After your arrival in Jackson Hole your group will get to meet each other and your guides at the outfitters based in the town of Jackson. Over refreshments, your guides will double-check your equipment list and provide dry bags for you to pack your gear. Then you will be fitted to your own single or tandem kayak, a personal flotation device, paddle and paddling jacket. There will be ample time to discuss the itinerary for the weekend and answer any questions about the trip.
We will meet at 7:30 and head north through Grand Teton National Park and into Yellowstone. Lewis Lake lies just 10 miles from the South Entrance – immediately on the Pacific side of the Continental Divide. Once there we will go over proper packing and loading of a touring kayak, basic paddling technique, and on water safety. The lesson continues after launching, as your guides will coach you on forward & turning strokes, edging, and use of your rudder. Then you are on your way – heading up the west (leeward) side of Lewis Lake and past areas that were heavily burned by the fires of ’88 and are now displaying the spectacular recovery that is taking place. Lunch is on the beach, nearby several small fumaroles or steam vents that offer a preview of the geyser basin ahead. At the north end of Lewis Lake, you will enter the Lewis Channel and waters open only to non-motorized craft. At first, the channel has little current as it winds its way up through a shallow canyon. There the paddling is easy and offers a great opportunity to look for eagles, osprey, moose, and other wildlife that frequent the area. As the gradient increases, the current becomes too strong to ascend, and lining the boats upstream is required. Depending on water levels it may be a ¼ to a ½ mile before we get back in our kayaks and the channel opens into the expanse of Shoshone Lake. From there it is still a short paddle to our campsite on the narrows where we will enjoy a backcountry feast and a presentation on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem – anyone ready for bed?
Enjoy a little relaxation this morning as your guides prepare breakfast and pack for the day. Our campsite on the Narrows of Shoshone Lake situates us for a comfortable paddle to our ultimate destination – Shoshone Geyser Basin. After camp is secured for the day we will head across the narrows and continue west past the bluffs of the north shore and on to the basin. There the water is of a color usually seen in the tropics and has incredible clarity. From the lake, a trail leads through a myriad of hot pools, steam vents, cauldrons, and geysers – including the Minute Man – any guesses on how often it erupts? Take the extra time to thoroughly experience this amazing place. Lunch on the lake will make leaving the geysers a little easier and the afternoon’s paddle will bring us along the west shore of the lake with more opportunities for wildlife viewing before returning to our camp for a little R & R, a well-earned dinner and another presentation about current events in the Greater Yellowstone.
Following breakfast, we will all work together to break camp and repack our boats. After paddling back to the channel entrance, we will cover a few of the basics of river navigation before gliding into the current. Going downhill sure is easy. Soon the flow again slackens and we are once again in the calm waters of the lower channel. Here there are several great lunch spots where we will fuel up for our final leg - the paddle back across Lewis Lake to the boat ramp and the South Entrance Road. The drive back will allow a leisurely pace for viewing the many vistas and jaw-dropping summits of Grand Teton National, before returning to the town of Jackson and civilization.
Jackson Hole Kayak School is a permittee of the Bridger-Teton National Forest and an equal opportunity provider