Today was a day of exploring Jackson’s cool stores, finding out about where, when and how we get a permit for our 4 day backpack of the Teton Crest, buying needed backpacking gear (Tina), buying camera gear carrying system (Me) and marketing for dinner and food for our trip.
While in the Teton Mountaineering store, a guy was talking to the salesman about snow. We said, completely misunderstanding that they were referring to snow this upcoming winter, “Do you think it’s going to snow. “ The salesman said to us, “Where are you from? You are obviously not from around here. Why are you so afraid?” (With a superior you-ladies-don’t-know-shit attitude and the old role-the-eyes-upward sarcasm.) The salesman then followed that comment up with something about us being really paranoid. I kept quiet. I’m getting good at keeping my mouth shut. The rest of the day I kept telling Tina what I wish I had thought to say to the kid.
Tina didn’t know, but I had already experienced this kid’s condescending ways after having asked him questions moments before about how safe it would be hiking on the crest if it snowed and if I needed a GPS. I remember LR and I, with what’s his name, camped in altitude after a blizzard dropped about 8 inches of snow covering the trail in the Sierra. Without what’s his name (our guide) I would not have known how to find the way back down the mountain.
We drove the Wilson Road from Moose Visitor Center back south to Teton Village. Teton Village is where we’ll take the tram up and begin our backpack at around 10,000 feet. We wanted to make sure the tram was still running. We’d asked a number of people and they all appeared to be guessing as to when the tram stops running after season.
Along the Wilson Road, where the speed limit is 15 mph for most of the 9 miles to Teton Village, we spotted our first full view of a moose. I forgot to mention that while driving into Jackson a few days ago, Tina thought she had spotted her first moose. I’ve not seen Tina get quite so excited since the time she, Cindy and I thought a log was a bear on the trail on the 7 Lakes Trail in the Sierra. How disappointed we both were when we realized the handsome and really large moose was a statue, very well placed I might add. I wonder how many other people belief this moose to be real.
On the Wilson Road, later in the day, we stopped along this road with about 10 other carloads of people to view a moose about 20 yards away, oblivious to all of us tourists, cameras of all sizes in hands, clicking and gawking away.
Tina made dinner for us. I sure like being the man. Then we started lying out and sorting all the food we wanted to take on our backpack. Once finished, and once we packed the food in a large bag and suddenly became aware of just how heavy the food bag was, we started sorting again, this time, trying to lighten the bag and our load.
Tina finished dealing with her food while I was still stuck on figuring out dinners. I get too attached to my food and in fear that I might not have enough and just keep pushing things around getting nothing accomplished.
Tina started playing with a jig saw puzzle she’d borrowed from the front desk, while I finished choosing my food and then going through everything in my backpack, listing last minute pay-attention-to notes for before we head out on the 17th.
One more day in Jackson tomorrow before we venture up into the Tetons. I was hoping we’d get up early tomorrow morning to stand in line at 8am for our permits. You can only get permits the day before or the morning of the day you go into the backcountry. You have to know where you want to camp as there is a quota system on how many can stay in a campground at the same time.
It’s midnight and I haven’t even looked at the hiking mileage to be able to knowingly communicate where we want to camp each of the 4 nights. Tina has just turned off her light and is already asleep. I want to upload photos to my blog now before I hit the sack.
Tina and I chatted with the owner of the Log Cabin Motel before we left Pinedale around 11:15am this morning. I learned a few things from the owner: I found out that horses can carry up to 15 to 20 percent of their weight. Well, the horse carrying the elk head and body parts probably weighed somewhere around 1300 to 1400 hundred pounds. The elk weighed more than 20 percent of the horse’s weight. I also found out that the cottonwood trees take the moisture from the their branch limbs when it gets cold and that is what makes the leaves change color when the season’s cold sets in. We were told that Jackson’s peak leave color changes occur one week later than Pinedale’s because Jackson is warmer. And one last interesting tid bit is that the owner knew the name of the ranch that my high school friends’ father owned and ran, called Miller and Miller.
We are staying at the Cowboy Village in Jackson for three days before we store our luggage, put on our backpacks and head for the 5 day Teton Crest backpack we’ve planned. We like our tiny but very practical and comfortable room. They have a laundromat, hot tub, and other amenities I can’t remember, here.
We ate a quick lunch in our cabin eating the remaining food we brought from Pinedale. We wanted to get to the 7.7 mile hike around Jenny Lake while we still had light. As an aside, on our drive through Jackson to Jenny Lake, Tina and I got very excited that we were so close to all the great stores Jackson has. We can’t wait to walk the streets of Jackson. It looks like a fun town.
