I am sorry to say I will not be posting here until this photography workshop is over this coming Saturday.
We go non-stop all day and night long. I am being thrown one learning curve after another. I had no idea how little I knew about my Canon EOS D40. Manual mode? Huh? In the dark at 5:20am, with a headlamp, in 22 degree weather?
Gottago. Had our 30 minute break before the evening shoot.
Driving Tina to the airport this morning (after we both checked out of the hotel), along the Moose Wilson two lane road, we and 50 other people pulled over, pulled out our cameras and were told by a ranger (how he got there we don’t know) to stay on the farthest side of the street away from the black bear who was standing on his hind legs eating berries 20 yards away, oblivious to us – as if he were all alone in the wilderness. Yeah, we finally saw a bear.
After dropping Tina off at the nearby Jackson Airport, I started on a day of errands and preparation for the Workshop that begins tomorrow night at 7pm.
Here is what I did today:
Drove to the Cowboy Village where I wanted to check in but was told I couldn’t until 1pm or so. (It was 9:25am)
Ate at the coffee/bagel place nearby….ummmmm good…..whole wheat bagel, cream cheese, lox, capers, red onion and tomato!
While eating made a list of what I wanted to do to be ready before the start of the workshop where I won’t have time to do anything other than pre-sunrise shoot, inside lessons, practice software, critiques, work on morning photos, afternoon shoot and dinner with group.
Next door to the coffee/bagel place, I made an 11am appt for hair color and manicure.
Drove out to Radio Shack to replace broken phone headpiece.
Gassed up car.
Hair and nails.
Tried another check in at Cowboy Village. Sat for 20 minutes for room to be ready. Checked in.
Packed up my backpack and “old” photo equipment backpack and drove to UPS where I had these things sent home.
Made a big mistake not taking the warning of a lady coming out of Albertson’s who said to anyone who was listening, “Save yourself the frustration, the computers are down.” After an hour and a half of waiting in line to be checked out at 3 different checkout counters (it’s a long story), I finally left with my food. Most people left their full baskets and left in frustration. Actually, the management was suggesting customers could do that – leave their baskets if they couldn’t wait. (I would have left except I heard Smiths and another market had the same computer problems.) I’d wanted s/f ice fudge pops but knew they’d melt. Tomorrow.
Unpacked and put away groceries for the week.
Did laundry so all my clothes are clean from having been in the suitcase and never hung up the last 13 days.
Ate dinner: Chicken breast, 3 small tomatoes, whole wheat English muffin.
Shot a crappy shot of the crappier smoke filled sky as it was turning pink from the setting sun. Boy are the instructors going to be unhappy when they find out they have been having prescribed burns here for the last week or so. Not good for landscape photography.
Opened the box sent to Ray from Adorama, that he then sent to me, containing my split level neutral density filter and EF 25 11 Canon extension tube. After putting the tube on my 50mm 1.4 lens, I googled and read about tubes and split level neutral density filters since I’ve never used them before.
When Ray called tonight, I told him I felt like we both did when we were in Sweden, attending a meeting where everyone was speaking Swedish, no one paid attention to us, (no, “Hi how are you’s”) and I felt left out and alone. Why did I tell Ray that story? Because I think there are two workshop participants here, one in the cabin next to me and one 2 cabins away. I smiled at the woman who was walking in to the cabin next to me to talk to a guy. I was hoping for a little dialog but she turned away to talk to the guy inside. Then I heard the woman say as she walked back to her cabin, “I’m ready when you are.” I kept looking out my window, making sure neither of them noticed me looking. The guy came outside and was going through what looked like a photography backpack getting it ready. So I thought, “They’re not going out to dinner as I had initially thought, they are going out to shoot!” I walked outside pretending to get something out of my car, hoping a conversation would start up and maybe I’d be included in their outing. But the guy was very preoccupied and had major head phones on (listening to music – I’d heard him playing his guitar earlier). No luck. No conversation. I retreated to my cabin and watched, so I wasn’t noticed of course, as they drove away together. Boo hoo.
Now this whole tour bus ride of mine originated while reading the online forums that were set up especially for all of us workshop participants to introduce ourselves and say something about ourselves. Reading the participant’s introductions/comments I found out many participants had already taken workshops with the leaders before and four of the participants had formed ongoing friendships.
When I told Ray how I felt, he said, “Oh I know you; you’ll be right in the middle of everything in no time.” (Or something like that.)
My cabin is all set up with hanging clean close, clothes in drawers and not still in my suitcase. The fridge has something for breakfasts, lunches and tons of snacks to take on the shoots.
I’ve blogged and now I hope to God I can just relax. How do you spell relax??????????????
