thought about those big furry bears stalking around the woods. I tried to shake off my lingering bear anxiety and focus on how happy I was to have a campsite with other campers nearby.

Paul, the full-time campsite host at Turpin Meadow along with his wife Judy, greeted us and gave us the lowdown. He was frank about the presence of a grizzly in the area but said the bear never bothered anyone. Sam and I nodded, and I pretended to be ok with this information. We thanked Paul for the info and took off for our first hike in Grand Teton National Park.

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Camping at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore: Adventures with Bears


“What to do when bears are outside tent.”

This is what Sam Googled as we lay side by side in our tent on Wednesday night, listening to the sounds of heavy, raspy breathing and thick-padded footprints moving along the outside of our thinly walled tent. It was raining, but even over the pitter-patter droplets hitting the tent and muddy ground, sounds of deep breathing and sluggish feet were unmistakable. This animal was not a raccoon.

I wasn’t yet asleep when I first heard our visitor. The rain started shortly after dinner, as we were walking back to our site from the restrooms. Brushing out teeth under the open trunk roof of our car, we quickly rinsed, spit, and ran into the tent. Snuggling into our new sleeping bags and talking in the dim light of our nifty solar-powered lantern/water bottle (an impulse REI purchase, as many purchase are from REI), we reflected on the day’s activities.

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