Wyoming - Shoshone National Forest

1:48 a.m. on September 29, 2010 (EDT)
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Well, I had grand plans of taking some time away from the conference I was attending to hike Granite Canyon and spend the night int he Tetons, but alas, I wasn't able to. I was only able to see them from a distance,, like this shot taken after landing in Jackson Hole

I was however able to get away for one very quick night up the Frontier Creek Trail from Double Cabin Trailhead in the Shoshone National Forest. Double Cabin is at the very dead end of Horse Creek Road (FS Road 285 i think). Here are some lovely aspens on the drive to Double Cabin

I snapped a few quick shots on the drive out to the trail-


These little meadows are just so idyllic.

I arrived at the trail head very late, only just getting on the trail as the last of the suns rays were on the 11,000ft peaks of Norton Point Coffman Butte high above me.

I took the Frontier Creek trail north and farther up the canyon. There was nowhere to cross gracefully, and I ended up getting my boots soaked in my haste. I can be such a dink. The dusk light lasted for about 40 minutes before complete night fell, but I continued hiking by the strong light of the waxing moon for another hour and 50 minutes.

I am becoming a huge fan of hiking by moonlight :) it is breathtakingly beautiful. I only had to use my flashlight once the whole night, and that was when I lost the trail in crossing a wide rocky stream bed.

I kept constant tabs on where I was on my USGS quad, and had selected an area about four miles in that would likely provide a good place to bed down for the night. I was delighted to find the most ideal ledge jutting out over the canyon floor, and above the fourth stream bed that came down from the plateau around snow lake. After pitching my poncho tarp, bivy, and sleeping bag I found a place to hang my food in the forest on the other side of the tributary stream bed.

Though I had come well prepared with knowledge and means of physical protection from large carnivores, it was a bit of fun hiking and setting up in the moonlight knowing there is a very healthy Brown Bear population in the area. I chose to fix dinner in the bottom of the canyon near the river, as this afforded me the widest area of moonlit ground to survey for any approach. I did not want to destroy my night vision by using a flashlight. With the river babble impeding my hearing, and 360* of moonlit canyon to eye, while sending delicious smells down the gentle breeze...I can say I was a bit twitchy. I was at no point scared or even nervous, but I definitely kept a constant swiveled eye over my surroundings!

By the time I cleaned up my meal, and hung my food and cooking clothes, it was getting pretty late. The temp had now dropped to around 20F, and my wet feet were a tad frosty. But the moonlight was so stunning that I just had to get a long exposure shot before crawling in to my toasty primaloft bag.

I had to be back in Dubois by 9am the following morning, so I was up by 5:30am. Ugghhh...complete darkness and no moon. I was not inclined to get up in 19F air and hike in the dark, but I had responsibilities to attend to. After putting wet boots back on I packed up my shelter, retrieved my hung food, and was on the trail by 6:30am as the eastern sky began to lighten.

Along the trail back I grabbed as many quick photos as I could without slowing down too much



I had planned to stop at one of the meadows along the way to fix some oatmeal...

but I had not risen and packed quickly enough, so I was obliged to hoof it out to the car on the quick. These next two photos could be seamed together to make one shot spanning from the south facing shot above, all the way to looking up the canyon in the last one.

Along my hurried way I stopped and grabbed a few more shots of the morning splendor.


So it was a crazyfast overnighter, but it was so worth it, and I can't wait to get back out there again sometime to do some canyoneering up to the top and out to snow lake.

I was in Dubois on business for a Landscape painting conference that draws many of the best wildife and landscape painters across the country. Here are a few photos of some work in progress. The first one is up in Torrey Lake Canyon:

Up on one of the mountainsides above Torrey Lake there are various places with ancient petroglyphs. Very cool.

I was able to spend a morning with a couple of my colleagues painting in the Teton valley.

We saw a few bison out roaming, which was great. Here their posture clearly conveys they aren't too pleased with people around.

Here is another study in progress of a tributary to the Wind River. This large stream plunges out of the most impressive chasm of a canyon, but here I am looking in the other direction towards some of the distant red rock hilsides.

I absolutely love the Sage heaths out there. The pungent plants are wonderfull to hike through.

I was able to visit this prestine lake as well, which was a highlight of the trip as well.

