Day 12: Alvin, the Teton Chipmunk

After arriving in Grand Teton National Park around noon, we pitched our tent in a spot with a gorgeous mountain view and set out on a wonderful 5-mile hike. Well, wonderful in retrospect, now that my toes aren’t throbbing anymore and I’ve made it out without a major fall.

Starting out on the trail, everything looked great. There weren’t any signs of my usual hiking archnemeses: mosquitoes and poison ivy. I could walk with confidence. 

However, I soon found out that other unforeseen obstacles were awaiting me. My non-hiking shoes had to contend with jagged rocks, gooey mud, and slippery ice and snow patches. 

Don’t get me wrong – the view was breathtaking, when I could look up from the treacherous trail to enjoy it, anyway. We spotted numerous marmots along the trail, and some seemed very eager to pose for pictures, perhaps in exchange for a spare crumb or two.

When we finally reached Inspiration Point, a hilltop spot with an amazing view, we were greeted by a chipmunk host, who seemed very excited to see us. 

As soon as we sat down with our afternoon snacks, Alvin promptly scurried over, circling the perimeter at first. Before I took a single bite out of my Nutrigrain bar, he was already hopping back and forth on the branches behind me, getting uncomfortably close. 

Once I opened and peeled back the wrapper, all bets were off. He ran to my feet, sat up, and put his little paws on my leg. Now, if it’s illegal for humans to approach wildlife, the opposite should also apply. 

As soon as I shook the brazen little sucker off me, he leaped into Joe’s lap. We tried shooing him away, but he resisted at first. Then, once he realized we weren’t willing to share our goodies, he reluctantly retreated. 

Well, at least he was a chipmunk and not a bear.