The seeds for the trip were planted when I was a teenager and my family made our first visit to Grand Teton National Park. I remember riding the boat across Jenny Lake with a group of college-age backpackers and thinking I want to be them some day.
After graduating college, I drove across the country and spent several days in Jackson in late May 1989. I was 22 years old, short on experience, but long on exuberance. Or perhaps what Allen Greenspan would call irrational exuberance. I walked into Teton Mountaineering when I arrived for some beta and someone sold me an ice axe, told me to learn how to use it, and said good luck. Said ice axe is in the photo below, taken in the North Fork of Cascade Canyon, May 1989.
The next year, I returned to the Tetons with Dave Schultz, a good friend from graduate school who is now a professor at the University of Manchester in England. We did a number of day hikes, including one to Paintbrush Divide.
It was during these trips that I began to dream of hiking the Teton Crest Trail. Finally, last week it happened, and it exceeded expectations. What an incredible variety packed into 4 days and 40 miles. A few photos are below.
|Just another Teton meadow.|
|Our sole moose sighting.|
|Heading northbound near Fox Creek Pass with distant views of the Grand and surrounding high peaks.|
|Smoke tinged sunset from our first night's campsite.|
|Wildflower carpet above Sunset Lake.|
|Point-and-shoot photos don't do it justice.|
|After meandering for two days through meadows and enjoying wildflowers, things get real when you hit Hurricane Pass, gape at the Tetons, and descend into the upper South Fork of Cascade Canyon. From here, you are in the big mountains.|
|Well deserved rest the next day while ascending the North Fork of Cascade Canyon.|
|Lake Solitude in the North Fork of Cascade Canyon.|
|Paintbrush Divide, 28 years since my last visit. Maybe we'll return for the 30th.|
|Fortunately, we did hit a bit of snow that required crossing as it would have been a shame to be in the Tetons without a little snow travel.|