Teton Crest Trail - August 2018

jdfut66

Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2018
Messages
23
Pre Trip
I didn't decide to do this trip until after all the permits were gone online, so I showed up at the Moose Visitor Center at about 6 AM and I was the second person in line. I drove up the night before from Farmington, UT and slept in my car in Jackson. I was lucky and was able to get the permit for all the spots we wanted! The guys after me weren't so lucky but were flexible in their camping spots.

Day 1
We woke up early and dropped a car off at the String Lake Picnic Area and then headed down for the Tram. We thought about going through Death Canyon instead but figured we’d give ourselves an easier first day. We were up on the second tram and started the hike. Heading toward Marion Lake was beautiful. All the wild flowers were still out and made the place look amazing.

wild flowers.jpg


We passed by a few day hikers and saw some moose from a distance. They were too far for any pictures to turn out well. We stopped at Marion Lake for lunch. I was really tempted to jump in, but didn't end up doing it.

Marion Lake.jpg


As we neared Death Canyon Shelf, it looked like an afternoon storm was blowing in so we picked up the pace. We stopped early on Death Canyon Shelf near a stream. We got lucky and the wind just kept blowing the storm clouds past up.

DC Shelf.jpg


We ended up sharing our camp site with what I think are two bighorn sheep – a baby and mama. We kept our distance but they grew quite comfortable with us and hung around through the morning.

mama.jpg


baby.jpg


Day 2
We started the day off early and about 15 minutes into the hiking we started getting drizzled on. Luckily it never came down real hard and we just continued hiking. Going down into Alaska Basin from the shelf we had some great views. Sunset lake was my favorite spot in the area. We took a little break there. It was beautiful and looked absolutely amazing with all the wild flowers.

sunset.jpg


From there we went through what I think were fields of parsley and humped it up Hurricane Pass.

parsley.jpg


It was a good little hike up the pass and was very windy on top! The original plan was to make camp at one of the early camp sites in South Fork Cascade, but since we were making such good time we ended stopping in the middle of the zone. I didn’t really like the spot - it was incredibly windy, which made setting up my tarp for my hammock difficult and made for not a great night of sleep.

south fork.jpg


Day 3
We started the day off early again and started losing a lot of elevation. I wasn’t too happy about it since I knew we would need to gain it back going up to Paintbrush Divide. Early on into the North Fork Cascade we happened upon a very large female moose that was grazing pretty close to the trail. We were a little worried a male might be hiding around the corner, so we just hung out for a bit as she worked her way away from us and then we carefully followed the trail around a bend. Luckily, she was alone.

Moose.jpg


We made it to Lake Solitude which is a very cool spot. There were two young guys that came in a bit after us and starting diving into the lake. The diving was followed by very girlish screams!

solitude 1.jpg


Hiking up the divide was a good workout. We were feeling pretty good near the top and decided to scramble up some unknown peak just south of the divide and the small ice field. There was a fatty marmot chilling at the very top with a regal pose. It was actually quite funny.

peak views.jpg


We made it down to Holly Lake. Hiking down the other side of the divide was a little sketchy. There was some loose scree that wasn't agreeing with me and I had a little slip on a small snow field crossing. Time and again I find trekking poles saving me! We made camp in spot #2 at Holly Lake. I took a dip/sim in the lake while my brother-in-law took a nap. It felt great. This is another picturesque lake. I'm glad we were lucky enough to be able to camp there.

Holly Lake.jpg


Day 4
We had another very windy night and around 5 am, decided to get some food in us and take off since neither of us were sleeping and we wanted to get home early to see our families. It drizzled on us again on and off until we reached the String Lake Picnic area.

day 4.jpg


Overall, we had a blast. We met some nice people, saw some fun wild life, and enjoyed the scenery immensely. The wild flowers were honestly breath taking. I usually do most my trips late August/Early September to avoid the bugs, so it was quite a treat to see all the flowers. The bugs weren't bad at all. Biting flies were out but not in force and hardly any mozzies to speak of. No grizzly bear sightings, which disappointed me a little bit. I used an Ursack with liner which worked out well and loaned my BV450 to my brother in law.
 

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AKay09

Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2015
Messages
94
Looks really beautiful with all the green and the flowers! Really cool having the sheep hang out with you at camp, pretty jealous of that! Thanks for sharing!
 

tylerhemple

New Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2020
Messages
2
Thanks for your trip report. I am very interested in your trip since it seemed like you hammock camped. How was your camp at Death Canyon Shelf? How was Holly Lake? Did it look like either of those places had ample amount of trees to hang or was it slim pickings? I'm planning a TCT trip and have a couple of hammockers in my group.
 

wabenho

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Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
129
Thanks for your trip report. I am very interested in your trip since it seemed like you hammock camped. How was your camp at Death Canyon Shelf? How was Holly Lake? Did it look like either of those places had ample amount of trees to hang or was it slim pickings? I'm planning a TCT trip and have a couple of hammockers in my group.
I just got off the TCT earlier this week (full TR coming soon). It seemed to me that all the major camp zones (including Marion Lake, Death Canyon Shelf, South and North Fork Cascade, Upper Paintbrush, Holly Lake...) had sufficient trees for hammock camping. You may want to double check the rules with both the National Park and the National Forest (if you think you might be staying in the Jedediah Smith Wilderness area). While camped at Alaska Basin, I watched a ranger ask a young lady to take her hammock down. She was not using it for camping, more just for lounging. Not sure the reason. Maybe too close to the lake?

If you have any other questions as you plan your trip, feel free to reach out. I would be happy to help.
 

tylerhemple

New Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2020
Messages
2
I just got off the TCT earlier this week (full TR coming soon). It seemed to me that all the major camp zones (including Marion Lake, Death Canyon Shelf, South and North Fork Cascade, Upper Paintbrush, Holly Lake...) had sufficient trees for hammock camping. You may want to double check the rules with both the National Park and the National Forest (if you think you might be staying in the Jedediah Smith Wilderness area). While camped at Alaska Basin, I watched a ranger ask a young lady to take her hammock down. She was not using it for camping, more just for lounging. Not sure the reason. Maybe too close to the lake?

If you have any other questions as you plan your trip, feel free to reach out. I would be happy to help.
Thank you for your response! So I reached out to the GTNP rangers and they confirmed what you said, hammocks are totally legal and there is ample trees in majority of areas. They did mention that hammocks, like tents, must be 200 feet away from a trail, so maybe the woman had her hammock to close I suppose. Thank you again for your response!
 

wabenho

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Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
129
Thank you for your response! So I reached out to the GTNP rangers and they confirmed what you said, hammocks are totally legal and there is ample trees in majority of areas. They did mention that hammocks, like tents, must be 200 feet away from a trail, so maybe the woman had her hammock to close I suppose. Thank you again for your response!
Sure thing!

Let me know if I can help any further with your trip planning.
 

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