Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mister Bill does the Main Salmon

Just finished a great Main Salmon trip with friends from Boise. The water level was really fun, the weather was perfect. Mister Bill came along and took all the abuse so we didn't have to. Pictures will have to wait until we get home in a few days. thanks to the entire Boise crew!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Cascade Canyon Forks

I hadn't seen Paul and Pam since the tail end of ski season. They were planning to hike up Cascade Canyon and climb Guides Wall. The climbing part didn't interest me, but it was a good excuse to hike in with them, catch up on what they've been up to, and mingle with the crowds in Cascade Canyon on a gorgeous day in mid-July. My plan was to see how far up the South Fork I could go before the snow got annoying, and maybe do the same up the North Fork.

As usual, Cascade Canyon is looking spectacular. There is a lot of water flowing in the creek. Here's a view of the cascade coming out of Valhalla Canyon.
At the forks I turned left and headed up the South Fork. Hate to admit it, but that is the first time I've been up South Cascade. It's gorgeous, and I had the place to myself until after I had turned around and was halfway back down. Here is a look at the northwest side of the Middle Teton.

 At about 8600' the trail was completely snow-covered, so I turned around there, went back down to the forks, and headed up the North Fork.
As usual, there were a lot more hikers in the North Fork. At the bottom of the camping zone, about 8200', the trail was mostly snow-covered. I decided that was a good place to turn around for the day.

On the way out, I stopped at the moose ponds to refill my water bottle and have a snack. Paul and Pam arrived about five minutes later, we couldn't have timed it any better if we had tried. We hiked out together, and declared victory with drinks on the deck at Dornan's. Another gorgeous day in the Tetons!

Cream Puff Peak (almost)

Another classic hike that I had not done before. In her book Jackson Hole Hikes, Rebecca Woods says this is one of the nicest peak hikes in the southern end of Jackson Hole. It's a bit of a schlep, about 3700' of vertical. It is also a fairly hot hike, mostly southern exposure and not many trees. I figured it would be worth a try, perhaps melted out enough and dried out enough to get to the summit. So much of the high country is still covered in snowpack, I didn't really expect to get all the way there.

The wildflowers are spectacular below about 8500' or so, especially the balsamroot.

The skies were full of cottonwood fluff, and the ground was covered with the stuff. Considering that the nearest cottonwood trees were almost 1000' feet lower, down along the river, I thought that was pretty impressive.

There was no snow to speak of on the trail, only a few very small patches on flat sections in the shade near the top of the ridge; no ice axe required, though I did have mine along. I ended up stopping on top of a small knob about 200 yards away from the top of Cream Puff Peak proper. For some reason, the map in my GPS showed that Cream Puff Peak was a few feet lower than the peak I was on, and I couldn't see any point to going over to a lower peak. As it turns out, that map was in error; I suppose that's what I get for free software. According to the official USGS topo map, Cream Puff is actually about 20 feet higher than the bump I was on. Oh well, that gives me an excuse to go back. Here is the view of Cream Puff Peak from my perch.
The views from here are spectacular, including the Tetons to the northwest...
... and Jackson Hole.
 The Wind Rivers are in the distance to the east
 Looking to the northeast...
 And more gorgeous views along the way...

Monday, July 4, 2011

First Tram for the Summer

Jill and I wanted to do some uphill hiking, and decided on Teton Village. We figured we would hike uphill until the trail got too snowy for us, and then hike back down. Little did we know, the ski resort had plowed/dug out the road earlier this summer, so the hiking trail was snow-free all the way to the top.

There is still a lot of snow up high. All of the in-bounds area is closed to skiing, but there is certainly enough snow!  Tower 3 Chute is snow-covered top to bottom...
And the snow in Laramie Bowl is also impressive
Bivouac and Cheyenne Bowl are well-covered
 Rendesvous Bowl had melted out more than I was expecting. But hey, it is the Fourth of July. The snow depth at the Raymer station (9300') is 44 inches, and that has dropped by 5 inches in the last 24 hours.

Of course we rode the tram back down, but we did get 4139' of uphill.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Full-On Summer

Okay, it is definitely summer. A high of 88 degrees (!!) at the airport. Only a little bit of a breeze. The rivers are still too high and muddy for my taste. Time to get the sea kayaks out of the garage! We headed to Jackson Lake, launched at Spalding Bay and paddled the bay around almost to South Landing. For the first day of paddling this season, that was enough.

We drove north to Jackson Lake Lodge, hoping to see some bear activity (not successful) and in search of a huckleberry milkshake (successful).  We topped it off with dinner on the deck at Dornan's. Yay, summer!