Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

Group shot taken after hiking down from Cascade Canyon with the Tetons in the background.

Destination: Grand Teton National Park

Distance: 26 miles, plus trek to Anderson Glacier

Dates of hiking: July 4rd – July 8th

Time on the Trail: 5 days, 4 nights

HikeCampHikers: Bettina, Kelly, Judy, Suzanne, Maria

Grand Teton’s National Park  (July 6 – July 13)

Saturday, July 6 – left early, got to Jackson Hole around 10, lunch at the delicious Persephone Bakery  in Jackson Hole, bought stove fuel and bear canisters, went to the Ranger Station in Moose to sort out our backpacking permits, and then drove about an 1 hour to airbnb in Driggs (Idaho) 

Sunday, July 7 – day hike to Tabletop Mountain (Alta – Idaho side of the Tetons)

Monday, July 8 – day hike to Wind Cave, Darby Canyon trail

Tuesday, July 9 – started backpacking trip from Jenny Lake TH, left at 10:15, very crowded with day hikers, crowds thinned when we entered Cascade Canyon Trail, hardly any people when we turned left at fork on South Fork Cascade Canyon, Took first campsite. Set up camp and did a later afternoon hike further along the South Fork Canyon Trail. Had dinner on rocks across trail. 

Wednesday, July 10 – woke up to some marmot shenanigans – they chewed on Judy’s boots in her vestibule. We left campsite around 10 am and headed back to fork and then on to the North Fork Trail. We left Maria/Suzanne at first decent campsite while Judy, Kelly and Bettina scouted for a better campsite, While relaxing, Maria and Suzanne had a close encounter with a curious bear very unexpectedly.  After things calmed down, we set up camp at a large site on flat ground. We set out for an afternoon hike to Solitude Lake – a must see destination – that felt like a winter wonderland. 

Thursday, July 11 – hiked back down via Cascade Canyon Trail and on to Jenny Lake Trailhead. The hike down seemed to take forever, perhaps because we were really hungry. Got to car at 2:00 pm and took advantage of amenities – snack bar, bathroom, repacking. Drove to Death Canyon Trailhead – back on trail at 5:15 to head to Phelps Lake Campsite. Beautiful lake, good campsite with view. There was a very poised bald eagle hanging out, a Common Merganser with 5 ducklings jostling for a ride on her back and lots of bugs buzzing around at dusk. Kelly was brave enough to jump of “Jumping Rock” into Phelps Lake. 

Friday, July 12 – hiked around Phelps Lake to Granite Canyon. After much back and forth and extensive scouting, we settled on first campsite in Canyon with amazing kitchen rock and view. Lightning and thunderstorm added some flavor to our adventure for about an hour during which we huddled under some thick brush and made up songs.   

Saturday, July 13 – left camp at 8:15, hiked back to car, We were able to shower and organize for our flight home at the Grand Teton Climbers Ranch American Alpine Club. We paid a nominal use fee for hot water, soap and nice facilities. Amazing lodging option inside the park. Lunch was amazing at Dornan’s Chuckwagon in Moose. From there we headed clean and full to the airport. Back in Austin around midnight. 

Overview:

Grand Teton National Park had been on our radar given the mystique and grandeur that is Wyoming. There was some trepidation about bear encounters but we decided to not let that be a reason to deter us from going. The weather was amazing. The scenery was spectacular. If/when we go back, we will plan the trip for later in the summer. Our original plan was to hike the Teton Crest Trail but there was a huge amount of snowpack even in mid July so our “loop” route turned into two out and backs to bypass the most treacherous pass. Getting the permit was challenging as we, along with thousands of other eager adventurers, had to wait for the government to reopen. Once that happened, it was a floodgate of requests for permits and the gov site crashed. We were able to get a permit, but not what we wanted. Fortunately we were able to improve our trip plan at the Ranger Station once we arrived to Jackson Hole. All in all it was a great trip.

Lake Solitude at 9035ft elevation and frozen.

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