Amazing Treks

Backcountry Hiking in Grand Teton National Park

Wednesday, August 14 –

Early this morning, my Dad drove my brother and me to Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park. We caught the earliest small pedestrian boat shuttle across from the south shore to the western side of the lake and to the Cascade Canyon trailhead. Dad would ascend with us to Hidden Falls, but he didn’t want to hold us up as we had a 22-mile hike to complete before sunset that would ascend 4,500 feet. Hidden Falls, located on Cascade Creek, drop 100 feet, near the eastern end of Cascade Canyon.

After we stopped to admire the views, Dad caught up and bid us adieu before our journey. We began our hike up the steep Cascade Canyon Trail, one of the most heavily used hiking trails in the park. We hiked for 4.5 miles to the junction of the north and south Cascade Canyon trails.

The long climb up

The long climb up

From there, we headed south down the South Fork Cascade Canyon Trail to Hurricane Pass, which was 5.1 miles up. The north trail, which we did not take, heads up to Lake Solitude and Paintbrush Divide. At various points of the day, we had unique views of the Teewinot Mountain and Mount Owen to the south and The Jaw and Rock of Ages to the north. One interesting thing was many of the peaks were not visible until we hiked deep into the canyon.

Heading up the Cascade Canyon Trail

Heading up the Cascade Canyon Trail

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The approach to Hurricane Pass

Just below Hurricane Pass, we hiked to the small Schoolroom Glacier, about 100 years away via a short side trail. Dad, Jeff and I had backpacked to Hurricane Pass from the other side – Alaska Basin – 10 years earlier via the Teton Crest Trail. This was a different approach, but we drank the beauty in all again from the 10,338 feet pass. The views of the western side of the Cathedral group were an extraordinary place for our late lunch. We also saw the Alaska Basin and Battleship Moutain. Since we climbed so quickly, we both had headaches and altitude sickness after climbing 4,500 feet so quickly.

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View from Hurricane Pass

We made good time on our descent. Unfortunately, when we arrived back at the lake we missed the last shuttle boat. We already had blisters – Jeff’s feet were torn up – so this meant an uncomfortable extra 2 miles. Dad had been getting a little worried but was glad to see us back. It was a long 24-mile day of serious climbing.

Needless to say, we had a serious appetite. We went to a place called the Gunbarrel and ate a huge meal of wild game for dinner. We had elk, buffalo, lamb and a lot of mixed meats. Totally filling after a long day on the trails!

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