Print this page

Teton Crest Trail, WI

Backpackers:  John Gundry, Kay Gundry, Carl Fisher, and Ed Tucker

September 10, 2000 (7 miles) - We flew into Jackson Hole WY last night and stayed at a Motel 6.  It took us awhile to get going in the morning but we finally boarded the ski tram at Jackson Hole Ski Resort in Teton Village at noon.  After a 12 minute ride to the top to 10,450 feet we acclimatized ourselves for 15 minutes and were off on the Teton Crest Trail.  The trail was mainly downhill so our improper acclimatization to the altitude did not have a negative impact on us.  We camped near the group camp for the Middle South Fork Granite Canyon.  It is past wild flower season so the field identification card I bought and brought will not be too useful, however, we were able to id Silvery Lupine and Showy Fleabane.

September 11, 2000 - (6.5 miles) - Did not get the best sleep last night due to rain and wind.  The area had been in a drought but we were the lucky charm to make it rain!  It rained steady from 11pm until about 6 am accompanied with tremendous wind gusts that sometimes felt like a tornado.  As the trees creaked and the rain fly flapped I hoped we had not pitched our tent next to a widow maker (an old tree that might be blown over, making my wife a widow).  The trail was well graded and several ups and downs.  At lunch we found a real nice stand of trees to get ourselves out of the wind which had not let up all day.  The sun came out just as we started cooking our Ramen noodles with homemade, dried beef jerky.

About 2:30 we made it to the group campground in the vicinity of where we wanted to stay on Death Shelf.  We dropped our packs and explored about 3/4 mile down the trail looking for a better site where John found a nice site nestled behind one huge rock.  When we returned to the group site Carl's backpack had been dragged about 20 feet and Ed's had been moved about 4 feet.  We searched but did not find any footprints and decided that next time we would use the metal, food containers that bears couldn't get into.  Fortunately our packs were not damaged.  As we started back to the site we ran into 2 guys from South Carolina that had just talked to the ranger and he directed them to the SAME spot we had picked out.  Did I mention that we were already pretty tired?  Well we picked up the pace and we arrived at about the same time as the 2 guys where Ed went into action and used his charm to convince the South Carolinians to let us have the "good" spot.  Well, those of you that know Ed realize that he has no charm, he pulled out the "female" card and told them that she just couldn't go on.  We also decided that it must have been the ranger that moved our packs.

September 12, 2000 (8.3 miles) - We woke to glorious, sunny, brilliant blue skies and 41 degrees.  A great day awaited us - unlike the weather the previous two days.  We stopped at Sunet Lake to have a leisurely lunch to prepare for our 1000 foot assent through Hurricane Pass.  The temperature warmed to 60 degrees  We hiked at a very slow, deliberate pace until we reached Hurricane Pass which took us to a height of 10,520 - the highest any of had ever been - where we had a spectacular view of the Grand Teton.  We met a group of three guys coming from the other direction who lived in Tuscon, AZ.  They took our picure with the Grand Teton behind us.  Just after Hurricane Pass we came upon School House Glacier and at the bottom of it was a morraine filled with water.  Unfortunately, becuase it was not 4:00 pm we could not explore the glacier and still get to camp on time.  As it turned out we didn't arrive to camp unitl aobut 6:00 pm - all dead tired.

September 13, 2000 ( 5 miles) - We started hiking at 9:00 this morning with the temperature at 45 degrees which very quickly rose to 60 degrees.  After hiking 3 miles we rested next to Cascade stream whihc is fed with snow melt for the glacier.  We all took a refreshing bath in the cold water (no not all together).  It is amazing how good you feel after rinsing off in just cold water.  We found a remote control for a camera on the trail - most likely belonging to a group we had run into earlier in the day.  We picked it up to return to them or to the ranger when we got in.

September 14, 2000 (7.2 miles) -  Our last day - generally it is such  a great feeling - however last night we had a bear attack.  About 9:30 pm, after we had spent a bunch of time hanging our food bags - the bears attacked.  Our food was strung between two small (but the biggest we could find) trees on a nylon cord.  The mother bear sent the baby bear (starting to sound like a preverted version of Goldilock) up one of the trees to pull the cord down until the mother could stand on her back legs and grab the sacks with her claws.  She then proceeded, for what seemed like two hours, to rip to shreds our daypacks which were holding our food. The caribiner and cord would not break and when the mother let go of the sacks the remaining contents went flying as though it was a pinata that had just been broken.  The two bears cubs could then be heard squeeling and fighting over the food.  Ed and Carl were sitting in their tent watching all this unfold no more than 30 feet away (note to self: hang food further away from tent in the future).

Carl was real cold so he put on his polar fleece, pants, gloves, stocking cap and crawled into his sleeping bag but the shivering continued.  He decided that it must be fear  Ed and Carl's prearranged strategy was to shine headlamps at the bears and make lots of noise hitting the tent (to appear big) if the bears headed for the tent.  One of the cubs came at the tent and we only had to shine the light to make it change course - towards John and Kay's tent.  After waiting 5 minutes Carl and Ed left the tent to ensure John and Kay were alright. Come to find out the bears had only left their site about a minute before we showed up.  The bears had sniffed around their tent and scared Kay spitless (like Carl was all composed and brave).  The bears had sniffed John backpack and removed an empty ziplock bag that had previously held oatmeal.

Fortunatley this was our last day so we only have to miss breakfast before we could have our next meal.  Kay was still frightened and set a blistering pace to get to the car.  On the mostly flat and uneventful walk out we spied a moose, a mule deer and several white tails.  We also provided some trail magic to day hikers that needed help with blisters.  We turned the camera remote control we found earlier to the ranger station and about 30 minutes later ran into the group we thought it might belong to and it did!  They retrieved it from the ranger.