We did very little that we didn’t absolutely want to do today.
Most of the morning, after I woke up at 8:30am!, I worked on getting these blog entries up. Tina played with her new crossword puzzle.
We went out for a 40 min hike/stroll.
We changed and went for lunch downstairs in this gorgeous Four Season’s Hotel we are staying at for 3 days. Tina got us a great rate LR.
Back to the room to put on our spa clothes. We both had massages at 3pm but wanted to steam first.
Following really good massages and all kinds of pampering, I loved Colin who did my massage, we jacuzzied, and showered for the 4th or 5th time today.
Back to the room (which is as big and pretty a room as I’ve seen) we dressed and actually put on makeup for the first time. Down we went for a Sushi dinner served from 5pm to 9pm in a comfortable room with couches, tables and chairs in front of a huge fireplace downstairs in the hotel.
Back to the room, quite satisfied, for the results show of Dancing with the Stars. Tina resumed working on her puzzle.
What a day.
Here we are all cleaned up…..
Day 5, Monday, Sept 21st
We woke early…… the call of town food and the colder than usual morning got us hiking out by 7:30am. We had heard what we think were moose mating calls all through the night and this morning. They were close, but we didn’t see them.
On our short hike out, we did get to momentarily see a large male full rack elk on the trail just ahead of us. Then we stopped to shoot some distant photos of elk in a meadow off to our right just before the trail leveled out near the end.
Another exciting moment was when we heard a thin tree being bent by a bear (we couldn’t see) obviously rubbing up against the tree.
9:45am and back at our car we happened to see David, our taxi driver, drive in ready to pick up some other backpackers. I asked him about a good breakfast place and he mentioned Signol Point. We were in heaven eating our eggs, sausage and whole grain, yummy, bread. And coffee for the first time in 5 days!!!
Still in our backpacking clothes, we decided to stay stinky and drive to Yellowstone to see Old Faithful. It was a short visit watching Old Faithful go off. We visited the Old Faithful Inn where I met David Peterson, a local photographer, who was selling his photography books. I enjoyed my visit with him before buying one of his books.
Everything was closing up in the Yellowstone Park as the season was coming to an end so our visit was short.
We had a long day. On the 77 mile drive back to Jackson, we dropped off our bear canisters and saw lots of elk along the road. We checked back into the Cowboy Village Cabins around 9:30pm, after having stopped at Dornan’s for a quick dinner surrounded by a very happy, young and old, drinking crowd. Oh memories flooded back and I couldn’t wait to get out of there, even though the view of the Tetons through the floor to ceiling windows was intoxicating.
Once at the Cowboy Village, Tina and I got into action washing all our clothing and dirty gear. It was a long, late day.
I’m glad I got to hike the Teton Crest. I’ve always wondered what it would be like. Tina and I had a great time.
Now back to the point…..Shopping. That’s what we did all day Tuesday, Sept 22nd. It was a shop till you drop kinda day. I picked up my new photo carrying system I’d ordered from Eric at the local camera store. The Think Tank system. I love it. Tina finally splurged on a ring she saw the first day we went shopping.
We are in the Four Season’s Hotel. Tina got us a 3 day special reduced rate. The hotel is in Teton Village about 15 minutes from Jackson.
Day 4 Sunday, Sept 20th
Start: 1st Camp site in the North Fork
End: lower end of lower Paintbrush Cyn camping area.
Miles hiked: 9
It rained off and on last night. I was concerned we’d be hiking in rain today when I saw how many potential storm clouds there were when we finally got out of our tents.
We hiked up 800 feet to Solitude Lake, another beautiful cirque lake at the base of the 1700′ Paintbrush Pass we were going to climb. Funny thing (not to Tina) is that I told Tina, “After we climb to Solitude Lake the rest of our day is downhill”. Oops, I misread the direction of the contour lines on the map badly.
Today was cold from the start. We put on pack covers and our rain jackets on minutes after we started hiking out from camp. Half way up to Solitude Lake we took them off only to put them both on again.
The sky was black in all directions as we started the 1700 foot ascent to Paintbrush Divide Pass. Neither Tina nor I were looking forward to this climb, especially since I have a big fear about being on passes during lightning storms.
It was very windy and cold going up but easier than we expected. It did rain briefly and the sun graced us when there was a break in the fast moving clouds. The darkest of storm clouds actually dropped hail on us momentarily.
We reached the barren Paintbrush Divide Pass and hurriedly took photos before running from the cold forceful wind.
Descending the lost rock trail on the north side required some hand holding like when climbing a mountain peak without trail. We even got to walk across a remaining snow field. Fun.
