You may have read about my new lightweight EOS M3 Since I was going to be out for 5 days, weight was a significant factor. All these photos were taken on the M3 with the ef-m 18-55mm lens. I don’t feel like I missed much in photo quality, and I certainly saved a lot in weight!
(here is the route we followed recommended by backpacker.com – somehow we racked up 58 miles instead of the estimated 51)
From your arrival in Teton National Park, you’re overwhelmed with beauty that is hardly subtle. The majestic views that grace most of the park postcards are visible from the main park road. You could never leave your car and take home beautiful photos of mountains rising over a mile high above the park entrance with craggy snow capped tops and year round glaciers.
If you’re looking for more of an adventure, as you head into the backcountry you quickly find out that the 18hr+ drive from the midwest was the easy part; we ended our first day of hiking exhausted and out of breath with a cliff side campsite at around 9500ft above sea level and our first 11 miles under our belts.
The next two days I can only describe as walking through a carpet of wild flowers. The photos do no justice to what it is like to walk through nearly 20 unbroken miles of the best garden I have ever seen. I couldn’t grow these flowers if I tried, but on these mountain sides they seem to go on forever. They were all different combinations of colors; sometimes dominated by one or two types and other times an explosion of 20 different types all in one field. There is something so special about walking waist deep in flowers for hours on end.
On our third day, still surrounded by wildflowers we headed out across a huge open plain back dropped by the snow capped peaks the park is famous for. By mid afternoon, as a 2000ft climb approached, it began to be clear that the sunshine would be overtaken by dark rain clouds. After pushing through the most strenuous climb attempting to outrun any lighting, we pushed over the bare exposed pass and down into lush valley just as thunder began to clap overhead.
In the fog and rain, the photos don’t even begin to reflect the experience. The valley 1500ft below us stretched out for several miles surrounded on all sides by steep rocky walls running with waterfalls. Water seemed to come from nowhere rushing out from piles of rock or from beneath small glaciers lining the canyon walls. Below, in the canyon the waterfalls join together into a dozen streams and then one rushing river that carves through a landscape of lush grass, wildflowers and pines. The only sound above the rushing water are peals of thunder echoing wonderfully down the canyon.
The next day we started the morning hiking up to a glacier at the top of the canyon and then following the melted snow over 10 miles as it trickled, fell and then rushed down the canyon dropping 2700ft in the process.
As we followed the water the landscape of the park changed. The flowers faded and as we began to climb up towards the next pass we were greeted with expansive views, more glaciers and a few mountain lakes. Once again heading down the the other side of the pass we headed into a canyon full of rushing water. We picked our final campsite with a view Jackson Lake and a little bit of civilization way off in the distance. When we woke in the morning the lake which had been pretty the night before was aglow with the rising sun and was giving off wisps of fog broken by pine covered islands. For me that sunrise was the pinnacle to what had already been an amazing week.