Hiking and Enjoying Jackson Hole

Jackson Hole, a breath taking sanctuary who's mountains and rivers remind you how incredible our world is. I'd just hitchhiked there straight from Indiana to take in the beauty and visit some family. My uncle grew up in town and my mom was there visiting, I stayed with her in Teton Village.

After a day of relaxing and catching up, I was ready to get up into the mountain. I'd pointed up to a ridge saying, "It would be awesome to hike along that!", I was then told there was just such a trail there called the Teton Crest Trail. This was my mission.

I took the tram up to the top, then wandered behind the peak to find the trail head and got moving. Six miles or so through the high forest and then to a lake, more miles through brilliant meadows with flowers of all colors, more miles hiking until I Alaska Basin closer to sunset. I hopped around the boulders for a while and settled on a spot on the ridge that I called camp for the night.

Day two started by going straight up until I hit sunset lake, then straight up again where I got over a lip and was exposed to a great view of the Tetons. Once through another meadow I stood right before the Tetons, the best view I've ever seen of them. From there it was downhill for a while, through forest, then up again until I hit Solitude lake just in time for a good rest.

After laying out on a rock by the lake, I got the strength up again and went straight up some steep switchbacks until I was high up above the lake and could see some other little pools in the mountain that seemed impossible to get to, but plenty enjoyable to look at from across the way. Once over the next lip I saw Grizzly lake and the downhill before me. I scurried on down, finding camp for another night.

In the morning I was up before the light rain started, but it faded in and out, never really getting too bad. Turning a corner on the trail I saw a big moose only a couple dozen feet away. I stood in awe, he was chewing on some plants and looked up at me. We made eye contact and everything was chill, I just stood my ground and let him munch away, right on the trail, slowly moving from plant to plant until he got his fill and disappeared back into the bush.

It was all downhill after that, right to string lake where I ran into more people and the parking lot, then the road. I hitched a ride from a British couple as far as Moose road, then quickly got another ride from a younger couple back to Teton Village.

I spent the next few days relaxing, my younger brother also arrived. I got some new shoes for free that Keen sent me after having seen how my other ones got beat up over the years. I also got my backpack and some other gear upgraded along the way, I was feeling pretty fresh.

My mom and brother flew back to Connecticut one morning, that night my step dad took their place. I went over the pass to Idaho with him the next morning, we checked into a hotel and then headed to the Targhee music festival with a friend of his. Lots of good bluegrass, tasty food and back to the hotel by night.

In the morning we met up with one one my mom's friends for breakfast, then I was heading back over the pass towards while my step dad had other plans. They dropped me off on the road and I stuck my thumb out. A sheriff came along to tell me that hitchhiking was illegal in Idaho, this isn't true, but I'm not one to argue here. All the same he gave me a ride to the Wyoming border and was pretty chill with, police often are in these cases. I got one ride over the pass from there to the junction, then a ride from the junction to the village where I relaxed for the night.

We'd all gotten complimentary cigars at the hotel, I smoked mine and sipped a beer on the balcony they next day before heading to the road. I hitched two rides from Teton Village into the town of Jackson, I was going to stay at my uncles house for a few nights, he was staying elsewhere so I essentially had it to myself. I walked his dog and met up with him later on at the brew pub.

I hit the brew pub again the next night with him and my step dad, basically just a couple days of relaxing, short hikes and biking just out of town. The last day in town we drove through the elk refuge and hiked to a ski cabin past a nice little lake.

My uncle gave me a ride to the road out of town in the morning, finally time to move on. I had a friend to see in Bozeman, beyond that some friends hiking in Washington state. The beauty would continue.

August 3, 2012 to August 18, 2012