We finally got on the trail that follows Jenny Lake” shoreline by 2:43pm. Pretty late. Tina was concerned we wouldn’t have enough time to get back to our car before dark. Neither of us had our headlamps.
There are so many sights/hikes we want to see while in this area. Two of these must-sees, Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point, required us to leave the shoreline of our Jenny Lake hike for a relatively short distance. Since we were don’t want to retrace any of the hikes we do, we decided to hike up off trail to see Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. While we were descending from Inspiration Point at 7200 feet we noticed storm clouds approaching. I was so hoping for some evening color over the lake. That didn’t happen.
We looked at our map and figured out we had a little more than half of the lake trail to hike before arriving back to our car. As soon as we got back on the Jenny Lake shoreline trail the clouds started dumping some light rain.
We walked faster than we ususally do as the sky just kept getting darker and darker and the thunder and lightning got closer together.
The rain was mild even though the wind picked up for much of the remaining hike. That is until about a half hour before we reached our car when the rain really came down hard. We got wet but stayed warm enough while moving. Our car was one of only a couple still in the parking lot near the visitor center. We got chilled while taking our wet gear off at the car. Our hiking pants were really wet but the car heater kept us warm. The guidebook had said the hike would take about 4 hours and it did.
But what were we going to do about how hungry we were. Tina said, “Note to self, leave some snacks in the car to eat following a long hike.”
On our way out of Jackson to Jenny Lake, Tina had noticed a Steakhouse. We ended up eating at that Steakhouse. Yummy, but full.
Only one problem with the day, I got home too late to see the finals of America’s Got Talent. Ray called me to remind me the show was on but I tuned in too late and only got to see the last 2 talents perform.
Tina and I enjoyed our hike but don’t think we’ll ever have to hike around Jenny Lake again.
I am seated on the couch I flopped down on 2 hours ago after entering the cabin. Tina is asleep and I’m still in my hiking clothes, not showered, haven’t taken my pills or brushed my teeth. But I got my photos uploaded into Adobe Lightroom and have blogged.
Now it’s time to clean up and pass out.
p.s. Did you read LR’s comment on yesterday’s blog…..he says getting a speeding ticket is spending money!!!! (LR has a funny sense of humor and is also in charge of my finances.)
We slept in today until 9:00am. That was heaven.
Our day was breakfast at the Wrangler’s Café (I did NOT eat pancakes like Tina.), followed by a stop at the Great Outdoor Shop where we satisfied a shopping fix. (Now now LR, I had to buy backpacking stove fuel as I couldn’t carry it on the plane.) And yes, I did happen to purchase a couple of other things.
On our way back to the Log Cabin Motel we noticed a Farmer’s market and stopped by to purchase some fruit and veggies. A local pet store owner had ferrat’s at the Farmer’s market and Tina and I both got to hold ferrats for the first time ever.
We drove the Skyline Drive north out of Pinedale passing Freemont Lake which I believe is Wyoming’s largest lake. We heard this lake is 600 feet deep and 10 miles long.
After driving through the prettiest country, we arrived at the end of the road at the Elkhart trailhead. We decided to take a store owner’s suggestion to hike the Pole Creek Trail towards Photographer’s Point (which we never reached before turning back), instead of the other trail which descended 2000 feet to Pine Creek. We hiked the hour and a half out (before turning back) very leisurely as the altitude was playing havoc with our breathing.
However, before turning back, we ran into two descending hunters, leading two very tired horses and their elk kill. I felt sick. I felt sad. I felt worse for the horse that was carrying the 300 plus pounds of cut up elk. At least the elk was out of his misery. The hunters told us the horse not carrying the elk was freaked by the smell of elk blood over the men and that’s why the hunter wasn’t riding the horse. I had trouble putting this ugly, sad sight out of my mind. Much like the policeman ruined the rest of my drive to Pinedale, the hunter’s elk kill robbed me of the joy I’d been experiencing on this hike. Now, the hunters had no idea how I felt. I acted very different with them. I wanted the photo of that poor elk’s head, so I was nice. I even told them I would email them the photos I took if they’d give me their email address. They did give me their email address. I guess you could call me a hypocrite.
Back in our car and back down the mountain road to Pinedale we talked about what we were going to do for dinner…..because of course, we were hungry. Tina and I are always hungry. We stopped at the market and went back to our cozy, warm cabin. Tina made me a salad and put together a very nice dinner plate of hot chicken from the market, and yummy La Brea whole wheat bread slices along with sliced cheese.
Tina suggested we go to a meeting tonight. We showered, and headed out to an 8pm meeting. There were 6 of us there. I was asked to chair the meeting, pick a topic and for one hour we had a great meeting. The topic was, How do you work the first three steps in your life on a daily basis. In essence, How do you know if you are in self will or God’s will.