Though I didn't get to hike the Tetons, and I didnt get to see any Brown Bear, Moose, or Elk, I did get to see: Mule Deer, Whitetail Deer, Prarie Hens, Black Bear, Pronghorn Antelope, a Golden Eagle, and a wild Grey Wolf.

It was a good trip :)

10:32 a.m. on September 29, 2010 (EDT)
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Wow, great report and pictures. How do you get them so large on here?

10:34 a.m. on September 30, 2010 (EDT)
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Since Trailspace doesn't have a multiple photo upload option I upload my photos over on Facebook and then embed the images here. I guess I hadn't realized it made them bigger by doing it that way. Doing it that way does seem to degrade the displayed image on this end though, I guess it must increase the jpeg compression or something. You can see the compression in the tonal values of the moonlit photo the most.

4:11 p.m. on October 1, 2010 (EDT)
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Marvelous photos, gonzan. I don't know which passion came first, painting or photography, but judging from the photographed works I'd say they feed each other's strengths well! I wonder if you're in the business of selling your art?

6:58 p.m. on October 3, 2010 (EDT)
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Impressive photos Gonzan, the last one is really great.

I can see why you would want to paint landscape there.

I know what a short, fast trip feels like, but it's still worth it, even if only to really wet your appetite.

Thanks for posting

11:09 p.m. on October 5, 2010 (EDT)
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That's a great TR! I "felt" like I was there ... esp reading about your feeling "twitchy" when you were cooking and your delicious food smells were carried by the gentle breeze. I've experienced exactly the same feeling...

And the pics are great too. Interestingly, I find the ones of the artists canvas among the most compelling. They really create an interesting and apropos focal point.

I can empathize with your "rush" trip. I didn't make it out backpacking nearly as much as I hoped to this summer, but each time was a "rush" ... not as rushed as yours, but still too rushed for my preference. ... once on a quick overnighter starting late in the day and out the next, and another being an evening hike in, partially by headlamp, then out a day later. There's never really enough time, and I feel envious of those (the majority?) who post their trip reports here (and elsewhere) of 4 day, 5 day, 2 week, 30 day, etc trip reports. It makes me wonder how people hold full time jobs yet still make it out on these seemingly-frequent long trips.

9:55 a.m. on October 6, 2010 (EDT)
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Thanks Bheiser!

That feeling is profound, isn't it; when you are in a beautiful and wild place, and are keenly aware of your surroundings, your senses hightened by the potential dangers present? In the past year I have been in and hiked through some amazing places by moonlight, and they have been some of the most amazing experiences. This spring I did some abseiling by the full moon in strong winds, this summer I hiked Bob's Wall at 5400Ft in moonlight, and now I hiked those four miles at 8500ft in Wyoming by the moon. Good times!

I relate to your thoughts and envy of those who are able to go on longer trips than my current life permits. Although I am a fine artist, as seen above, and the goal is to support my family full time with my own work, I am also presently bound to a corporate job, as a designer. The lives of people Like Tipi, Gary, etc, being relatively unfettered to our current socio-economic structure certainly has an allure.

7:27 p.m. on October 6, 2010 (EDT)
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I'm sorry you didn't get to explore the mountains like you planned, gonzan. But I really enjoyed your pictures, especially the ones showing your paintings in progress. Those are beautiful! I am very impressed.

Now you'll just have more reason to go back some day.

8:03 a.m. on October 7, 2010 (EDT)
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My favorite moonlight hike is in Joshua Tree, from a trailhead called Boy Scout Trail, to a destiny called the Wonderland of Rocks. The trail skirts along the ridge of a vast alluvial plain. Haunting silhouettes of the Joshua trees and the sublime desert at night unfolds beneath you. Both impossible to describe or capture in an image.
Ed

11:43 a.m. on October 11, 2010 (EDT)
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> Thanks Alicia, I am still working towards supporting my family with just my studio work, but I will get there. I am hoping to work out a small exhibition up in new england next year, I will let you know when it is. It would be an honor to have you at the opening.

>Trout, it definitely did wet my appitite! I wanted so badly to get up above treeline and to the higer elevations. Even as it was, the trailhead was higher than I have been before :)

>Ed, That sounds like an stunning night hike.

PS to all- sorry for the delay in response, I missed the last comments somehow.

September 21, 2014
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