Happy New Year Everybody!

In honor of my mild post-Christmas depression and the gloomy weather, let’s go back to last summer when I had boots on my feet and the sun on my back.

I explored several spectacular trails in 2014 but my favorite was Cascade Canyon in the Grand Tetons.

Looking across Jenny Lake at Cascade Canyon
Looking across Jenny Lake at Cascade Canyon

Carved by ancient glaciers and featuring several landmarks, this hike is what you make of it. For 2$, you can take a boat across the lake and have a brief walk up to Inspiration Point, or you can walk around the lake and up into the canyon, all the way to the famed Teton Crest Trail.  I chose to hike around the lake, with stops at Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point before walking deeper into the canyon.

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The views were jaw-dropping. Every step I took drew me further and further toward the heart of the Tetons. The mountain peaks were impossibly high above me, capped with a picturesque smattering of snow even in August,and the canyon floor was rich and green. I ate lunch on the banks of Cascade Creek which fed by the numerous waterfalls that tumbled down the mountainsides. Basically, everywhere I looked was dazzling. Cradled in the valley, the trail is not particularly challenging, the elevation gain was very little once I passed Inspiration point. I assume the further in one gets, the steeper it gets.

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Fortunately/unfortunately, I saw very few animals. Several helpful signs along the trail remind you that this is Grizzly Country. It’s a popular hike, but by the time you reach the canyon it’s easy to find precious solitude and simultaneously start imagining bears around every corner.  I was calmed by the fact that I was carrying bear spray and that bears don’t seem to enjoy loud conversations about how beautiful their neighborhood is. I also did not see any moose, though the ranger I spoke to prior to the hike said that they love the area.

Bears!
Bears!

I did see two Pika who were very cheerful and posed for photographs before scampering into their rocky dens. As far as other hikers go there were a decent amount. I ran into two backpackers; one man had a giant machete strapped to his chest, the other had every solar phone-charging device known to man festooned  to his pack. I also saw a group of intrepid trail runners who ended up passing me twice. The rest were various iterations of day hikers. As I said before, despite the amount of other people on the trail, there were moments when I felt like I was alone.

Happy Pika
Happy Pika

As I turned around to head back to camp, dark clouds started rolling in, bringing the promise of a drenching rain. I was able to reach the boat dock as it began to come down. I thankfully was able to hop on the boat pretty quickly so I did not get too soaked.

I would recommend this hike to anyone visiting the Tetons. It offers amazing views, the potential for great wildlife watching and is as challenging as you want it to be.

As far as Wonderland Training has gone, the holidays have allowed for no training and too much indulgence.

Hike stats of 2015-

Trail- None yet!

Miles- 0

Pack Weight- 0

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