We passed ambitious day hikers doing a 17+ mile dayhike up Paintbrush Cyn Trail over and down Cascade Cyn Trail who said they saw a bear and her cubs down below tree line. We sadly didn’t see them.
Tina and I had fun photographing marmots and pikas, and of course we are always shooting away at the incredible mountain views. Lower on down I shot some of the color of the turning foliage. It’s clear why they call the canyon Paintbrush Canyon.
We considered hiking out all the way to our parked car today but the hour was late and the 3700′ of downhill was taking a toll on us. We are camped a mere 3-4 miles from the finish of our Teton Crest hike.
This is our coldest night so far, so it’s time for me to get completely inside my sleeping bag, that after I use my pee bottle.
Start: Sunset Lake, 9:00am
End: 1st camp site in the North Fork Camping zone, 3:45pm, elevation: 8396
Miles hiked: 7.2
The climb up to Hurricane Pass, 10,400′, was much easier than we’d anticipated the night before when we were trying to figure out where the pass actually was. The Pass is known for being very windy and even though the day was warm the wind chilled us.
Atop the Pass I had cell reception and called Ray. Ray found out he is in bad need of a hip replacement. I hope he waits to have it when I’m home, but it sounds like he’ll have it as soon as the doctor is available. (Sept 23rd – Ray’s surgery is scheduled for Oct 13th)
Ray had other news, his son/my stepson, Joshua is getting married October 24th. He’s very in love and this is a first for him to be in love.
Today’s descent down the South Fork from Hurricane Pass was 3448 feet. Tina and I were ready for some level or uphill hiking. We were ready that is until we had it. We were tired today.
Last night we’d discussed staying out only three nights. But today we reconsidered and will do short mileage and stay out the fourth night.
Today I shot more photos than the other days. We got to see the Grand Teton, Middle and South Teton up real close. Waterfalls on the South Fork continued all the way down to the junction where we continued north at Cascade Canyon. At this junction with Cascade Canyon we turned left and followed the North Fork.
Storm clouds and thunder were directly up ahead in the direction we were hiking. We decided to stop at the first camp site, one mile from the junction, at the beginning of the North Fork camping zone. I could write that we stopped because of the rain drops we felt and the storm ahead, or I could tell you the truth that we were both ready to end our hiking day.
The first camp site, #1, was available. We quickly set up our tents, hoping to beat the approaching rain. For a while, the sun broke through the clouds and off we went to bath.
The camping area/pad is so small Tina and I are camped front tent door to front tent door with 2 feet between us. We cooked dinner in that 2 foot area and finished cooking just as the rain fell hard. We zipped up or tents and brought our meals inside, very careful to not spill any smelly food in my tent.
Soon the rain stopped and we put everything that had any scent to it in the camp bear box. We made a number of subsequent trips back to the bear box, after realizing we’d forgotten something like Purell or lip sunscreen.
It’s 8:15pm and I hear Tina’s deep breathing. I’m putting my phone that I’m typing on down and getting deep into my sleeping bag for some much needed warmth.
Day 2 Fri., Sept 18th
Start: Marion Lake, 9:20am
End: Sunset Lake, 4:45pm, elevation: 9608
Miles hiked: 9.7
I went to sleep at 9pm, but woke up often, which is typical when I’m backpacking. I stayed in my warm sleeping bag until I heard Tina this morning getting out of her tent and quietly yelling, “Linda, deer!”
This deer, 10 feet from our tents, was not the least bit concerned with our presence. He walked off only to return sniffing and licking around where I’d stashed my bear canister. I walked within 5 feet and shot off tons of photographs, some using the flash. I had a ball for over an hour but did keep in mind how many deaths there are every year from deer’s striking out with their front legs.
After the deer got tired of hanging out with the soil around the bear canister (probably another camper had peed back there and the deer liked the salt in the pee) the deer came over to where I’d camped and licked the area on the ground where I had thrown my pee bottle pee out of the tent in the night. The deer moved on to licking my trekking pole handles that were probably pretty salty. We had so much fun watching the deer we didn’t leave camp until after 9am. I also spent a little time photographing light on the lake.
Tina and I enjoyed the views today. The climb up from Marion Lake took us across Fox Creek Pass. Tina was going to get water at Pass Lake which we never saw. (Once beyond Pass Lake, we looked behind us and noticed a small pond that must have been the Lake at one time.) Down from the Pass we ran into a couple from Boise. We took off our packs and listened while the man shared his knowledge of the area. The next leg of our hike took us up to Death Canyon Shelf. Three miles of the most beautiful views of canyons and peaks.
