Log Entry 27 – Grand Tetons

Today I made my way to the ranger’s station to receive my backcountry permit to camp in the Tetons. I was going to hike up Cascade Canyon and take the north fork to loop around Lake Jenny. But the ranger told me that the pass was impassible unless you had crampons and an ice axe. I didn’t have those so I would just go down the south fork and hike back the same way. A safety briefing and bear canister later, I was ready to hit the trails.

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The start at Lake Jenny was very crowded with tourists. But the farther I got away from the start, the less people I saw. Some of the trails were closed and I ended up taking the wrong path. Getting to see Hidden Falls was worth it though. Once I got up the correct trail, I came to Inspiration Point. Lunch break time.

While eating I had a chipmunk try multiple times to run off with my apple. The Western Chipmunk is very bold. Once I was past Inspiration Point, the crowds left. I wonder if they knew that the best views were just a little past “The Scenic Lookout”.

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As I hiked along I did see a moose and calf in the brush 100 feet off. Another hiker came by and said there was a bear and cubs right by the trail a little ways down. But they must have taken off by the time I got there.

As I ascended the South Fork, I was looking for a campsite. The prepared level ground is a bit off the trail, so I had to hike a bit to find one that wasn’t occupied. I found my site towards the top of the canyon. Being up so high though meant that there was a good bit of snow and snow melt. I found some dry high ground with wind protection. A perfect spot.

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While I cooked my ramen, a curious marmot decided to visit. He got within three feet and then scampered off with a squeak. After dinner, I walked around and photographized a bit and then went to bed.

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I woke up at 5:00. The sun was not up yet so I made my way to Hurricane Pass to catch the sun rise. the further up the canyon I went, the more snow I had to deal with. The snow up here is a little wet and very dense, so your foot doesn’t sink down in it. To get good traction, you need crampons. I don’t have crampons so I need to be extra cautious.

I came to a stream crossing which looked like I could jump, but the snow on the other side did not look stable, so I went off trail a little.

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I had to completely leave the trail for good just below the pass. There was a large snow field that was steep and looked like it might have water running under it. So I scrambled and climbed up a rocky point. The view was amazing.

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While I was taking pictures, I heard a familiar squeak and looked over to see a marmot. This one was very curious as well. After a bit of taking it all in, I descend to camp. After breakfast and breaking camp, I continue my descent to Jenny Lake.

As I was coming around a bend, I almost ran into what I first took to be pack animals. I quickly realized that it was a baby moose and not a horse, with a mother close behind. It was fun to get such a close look at them.

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