Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tenting the Tetons

After Yellowstone we head south to catch an overnight in Garnet Canyon in the shadow of the Grand Teton. Garnet is the last of the canyon before you enter the Meadows of the Grand.

We load all our overnight gear into two packs and hike out. It's 3-1/2 hours up and I think it's 2600 feet but I could be wrong about that. A massive fire south of Jackson is responsible for all the smoke.
The trail sees heavy traffic because it's the main trail to climbing the Grand. I first hiked this in 2003 for my summit via a direct start of the Exum Ridge that took 12 hours of technical climbing. This time I was just hoping to make the Saddle at 11,600.
3 Grizzlies are reported,  by passing hikers, feeding above us and moving up slope. We are all eyes for the next few hours. Black bear don't bother me but Grizzlies understand that we are mostly made of meat.

Above:  Jenny Lake
Below: It's just getting good. The Meadow is below the black line. That is not the Grand. It's the Middle I think.

 Hiking along looking for bears and we find a hose and a sign warning us about fire and falling rocks. It was out by the time we got there but the fire fighters remained.

 These two put the fire out with 420 pounds of gear (it was tagged for the lift out) including a 2 inch pump and a lot of hose and tools. We never talked to them but it must have been embers from the fires a few miles south.

 Chip and Dale
 We set up our new backpacking tent and fill it wall to wall with the down bags. It's really nice at 4 pounds, supplanting my 10 pound 4 season as the home away from home. The 4 season is still my trusted heavy weather tent.
 Above: This is the bottom of the Meadows. It's roomy and it was our intended camp site but we took a site below the Talus (large boulders) to avoid climbing in packs. The trees and view were better as well. We run short on daylight and energy for our Saddle goal. We forgot to grab the headlamp before leaving camp so it's foolish to continue in the mountains without light. We turn around and hang out on the cliff behind our tent and talk about various things.
 Dinner time. We have dehydrated chow. I don't like using it but it is very handy and does what it's suppose to. Easy to cook and nothing to clean up. My waterproof matches fail me so I have to light the stove with a flint from my 'oh shit.' kit. For anyone not familiar, the brown steel box is a bear resistant food (soap, toothpaste, deodorant, anything smelly) locker provided by the park service.
 Below: That's 8700 feet and the view out the back of our camp.

Bed time. I really wish I took a photo inside but we were tired. Over night we expected to hear bear but Chip & Dale stopped to poop all over our shoes and gear in the bear box.

We forgo breakfast to make time down the mountain so that we can get into Jackson, Wy early and have breakfast before we drive 8 hours to Custer and the Black Hills on our way home.

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