In everyone’s image of a mountain range, there at the base, lies a stunning blue green spectacle of reflection, the lake. It looks inviting in summer’s heat, but once it’s reached is usually too cold to venture past the ankles or for a quick head splash. The Tetons thankfully meet that perfect imagery, carved by the ever powerful glaciers, who have thankfully left behind a handful of lakes that have not only breathtaking views, but great swimming too. Friends, meet String Lake.
String Lake is nestled ever so gently at the base of the most stately of the Teton Peaks. According to geologic lore, it was probably once a raging river connecting two much deeper lakes, Leigh Lake to the north, and Jenny Lake to the south. String Lake now is a lake/waterway that is on average about six feet deep, and about the most inviting mountain lake that ever was.
The locals and tourists that know about it flock here in droves on the weekends and on hot sunny days. Kids can be found here doing small solo adventures, looking for lilly pads, jumping off boulders, snorkeling, picnicking, looking for fish, playing in the sand, you name it!
The introduction of the SUP (stand up paddleboard) to the mountain man’s gear closet was a deal breaker for me. Had. To. Have. It. A boat is fun and relaxing, SUPing is like entering Narnia on a sleigh, but on the water. These huge stable boards allow you easily glide around on mountain lakes and explore worlds that are not possible with a motor boat. Of course, all of the kayakers out there have known this for years, but the SUP is just more fun. The connection to Hawaiian waters, and the full body work out is just one of the many reasons it trumps a sit down craft in my book.
For the more aggressive types, here’s a tip: launch your craft (with a friend) at String Lake and paddle north towards Mt Moran. Once you reach the end of the lake, portage the paddleboards to Leigh Lake (less than a mile flat walk, bring sandals). Once you get to Leigh Lake, revel in the stunning view at the very base of Mt Moran, and a piece of solitude. Beware on windier days, Leigh Lake is much deeper and colder and the waves can get a lot bigger than String Lake. But the adventure is noteworthy and totally worth spending a vacation day, or life day there. It just might be your new happy place.
We rented our boards at Teton Village Sports, and they were so stable and awesome. Car, provided by the one and only… Jeep.