One gentleman mentioned he was from Big Piney. I’d been telling Tina about a boyfriend I had back in private high school named Jim Miller who had lived in Big Piney. I asked this gentleman at the meeting all about Jim. It was really fun for me.
Well, Tina has been asleep for an hour and 10 minutes now. I think it’s time for me to get to sleep as well.
Tina posing as she enters the Jackson Hole, WY airport.
Photo of the Grand Tetons around 8:20 pm as we were landing in Jackson Hole.
Ray dropped me off at the Palm Springs airport at 11:45am. After meeting Tina at the Denver airport, we arrived in Jackson Hole, WY at 8:30pm.
We’re both excited about our backpack of the Grand Teton Crest in a couple of days. Alamo car rental was obviously the best rental car deal as the line was filled with customers like ourselves who just wanted to get a car after a long day of travel. The two other car rental agencies had no customers.
When I’m with Tina we eat. Back at the Denver airport while waiting for our flight to JH we had a late lunch. Tina then had a TCBY. I got a coffee instead.
Driving through Jackson we stopped for two crispy Taco Bell beef tacos.
Continuing on the road south from Jackson, headed toward our motel in Pinedale, I spotted a deer on the side of the road in the post dusk dark. Not long after, in the for-sure dark, a deer ran out in front of us. I missed him but was excited about already seeing so much wildlife. I guess the excitement got to me. I must have unknowingly upped my driving speed and had to deal with the cop that stopped to give me a ticket for speeding. I was doing 80 in a 65 zone. Gheeze. That’s pretty chicken shit. It was pitch dark driving on this two lane where we were the only car on the road for most of the 80 mile drive through totally barren country. The cop had to be hiding, parked in the dark, in wait for the next driver to come along. What a welcome to JH. I said nothing to the cop. I also asked Tina why she thanked the cop when he finally handed me with my ticket and said “be careful now”.
I intend to blog. I get home from the 6:30 meeting around 8:30pm. The new Dancing with the Stars show is on. Following that show Ray and I watch the semi finals on America’s Got Talent. I tell myself, after a non-stop day, I need a break. I watched the shows and now it’s late.
I’m meeting Stacy and Mary Kay tomorrow at 7am. We’re walking for an hour and a half here in Mission Hills. If I get to bed by 11:30pm I’ll get 6 hours of sleep before I have to get up to be ready for the girls.
Today Ray drove me to the MailBox place to get my backpack packaged up for a UPS delivery to the Cowboy Village in Jackson, WY. There is no way I can maneuver camera gear, a suitcase, a computer bag AND a backpack through the airport systems. Please let my backpack arrive without incident. I have spent years acquiring all the personal lightweight gear that I use when I backpack. Replacing everything would be quite expensive and time consuming.
I’m nervous about the upcoming Photography Workshop. Being nervous, thinking I won’t be as good as the other 16 workshop participants etc is a pretty familiar feeling….or that I won’t get what is being asked of us or taught us, or that I won’t see what they see to photograph. It seems many of the workshop attendees have attended Craig’s workshops together before. What I’m really having trouble with is we have been asked to present 5 – 10 photos (that represent our work). I don’t like any of my photos. I don’t have “portfolio” quality photos yet. So another fear is they will all laugh when I finally get to putting 5 – 10 of my photos on a flash drive to be shown to all the other workshop participants.
I think it’s time to go to bed and give my mind a break. The tour bus ride is getting out of hand.
Thank goodness Paula and Mary Kay are interested in hiking at 5am. I need to get out and get fit quick. Saturday I leave for another 3 week vacation, 5 of those days backpacking at 10,000 feet in the Tetons.
The first part of the 3 weeks Tina and I will alternate between being tourists and backpackers in the Jackson Hole, WY area. The last 6.5 days I attend a photography workshop called Grand Teton National Park 2009 with Craig Tanner and Marti Jeffers (no relation to me).
I hit the floor running since Ray and I arrived home from Mammoth. What was I thinking planning back to back vacations? Ray will stay home while Tina and I spend 12 days together before my photography workshop.
This one week home has been interesting. I just do the next indicated thing and hope that by the end of the week all I need to do to get ready for my departure, gets done. I’m packing all my photography gear and carrying that on my back while traveling. I’ll be wearing a fanny pack, filled as it usually is. My suitcase is packed to the max (trekking poles and tripod in it) and weighs much more than the weight allowed, and my packed backpack will most likely be mailed off to where Tina and I will be staying in Pinedale, WY the first couple of nights, as there is no way I can handle dealing with all the luggage I have.
I’ve neglected this blog and I’m not happy about that and neither are some of you. So sorry. But, I did manage to catch up on all the Tivo’d episodes of America’s Got Talent. Priorities.