I lived in Jackson WY for a summer and was excited for Pete to see it. It is located 10 from Grand Teton National Park, which I think holds the most beautiful mountain range in the US. When I first arrived here 8 or so years ago I camped in a free area outside of Jackson, but could not recall the name. I called up my trusty pal Matt, who lived in Jackson for several years and he pointed us in the right direction. After a hopeful 20 minute drive on a dirt road called Antelope Flats and a lot of “Oh I remember this” and then some “I don't remember any of this” we arrived at Shadow Mountain which is located in Bridger-Teton National Forest, across the street from the national park. After I gave myself a congratulatory pat on the back for my amazing directional skills; we set up camp at our best spot so far...and did I mention it was free.
After hanging out at this spectacular spot for a few days; we went and got our backcountry permit. We decided to add a night and about 12 miles to our trip, then we were off into the wilds of Wyoming.
On our first day we had only had 9 miles to hike, but for some reason we were both really tired, probably from all that lounging around our campsite for two days, which is always exhausting.
Our first night of camping, according to our permit, was to be spent on Death Canyon Shelf. In the Tetons they have camping zones and you can only put your tent up in these areas. After we had hiked 6 miles we were walking directly below the shelf.
The next three miles were to be spent walking along the bottom of the shelf and then coming up over the opposite end to the beginning of the zone. The next day we would walk back across the top of the shelf for another three miles. I had the bright ideal to just stop, go off trail, walk up the hill to the shelf and just cut out those six miles. Pete, who is usually the sensible one, agreed.
There were areas that were so steep that we had to crawl. We climbed about 1500 feet in a quarter of a mile but it took us two hours.
We were almost to the top when Pete realized that there was a rock ledge that could not be passed. We decided that going down and walking those 3 miles was not an option so we traversed an unstable scree field. I was fairly certain that I was going to tumble down the hill and break an appendage. If so, I was somewhat prepared. Erin, a friend from home, took a wilderness first aid class and we had discussed things to make a splint out of and I decided then that I would use Pete's femur bone as a splint for my broken arm or leg. I made him aware of this before our trip. He had not actually agreed to it, but it was still my plan. I would have to wrestle his knife out of his pocket and use it to remove his femur, all while being injured, but these were small details that would have to be worked out later. Luckily it was not necessary, we made it to the top and found a place to camp before sunset. Moral of this rambling paragraph is don't take shortcuts, and your hiking partner's long bones will make a good splint, even if you have to remove it against their will.
The next day we hiked into Alaska Basin. Then over Hurricane Pass, which according to Backpacker magazine has the best views of the Tetons and I am going to have to agree with them. Then back down into Cascade Canyon.
The plan for the next day was to hike out and camp at Jenny Lake, then hike 10 mile the next day to our car. The last three miles of the trail were way to crowded, because it is a fairly short day hike for people to make. After 3 days, by yourself, in the woods you have no desire to be around crowds or people in general, so we turned on our Ipods, put in our headphones and basically jogged the last bit of the trail. We had been contemplating hiking the last 10 miles back to our car that day because we just felt like being done. It had been a week since we had had a showers and it was getting hard to smell ourselves. Pete suggested we hitchhike. He a had done a lot of it while he hiked the Appalachian Trail. I let him stand by the road and hold out his thumb because I can't handle rejection. After several passerbys, an awesome couple picked us up
Then it was off to a hot shower and soft bed