7/21 day two in the winds. 15 miles. Yeah. 15 miles.
It was a cold night and a little wet too, we continued hiking up little Sandy creek in the morning which was a massive canyon with a little stream running down the middle that somehow over the millions or whatever years carved the sheer 2000+ foot drops to our right and left. I kept thinking the whole area looked a lot like the sierra, but there was a different feel to it. It's a more rugged feel. The trails aren't established completely; you lose the trail every so often, and the peaks are much more prominent than the Sierra. I would have to say this mountain range is highly underrated and pretty unknown to most. We climbed east temple peak and got some great views. We also checked the weather and saw that even tho there were no clouds in sight, a thunderstorm was rolling our way quickly. Typical. Down we went and we passed many alpine lakes as we made our way to jackass pass. Here, we began seeing tons of people. Climbers, families, Boy Scout troops, backpackers. Jackass pass took longer than expected and we barely beat the rain as we created the top. All we wanted was to see the cirque of the towers, and we made it up there for a pretty prime time to see it. Instead of the typical blue skies contrasting the surrounding gray granite, deep gray clouds surrounded the almost same color granite peaks and made for a very vivid view of the surrounding cirque of the towers; the gem of the winds, jagged peak after jagged peak forming a large bowl that makes you want to stay the rest of the day. And we did just that. After waiting out the storm for a bit, we could have hiked on, but today we decided to be backpackers, not thru hikers, and we stayed to watch the sunset and sunrise in the morning. Later on, we also convinced Rafiki to stay here who we spent the rest of the evening with. It's nice to be back in places that make you want to stop and stay for a few hours or days.
7/22 29 miles
Leaving the cirque we were rewarded with many different views of the different towers. We even saw some climbers making their way up a crack. We went over Texas pass and were given even more views of jagged towers everywhere around us. We met up with Scatman and MIJ (made in Japan) and began hiking down a river. The afternoon was rather pleasant, we all spread apart and let the east miles roll as the sky threatened to rain but never really did. Towards the end of the day we climbed hat pass and went down to a stream to make a fire and cook the fish Rafiki had caught.
7/23 15 miles
Hiked into pinedale to eat Mexican food and stay for the night.
7/24 27 miles
Easily one of the best days on trail. The northern winds really are where it's at. We got hiking around 11 AM after driving around town with the crew and Twinkles girlfriend who had picked us up from the trailhead the previous day and brought us back. We went back up the trail that we came down and made our way back to the CDT. The scenery just got progressively better each mile today. First we passed some large high alpine lakes to then make our way into a valley of cathedral esque peaks. We made our way back until there was a dead end of cathedrals all around us. Up we went to the Knapsack Col hopping along boulders and climbing loose rock. Soon we were at the top of the pass almost equal to the peaks around us. We then dropped down a large valley to some of the bluest lakes I had ever seen. Pure glacial lakes. I always thought people edited their photos to make them that blue, until I realized it was actually possible to have a lake that blue. We went around cube pass and a new valley opened up that was amazingly grand. Grand is kind of the only word that sums up the thousand of feet of granite on our left and right. There were pillars way above us that looked so impossible that they made the shapes of bunny ears and peace signs. Large rocks that impossibly formed into outrageous shapes. The day began to end and we found a place to camp before the descent to a river in the morning. It was a nice day. One that keeps you moving and stimulated all day because it's just that beautiful.
7/29 So after leaving the winds we were in another transition phase of meandering forest hills. Some of it was pretty, but for the most part it was monotonous. Rafiki and I did a 40 mile day and we ended on a small mountain that gave us a view of the Tetons in the distance. The next day we made it closer to the road that would take us into Dubois. As we got closer, the hitch into Dubois seemed less and less appealing; it was a hot, plain desert down there and it was even illegal to hitch within the city limits. We made it to the road and Rafiki asked me "how hard would it be to convince you to go to Jackson." and I just said, "we're going to Jackson. So we crossed the road to the north end and began hitching to Jackson. The ride in was easily one of the best hitches we have experienced. Two men, John and Seth who knew a good deal about anything outdoors around Jackson and even had sewn their own equipment. We made it to Jackson, and I texted a friend that lives somewhat nearby to tell him I was here and he responded back "dude! I'm going to be in Jackson in a couple hours for a meeting!" Not only was he coming, but he was coming with my best friend Josh from freshman year in college who I hadn't seen for five years. So things were coming together and I was begin to feel time after time that coming to Jackson was a good idea; if not even meant to be. After eating a burger, they picked me up and I tagged along with them. While at the meeting I met my old counselor from the outdoor program I did at through BYU Idaho. I was reminded of times like camping in Teton canyon, getting my car stuck, and having him come yank it out with his car. Later that night we all went swimming in one of the fancy Teton village hotels. We were children, climbing up the fake rocks and trying to find the best routes, but we didn't care. They drove me back to Jackson and Josh played the same slightly stoopid songs that we listened to freshman year and josh and I reminisced about the dumb things we did that year; spraying bear spray in the cabin we lived in, him hiding in the back of my car when I took a girl out, etc...