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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
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 :)