The Grand Tetons and Yellowstone

The Grand Tetons and Yellowstone

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Jun 8, 2010
Activities Activities: Hiking
Seasons Season: Spring

Tetons/Yellowstone Overview

The second week of June, after three weeks in Utah decided to spend our last week wandering through the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. Since the last three weeks before this we had averaged 15-20 miles every day hiking and canyoneering in southern Utah, we wanted a week to "warm down"

As soon as we got past Rock Springs our nice continuous sunny days were gone. It was a very cold and rainy spring all over the mountain west last May/June. It started raining and didn't stop. Why did we go up there again??

Oh yeah, to try for some easy hikes in the Tetons and Yellowstone.

That didn't go very well either though.

Day 1 Alaska Basin

So we drove over Teton Pass and made it to Driggs, Idaho. The weather was starting to look better as we got to the Teton Canyon campground where the trail-head for Alaska Basin is.

Keep in mind all we had was dry weather gear. Dry weather shoes, clothes etc.
After about a mile up the trail our feet were soaked from all the lingering snow and meltwater that was absolutely everywhere. The river was raging to the point of death if you fell in. It was a nice afternoon though with fast moving cumulus clouds and warm temperatures.

We were forced to turn around when our shoes (we only had simple, breathable hiking shoes as we were in the beautiful sunny southern Utah before) were literally filled with water.

So back to the car we made our way back to Driggs where we had very high quality burgers for dinner.
On our way out there was a great view to the east of the backside of the Tetons.
Tetons WestTetons West from Alta, Wyoming. The Grand is just hiding in the clouds

Camped in a random forest

Day 2 and 3; A rainy experience

It was this day that I found out my tent was a very good tent. It rained hard all day the previous night. We were so reluctant to get out and pack up that by noon we were still in the tent and it was still raining. We were still dry inside though which is why I now really love my tent!

This apparently wasn't an unusual sight in this part of the country last spring. Talking to the locals the day before it had been rainy like that for 2 months, all of April and May and stretching into June.

We didn't do much that day. Getting everything into the car was a chore in itself!

We drove back over Teton Pass in the rain and ate in Jackson. We were very disappointed that we couldn't see the Tetons as we made our way north on the road. A small break in the rain allowed for a short walk around Jenny Lake but nothing worth taking a photo over. It soon started raining again and we went to the Colter Marina to spend the night.

Amazingly it started clearing up later that afternoon and the sun came out.
We decided to take a nice hike out to parts of Jackson Lake that overlook the Tetons.
The sunset was great!
Jackson lakeReflection on the lake at Colter Marina

Day 4

We woke up early to a cold morning but what we had hoped for the last 3 days had finally came true. We got our Jackson Lake Sunrise Reflection that is so famous. We hiked out to Hermatige Point as sat for at least 3 hours watching the sun rise on the Tetons upon a very calm Jackson Lake.
Tetons SunriseTetons sunrise from Jackson Lake

Tetons at SunriseTetons sunrise from Jackson Lake

Grand TetonsTetons sunrise from Jackson Lake

I knew the Tetons had some impressive relief but when I finally saw how big they are I was amazed. Mt. Moran just towered over everytihng!
Mt. MoranMt. Moran at sunrise

The Grand TetonThe Grand Teton

Since we woke early enough we also saw wildlife. We were the only ones at the point all morning and didn't see people until we were within a mile of the marina. That morning made the week worth it.

Since it was sunny, there were hoards of people at and around Colter Marina when we returned around noon. However I know that we were one of three groups of people to see that magnificent sunrise other than the people staying in the houses at the marina. That huge parking lot was almost empty at 5am that day and when we returned at noon there were hundreds of cars!
Absolutely insane. We left there quick and drove north to Yellowstone where we camped just outside the boundary. Some road work between the two parks made things interesting.

Day 5 Yellowstone

I am very disappointed about Yellowstone and I may never go back. The beautiful day 4 was almost ruined when we were told upon entering Yellowstone from the south that the entire southern half of the park was closed except for the roads.

Why? because of the bears or something. After a VERY long argument with the ranger about how he had just ruined our plans to do a two night backpack, he capped his argument saying people will be arrested if they are caught anywhere off the main roads in the southern half of the park.

This is ridiculous!!! Then just to add more insult he says all the campgrounds are closed all the way to Yellowstone Lake.

The improving weather was making me excited but after that it was ruined.

We were stuck to staying on the boardwalks of the people ridden geyser fields. Stuff I have already seen.

In my opinion, the NPS has ruined most of Yellowstone with all the restrictions. If people know the risks about bears and know how to respect them and are comfortable on taking that risk, they should be let to go where they want. Because of this Yellowstone is NOT an area that is backpacker friendly. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

However, I did get some nice artistic photos of the geysers and attractions at Yellowstone.

Lower Yellowstone FallsYellowstone Falls from Artist Point

Buffalo!Large Buffalo Herd

Norris GeysersNorris Geyser Basin

Geyser ColorsNorris Geyser Basin

Blue GeysersGeysers

Mt. HolmesDistant Mt. Holmes; We had planned to climb that during our time here guessed was closed!

Yellowstone SunsetYellowstone Sunset

I was happy with these photos however since the last time I wandered through the geysers I didn't have a camera.

We left a day early since we couldn't hike anywhere of significant distance. We exited out West Yellowstone where I had another long talk with the rangers there voicing my opinion. Again, they didn't seem to care.

Next time I go to the area, I am going to explore the Absaroka, Wind River, Madison, Beartooth, Wyoming, Gallatin and Teton Mountain Ranges where dumb restrictions don't exist.

I'm starting this summer with 10 days in the Winds and can't wait!


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