Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Off to a Rough Start

As I eluded to earlier, the actual hiking portion of our trip did not start out all butterflies and rainbows.

Before our trip even began, we knew we wanted to take some sunrise photos of the most photographed barn in America.

Since this was a 30 minute drive from our hotel, and the sun rose at 6:30, and I had to get one last shower before entering the wilderness, this meant we had an early wake-up call.

Let me remind you of all the beers I drank the night before and you may understand that when 4:30 am rolled around, I was a bit of an angry monster.

Somehow I managed to pull myself together and we were able to make it in time to take some photos.

After that, it was time to attempt to get a permit for our planned 5 day trip.  We got to the Ranger Station when it opened and were lucky enough to score a permit for our intended campsites.  With that, we visited Teton Village for one last taste of real food and set off into the woods.

Now, we wanted to hike the entire Teton Crest Trail, but various logistical concerns meant we had to cut out a small portion.  We ended up hiking the same amount of miles, just in a different manner.  On the below map, the Teton Crest Trail is pink and our route is blue:

I used one of my Mormon row photos to give you an even better idea of our trip:

So, the hike began with beautiful blue skies.

We had a fairly good incline on our first day as we made our way up to the trail.  Remember how we took no time to acclimate to the altitude?  That was stupid.  I found myself not being able to take full breaths, gettting winded quickly, and feeling just plain weak.  So we took lots of breaks.

And then the clouds began to roll in.

Now, weather in the Tetons is generally quite pleasant in the summer.  But due to the mountains, scattered showers pop up often.  Despite the building showers, onward we trudged.

 The Teton Crest trail also has "camping zones" where tent pads are visible and to be used within a given area.  However, our first camping zone had no layout of the sites, so we were walking blindly ahead hoping to stumble upon tent pads.  We also wanted to get to the end of the zone to lessen our trip for the next day, so we kept passing up tent pads hoping for one closer to the end of the zone.  Around 7 miles in, with my weary body screaming at me, and the rain starting to sprinkle, and the uncertainness of our sleeping site looming, the situation started to get the better of me.  But just when I was about to have a breakdown, the skies began to clear and a tent site magically appeared beside the river.

So we set up camp, I calmed the hell down, and Andy napped on a log. 

As we ate dinner that evening, I scanned the mountain ridge next to us and was able to spot a moose in the distance.  I was only slightly unnerved by this, because he seemed to be far away.  I kept my eye on him throughout the evening and went to bed feeling fairly secure in my surroundings.

Little did I know I would be getting much, much closer to that moose the next day.

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