I am continuing with my story from this past summer, as I was cycling from Baltimore, MD to Portland, OR with my 4K for Cancer team. You can read the previous installments here:
Part 2- Back to Jackson, WY
Part 1- Life Updates
July 20th was our rest day in Jackson, WY. I was really looking forward to spending a day here since it's a mecca for everything outdoorsy. They have it all: mountain biking, rafting, hiking, rock climbing, skiing in the winter. The Tetons in the backdrop of our campsite was calling my name, and I knew that I wanted to spend the day hiking into the mountains. Being in proximity to the grandeur of the Tetons enthralled me. We had spent over a month and a half to get to this point of the trip, and being here was pretty unbelievable. We biked to the fucking Tetons. In the beginning of the trip, when we were fighting headwinds and boredom cycling through the Midwest, I would frequently ask myself why we were going across the country the hard way. The winds travel west to east, so going with the wind would've made our lives a lot easier. As if cycling across the country wasn't enough of a challenge. But once we really got to the west, I understood. The incredible views of the mountains that we wake up to every morning is pretty great reward.
The night before rest days, we usually have fun exploring the town and end up going to bed late since we can afford to sleep in the next day. It was no different in Jackson, and we sat around the campfire late into the night, which meant that no one wanted to get up in the morning. When everyone finally emerged from their tents and figured out what we wanted to do, it was already pretty late in the morning. Some people planned on heading into town to get lunch and do some shopping. Marge, Chris, Max, Ryan, and I decided we wanted to go on a hike. About 7 miles up the mountain to reach a peak, with over 3000 feet of elevation gain. And since it took forever to get everyone organized, we ended up starting the hike around noon. Not the best start to the day.
Despite our late start, we figured that we would still have enough time to finish the hike and planned to have the van pick us up by 8pm at the latest. Since we were camping and didn't have electricity, most of our phones were low on battery. We turned them off to conserve battery so that we could call the van when we needed a ride back to the campground.
The trail went around a couple of lakes at the foot of the mountain, then started winding up a lot of switchbacks. As we ascended, the trees were getting more and more sparse, and the view was getting better and better. I would pause every now and then to take it all in (and catch my breath).
The trail ended as it approached a boulder field in Garnet Canyon, and that's when we decided to get off the path, cross the boulder field and across a stream to get to a peak on the other side. We were planning on going up Nez Perce as far as we could.
After climbing up the grassy slope, there was a leveled out section where we stopped to rest and take pictures. We were getting close to the summit on one side, and the other side was a spectacular view of the canyon, lakes, and the valley.
Again from this picture, you can see the trail on the opposite side of where we were. That's how far we were off the trail.
After resting for a bit, Ryan, Marge, and Max wanted to continue on to see how high up they could climb. I was feeling a bit nervous after climbing the last section, so I decided to take it easy and stay behind with Chris. I explored the area a bit, took more pictures and video with my GoPro, and sat back to enjoy the view. With my feet hanging off the edge and looking at how far away the trail head was, I thought how great it would be to turn into an eagle and just soar down the mountain. It would be so easy.