This morning I set my sites on another mountain summit. This was a hike the couple of met while hiking Mt. Washburn (the woman whose father worked at Yellowstone) recommended. So I woke early, made/ate breakfast and headed east. Like yesterday, this morning began with another amazing sunrise…..
On my way to the hike I came across another crystal clear lake….Sylvan Lake. I had to stop, take a few pictures and enjoy the stillness and peacefulness of this pristine lake….
As I mentioned yesterday, one of the recommendations when hiking in bear country is to hike in groups of 3 or more. Another is not to hike at dawn, dusk or night. So as I drove to the trail this morning that was on my mind. When I arrived at the trailhead there was one car in the parking area. When I parked I noticed there were two people sitting in the car. I got out and the couple got out of their car and asked if I was going to hike this trail. When I said yes they immediately asked if they could hike with me. And there you go, problem solved….ask and ye shall receive. 🙂 And it gets even cooler as we began to talk and I found out their names were Cinzia Biondini and Lele Fusi and they were from Switzerland (south near Italy). In case you’re not aware I worked for a Swiss company for 18 years and have been to, and hiked in, Switzerland many times. And just to make things more perfect it turns out they are great, strong hikers (I expected it as most Swiss are good at hiking). So it was a perfect match.
So as for hike….oh wait, I haven’t even told you the destination yet…oops! Today I am hiking Avalanche Peak (Images). While it’s not long at all (4.2 miles) it gains a little over 2000′ in just 2 miles, so it’s a decent climb. We hiked pretty fast and my new friends were right behind almost all the way. We had a good conversation during the hike talking about traveling, work, Switzerland, the US and (of course) places we have hiked. She had spent some time in the US several years ago and was familiar with many areas of the US.
For the first 45 minutes or so we hiked through thick forest yelling, “Hey Bear!” every two minutes or so. 🙂 About half way up we started to get above the treeline and we could tell the view up here was going to be awesome! We stopped for a minute to catch our breath and take in the view…..
We continued up for another 10 minutes or so and, man-oh-man, what a fantastic view! I seriously believe this is one of the best views I have ever seen from a summit (maybe the best). And the clear blue skies certainly added to the beauty all around us. We spent roughly an hour at the top just walking around, taking pictures and soaking it in. Two thumbs up for Avalanche Peak!!!
I know that none of us wanted to leave this place but after a few last pictures we reluctantly (there I go again) started back down. When we reached the parking area we exchanged contact information, said our goodbyes and carried on with our day.
In case you are not familiar with this area, for all intent and purposes Yellowstone is more-or-less connected to Grand Teton Natonal Park. There is a brief area of wilderness during the drive on the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway between them but it’s very brief. After you officially enter Grand Teton the first thing you come to is Jackson Lake. It is a large and very beautiful lake with the Teton mountain range just behind it….
I continued south to the Colter Bay Visitors Center to get a park map and some back country information. While I was there I also checked the weather forecast, since I had been out of cell service for the past 3 days, and unfortunately it was not good. The forecast was for rain and even snow (9+ inches above 9,000) for the next 3 days with temperatures dropping into the low 30/upper 20 at night. This is NOT what I wanted to see! At this point it was too late in the day to get a back country permit…and to be honest, I wasn’t overly excited to hike in for 2 or 3 days at this point with this weather forecast. So I continued south and tried to make the most of this “last day” of good weather.
I drove through Jackson Lake Junction and up on Signal Mountain where I got a good view of the Teton range. Unfortunately the smoke from the western fires was pretty thick today so the viability was not great but hey, it was still the Tetons.
From here I continued south through Jenny Lake Junction (Images) and on to the Moose Junction Visitors Center. I spent some time reading through the exhibits and watching the short video on the park. After this I headed on down to Jackson WY (Images).
Now, you’ve probably heard it called both Jackson and Jackson Hole. Here is the difference….Jackson is the town that is located in the Jackson Hole Valley. So basically “Jackson Hole” is the entire valley from the town of Jackson to the north end of Jackson Lake. And now you know. 🙂
I spent a little time in Jackson walking around, checking things out and had a decent meal at Bubba’s BBQ. I was here several years ago but quickly passed through so I never really had a chance to check anything out. It hasn’t changed much. Just more tourist. 🙂
To view many more pictures related to this blog click here: US & Canada 2017 Pics – Wyoming
To view ALL videos related to this blog click here: US & Canada 2017 Videos