Today's hike was much better, not quite as long and no sagebrush. In fact, it might be one of my favorite hike we've done!
There are canyons between each of the mountains, Cascade Canyon is the most popular and both Dad and I had hiked that before and we decided to see a different canyon and we figured Cascade Canyon would be crowded.
I think one of the reasons Cascade Canyon is popular is that it's easier to get to. We started back at String Lake and hiked toward Leigh Lake and up to the Paintbrush Canyon Trail. We hiked almost 2 miles before we were heading in the direction of Paintbrush Canyon, it was almost 3 miles before we really got into the canyon.
I'd decided before we left that 6 miles would be good. We were going to have to retrace our steps to get back so we could make the hike as long as we wanted. However, when we hit 3 miles we were just barely into the canyon and I didn't want to turn around yet. We ended up hiking 4.2 miles into the canyon. We came to a bridge over the river and stopped there for lunch. I wanted to keep going up, but I knew that the walk back would be hot and long and it would be worse if the hike were longer, we were already at 8 miles. This is what happens to me on long bike rides, I enjoy it until the last 5 miles and always wish I'd cut it short!
The mountains were less hazy from the smoke this morning, and by the hike back the haze had decreased and the views were much better! We could see Leigh Lake and Jackson Lake! Paintbrush Canyon seems more wild than Cascade Canyon. It also had more trees! Yay! Shade! But, more trees meant less view! There were definitely fewer people, most of the people we saw were backpacking - Paintbrush Canyon makes a loop hike if you go over Paintbrush Divide and down Cascade Canyon - it's 20 miles long! Last I heard Paintbrush Divide was still snowed in!
On the way back we hiked the other side of String Lake. This is where the hike got hot. It was after noon when the sun gets intense and the hike along the mountain side of String Lake was through a burn scar from a 1999 fire, so there were no trees. None. Just blazing sun. The views of the lake were nice because we were above it and we could see the whole lake. It was a long 1.6 miles. And, we had an extra half mile or so back to the car because that way was a bit longer than the way we'd gone. But the last part was flat and shady - we'd walked if before and it was the part I took Mom on.
So, our overall mileage for our "short" hike was close to 9 miles. Only 3 more miles than I'd intended to walk.
On the way back to Colter Bay we stopped at Signal Mountain Lodge for fuel (for the car) and calorie replacement (for us!). We found some awesome ice cream sandwiches made with homemade cookies and ice cream. I had a double chocolate chip cookie with peanut butter ice cream and Dad had a snickerdoodle cookie with salted caramel ice cream. They were prepackaged but I'd never heard of the brand. It's definitely a freak for days you hike or bike a lot!
For dinner we went up to Leeks Marina (funny name for a marina, you definitely don't want leaks in your boat!) for pizza! It was really good! While we were there some storms were blowing across the lake. We had a few rumbles of thunder and then as we were leaving it started to rain. Mom and Dad had gone to the bathroom and I was walking to the car. The car was locked so I had to stand there in the rain. It was a light shower, but it was enough to be cold. Then I turned around and there was a double rainbow right over the parking lot! Sometimes you gotta stand in the rain to see the rainbow!