Hi! I’m writing to you from Teton Village, Wyoming. It’s a small ski-resort near Jackson, Wyoming.
First, thanks for following along and sorry for the lack of blog updates. I’ve been mostly posting to Instagram – www.instagram.com/jackjoneshg and YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOVv1zGOyziaydXRuaEpjWF60Dsjo4Z2k
I’ll catch you up in this post about everything that’s happened in the first month and a half of the hike.
I want to thank Doug and Linda and Xiao as new patrons on Patreon and Nancy, Nelson, Andrzej, Brad, and Dave for continuing to support the journey on Patreon. If you enjoy the content and want to help make these trips more sustainable for me please visit https://www.patreon.com/user?u=5796017
Glacier National Park
Butte to Big Sky Supercutoff
Yellowstone National Park
We entered into Yellowstone National Park via the Sky Rim trail. The trail straddles the ridge that divides YNP from the national forest to the north. This trail was BRUTALLY hard. Just like the AT it climbed to the top of every peak for no discernable reason and often the trail was straight up with no switchbacks. FlyBy, used to the gentler grades of the PCT started having achilles pains during this section and they have still not abated.
From the Sky Rim trail we dropped down into Yellowstone National Park proper and into the small village of Mammoth, WY. Mammoth was small but had everything we needed – a campground, a store with food, beer, and ice-cream, and a post-office.
I arrived in town at 5:30pm on a Friday minutes after the Post Office closed for the weekend. This meant that I’d need to hitch BACK to Mammoth on Monday in order to pick up a resupply box and a pair of shoes. What a pain. But the next day as we were walking past the post office to get back on trail I saw a mailman open the doors and walk outside with a box. I sprinted to him, explained my situation, and he was kind enough to give me my boxes! As always, the trail provides.
We hiked through very diverse country in Yellowstone. First through black canyon following the Yellowstone river, then down through the Yellowstone Grand Canyon where we saw spectacular water falls, across west around Mary Mountain which was a flat, hot, and boring section and finally south into the very active thermal area of Old Faithful.
Old Faithful itself was super underwhelming. Throngs of tourists and really not a scenic geyser. However that night I was able to catch Lone Star Geyser in action just after the sun had set. This was much more spectacular, the water shot over 40ft high and plumes of steam rose into the night to a backdrop of a new moon and Mars.
From Lone Star we briefly rejoined the official CDT before splitting off to the southeast in order to hike through the Teton mountains. The official CDT bypasses the Tetons but we all wanted to see these mountains.
Unfortunately I hurt my ankle during this section. From Instagram:
Our last day in #Yellowstone I must have kicked a rock or a root really hard. I don’t remember when I did it but toward the middle of the day my ankle developed a pain that continued to build throughout the day. As best as I can figure I must have kicked something hard and hyperextended the tendon that connects my foot to the my shin muscle because that’s what hurts and is swollen.
Unfortunately on our route there was just NOTHING after Yellowstone until Jackson, WY, so I had to do three 30 mile days on the swollen ankle over the ridiculously rugged terrain of the #Tetons. I couldn’t have picked three worse days to be walking on an ankle injury as the trail in many places is just sideways or filled with irregular shaped rocks causing all sorts of ankle rolling movement. The two hour downhill climb of that cliff yesterday was especially bad for it as it forced the damaged tendon to extend in a way it really didn’t want to extend.
So I’ve been resting in Jackson. Yesterday I did two hitches, one with a mother and daughter from BC, Canada to Moose Junction and then to Jackson with two mountaineers climbing the Tetons. They were from Cali. It’s really cool how comfortable I am with just sticking out a thumb and hitching now. It used to give me a lot of anxiety on the AT. Now I’m confident I can get anywhere by hitching if needed. The growth is neat.
I’ll skip the last bit of the Teton Crest trail and hike outta here tomorrow with FlyBy @mikaelaosler then do a short day to a hotsprings the next day. It works out because I can rest while she finishes the Tetons and thus we won’t get separated. B took a different route through and is now a day ahead. That will be two days off and two short days so I’m hoping that will give it enough time to heal, at least to the point that I’m not damaging it more by hiking on it.
The Tetons are hands down the most amazing mountains I’ve hiked in. Just spectacular. Like places in Utah these mountains simply look fake. As if they’re lifted from a painting or video game but they can’t possibly be real.
As always the photos simply cannot capture the experience of being 10,000ft high and walking through these mountains. Hiking through the Tetons will be an experience that I treasure for the rest of my life. Here’s another excerpt from Instagram:
jackjoneshgLook. At. This. View.
Breaking chronology to share this pic from the #teton crest trail yesterday.
Our path took us up and over a pass at 10,400 ft, cross county and then down 1,400ft on what was essentially a moderately steep cliff face. It was the most difficult hiking of the #CDT by far and possibly beats southern Maine for pure unadulterated meanness.
It took us almost 4 hours to cover just ~3 miles of ground. At the top of the pass we climbed over a big jumble of boulders while sheer dropoffs of 500-1000 ft loomed directly to our left.
Descending from 10,400 to 9,035 to solitude lake was super sketchy. Most of that descent was made on our butts in a crab walk. There were also a few sections that required actual downclimbing and at one point I had to traverse 10ft to leave a stream bed that had gotten too wet and slick. That traverse was heart stopping. I was right on the edge of losing my center of gravity and simply falling down the mountain. A fall probably wouldn’t have killed me but it would have been 50-100ft of being banged up on sharp rocks before crashing to a stop on more sharp rocks.
In the end FlyBy and I made it to the lake safely at 6pm then flew down another 9 miles to reach a campsite around 1030. In total we did 30.3 miles and hiked for 15.5 hours nonstop.
So now we’re more or less caught up! The next step is to hike through a wilderness area to get back on the official CDT then go south through the Winds, finish up Wyoming, go through the San Juans in Colorado, then blaze through New Mexico and finish this second long trail!
Thanks for reading. As always I love to hear feedback and comments from you. Especially on the videos, anything you’d like to see more of, less of, what’s interesting, what’s not, thanks again!!
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