over Memorial Day weekend, my friends reserved the most bad ass campsite in grand teton national park. elk island is smack dab in the middle of jackson lake, with a small campsite on the east side of the island. how do i know directions you ask? because i had to get real outdoorsy and put my map skills to the test to freaking find the place.
my friends left early, but due to a work commitment, i couldn’t get out there until the afternoon. without even really thinking about it, i rented a kayak, strapped it to the hood of my car, and drove up to the boat dock to venture out 2 miles at sea, solo. it honestly didn’t really hit me until i was about half way in the middle of the lake that i didn’t tooooootally know where i was going. luckily, i was smart enough to bring a map because, outdoors. and who would of thunk it, it really did come in handy. cell phone service is pretty hit or miss in the park so i’m glad my girl scout senses came out because i ended up finding the group after paddling for about an hour and half. (i’d also like to pat myself on the back for managing to fit a birthday cake in that kayak for my friend and only letting the sun melt half of it.) there was a small sliver of time when i asked myself a slew of really important questions that weren’t going to get answered like:
“how long does it take to paddle 2 miles?
what happens if you capsize?
where exactly IS this campsite?
should i have told a ranger i was doing this alone?
i wish i had a dry bag?
has anyone ever died doing this?”
i know, semi-dramatic, but also pretty stupid to jump in a kayak by myself when i couldn’t tell you the last time i kayaked, eek. lucky for me, my friends are super loud and i heard them off shore and found campsite 10!
cool, i survived. and met my friends and had the best night ever on elk island! and now here is a slew of really pretty pictures with directions on how to get there below. it’s easily one of the coolest campsites in Grand Teton National Park so reserve your spot if you can, and go with a crew.
if you plan on heading that way you should probably be smarter than me and do the following:
1. reserve the campsite ahead of time which you can do HERE
2. rent a kayak or canoe – thanks Dornan’s for hooking me up!
3. go with a group – always!
4. park at signal mountain by the boat ramp. you can park over night for one night.
5. bring a map – which by the way doesn’t mark all of the islands on jackson lake – another reason why you should stick to a group. grab a map when you enter the park.
6. paddling out takes about 1.5 hours, depending on the weather/wind/waves.
7. bring bear spray! we definitely saw fresh poo.
8. find friends with a power boat to skip 1 through 6.