Monday, August 4, 2008

Teton Hike

I just got back yesterday from a 2-day hike in the Tetons. Words can't even describe how wonderful and awesome those mountains are when you're that up close. I've dreamt of climbing them since the first time I saw them. Thanks to my brother, Shane, for doing the research and finding where the trails were, how far they go, how high you have to climb, etc.
Early Friday morning my brother Kody, my dad, and I drove up to Jackson where Shane lives, we stopped at a couple of stores, had lunch, then headed up to the trailhead (at 6,732 feet) at about 4:15PM. We wanted to make the hike a 2-day, so we carried our tent, sleeping bags, food, etc. It took us about 3 hours to get to "the meadows", a camping meadow at about 9,300 feet. On the way there, hikers coming down were telling us they saw a black bear along the ridge, so we were keeping our eyes peeled. A while later, I looked up the trail, and beyond my brother Kody (who was in front of me), I saw a big brown bear slowly starting to cross the trail from left to right. I froze in my footsteps and said in a kind of panicky voice, "Kody, Kody!!" he looked up, saw the bear, and immediately turned around to pick up some rocks. The second he turned around, the bear looked right at us, then continued on it's way down the other side. So we made a bunch of noise to keep it aware of our presence. We continued on the trail towards it, and looked over to where it might have gone. We couldn't see it at first, but after a few seconds, spotted it behind a bush only about 20 feet away from us. It was just eating everything and minding it's own business. We got a couple of pictures, then went on our way. It was exciting. I don't know if it was a Grizzly (if it was it must have been very young) or a black bear. But my brother told me Brown bears don't live in that country, and black bears aren't necessarily always 'black' in color.

The 3 of us arrived at the meadows, which is right at the base of the middle Teton. We set up camp, ate dinner, viewed the scenery, visited with some of the other hikers, then went to sleep to the sound of the rivers of melting snow all around us. I awoke about 5:00 am and looked up the mountains to see dozens of little lights slowly moving up the trail towards the Grand Teton. I was so jealous. Our goal this weekend was to climb the South Teton which can be done without climbing gear when conditions are good. But we met a guide that morning who informed us that there's still as much snow up there as there normally is in June, and one slip could be fatal. We asked about the middle Teton, and he said the snow is even worse on that one. And we already knew the Grand was out of reach since you have to have ropes, and all the necessary climbing gear to summit. Not to mention a guide who has done it before. So my dream to summit one of the mountains was shattered (for now).
We waited for the rest of our group, who didn't want to pack for an overnight, and started on the trailhead early the next morning: Shane, Jade (my uncle), Brianne (my sister) & Kyle (her husband, and Kevin's brother). They arrived at our camp around 8:30 AM. From there we were able to get to the lower saddle, which is right between the Grand and Middle Tetons, and see over the other side into Idaho. The elevation there is 11,600 feet. It was SO windy and cold. But the views were incredible. I can only imagine how much better the views are from the 'very' top! I'm starting to save my pennies to hike the Grand.


Frank Cole said...

Yeah,the young men's High Adventure Hike was like half as long as yours. We're pretty much wusses, but we did seen some moosen.

Jessica and Scott said...

Wow! That looks like an awesome hike! I've only been on a few short hikes on the Wyoming side.