We lunched at Mount Meek Pass – 9726 feet. Lunch was around 1:30pm and we were already feeling tired. Tina mentioned that she’d forgotten how hard backpacking was. I forget too.
We had 4.1 miles to go before reaching our camp site Sunset Lake.
We had this beautiful cirque lake to ourselves. We cleaned up in the lake and enjoyed the luxury of arriving at camp before 5pm.
Tomorrow we climb 800 feet up Hurricane Pass and haven’t yet decided where we’ll camp. We have entertained the idea of doing this hike with 3 nights out instead of 4. To be determined as LR says.
Guess who is asleep already and has been for the last hour?
It’s my turn to turn off my head lamp.
Tina and I are back in Jackson and I have looked at many of the photos I’ve taken. Some I like, but mostly I’ll be happy to learn more in the upcoming 6 day Photography Workshop I’ll be taking this coming Saturday. I’ve quickly “Word” spell checked my phone nightly backpack journal entries which I am posting. Please forgive any typos, grammar no-no’s, etc. This takes so much of my time and I’m ready to go out and be a tourist some more.
Notes I wrote nightly while on our Teton Crest Backpack:
9.17.09 Pre hike – The morning preparation before our hike went better than we could have hoped. We are very grateful to David at the Cowboy Village who let us store our entire luggage for the 5 days we’ll be hiking.
I remembered to pay my speeding ticket.
We got a reasonable rate from a local taxi company to pick us up at the end of our hike at the trailhead where we parked our car this morning. David, the taxi driver was young, an extreme athlete and very interesting. I learned bison and moose will attack and are very dangerous. Boy did I feel like a jerk getting as close as I did to both of the animals to get a photo. I even have a video (another one, not the one I posted, where you hear me baby talking to the bison, telling him, “I’m friendly, really” as this bison is looking at me like he might easily jump the six feet in a second they are capable of doing and take me out.) The taxi driver also informed me just how fast they run as he was sharing a story about his friend whose car got rammed by a bison. The bison killed himself as he drove his head deep into the front of the guy’s SUV.
Now to the hiking day…..
Teton Crest Trail
Start: 12 noon – top of tram from Teton Village
Camp: 4:15pm Marion Lake
Miles – 6.2
Pace – 40 min mile
The tram took us up 2 miles and 4100 feet to 10,450 feet. Tina and I were worried we’d have trouble starting at such a high elevation not having acclimatized. But gladly we descended right away. After continuing to descend for a while, I started to notice the toll the 1600 foot descent was taking on my knees and hip flexors. I haven’t been training carrying weight and this old body was wondering why it had to carry the extra 40 pounds. Tina’s knee started screaming.
Thankfully (I never thought I’d be thankful for uphills), we began to climb. Climbing was a relief but we were moving slowly. At the end of the day I figured out we were averaging 40 minute miles including one break we took.
While getting our hiking permits and camp sites the other day, we were told our first choice camp site, Marion Lake, was full and we couldn’t camp there. Well, it turns out that we got a campsite afterall. Of the 3 camp sites here, only one was occupied. We were really tired and thrilled to not hike on to beyond the Park boundary, where you are free to camp anywhere.
There is something moving outside my tent! Tina is asleep so I can’t discuss what animal it might be. I think it might be a deer. We are supposed to put all our food in either the heavy bear canister we have to carry or the bear box at this camp site. I put almost all my food in my canister, except for the Fritos I kept for a snack. I have the Fritos in a long plastic tube, inside one of my smelly socks.
I’ll be posting many photos and will let you know when they are ready.
Got home too late from playing the tourist all day long. We even did a 4 mile hike, we hope we did it on the CDT near Towgotte Pass on the road to Moran. So much major road construction was going on any previous trails north and south from the road were plowed under.
I did get to see who won America’s Got Talent. Even though I like Kevin, I do believe he better take some singing lessons. (I’m sure Alex agrees with me.)
Long day. All packed up to store our luggage tomorrow. Our backpacks are also ready to go. All our food fit into both our bear canisters (after getting rid of some food).
I think we are going to have good weather for our backpack of the Tetons. I just hope I haven’t aged too much since I last backpacked. Everytime I go out, I doubt whether I can do it.
You won’t hear from me on this blog until probably the 23rd. We finish our backpack of the Tetons before noon on the 22nd. We’ll shower and change into clean clothes and head out to Yellowstone where we’ll camp out one night. Camping out in Yellowstone with all the humans is going to be scarier than camping out in the Tetons.
Oh, I did shoot a video of the Bison that I hope to have ready to upload tomorrow morning. If I don’t have time, then check back to see Tina talking about how big the balls are on this one animal.