Welcome back to the third and final part of our #mtnboundbonds series heading down from Yellowstone, WY into the Grand Tetons where we spent 4 days and 3 nights backpacking the Teton Crest Trail. After finishing out our trek we started our drive back home making a final stop in the absolutely beautiful little town of Coeur D’Alene, ID for a much needed night of fun and relaxation. If you missed the first two parts of #mtnboundbonds feel free to catch up on our adventures in Glacier National Park and Yellowstone before reading on!
So by the time we finally made it to the Grand Tetons it was pitch black out. This was primarily because of the roundabout way we had to go because of all of the forest fires occurring. Needless to say, it was a bummer to not see the mountains we were going to be backpacking in, but we fell asleep excited for what the next day would bring! Upon waking up we realized yet again that the smoke from the forest fires was desperately trying to ruin our plans. We knew we were surrounded by the Tetons, but we woke up not being able to see much other than the white peaks barely pushing through the thick smoke all around us. Our throats hurt from breathing it in and that “bummed” feeling started rising to the surface. But we held it at bay as we knew yet again that we would get more answers at the Ranger station about the current conditions and would try to maintain hope until then! We quickly packed up and headed that way. Upon entering the Ranger station we were immediately put at ease as we told the Ranger how many days we had and what trails we were looking into, and he quickly got excited telling us exactly what he would do with those days without even a word about the weather conditions. Apparently forest fires are quite the normal thing and I know they would have warned us if there were health risks involved. So back and forth James and the Ranger go as he whips up our route, starts issuing the backcountry permit, and explains the “leave no trace” rules we were all too familiar with. It kind of felt like a whirlwind, but we came out of the station with a plan- a plan, however, that I was a little nervous about because it involved something I had never done before….Hitchhiking.
The Ranger had advocated us driving down to our start point where we would need to grab a lift ticket to take us to where our trail would begin. We would then hike 40+ miles of beautiful backcountry to the completion of our permit and then hitchhike ourselves back down to our car. He said it so simply that it just sounded like it was the thing you did there. My uncomfortableness remained, but I managed to get over it in a little bit and at least give it a try- but only if we hitchhiked first. There’s no way I wanted to come out of 4 days backpacking tired and smelly and try to get someone to cart us to our car. So I grabbed a paper plate and wrote our destination on it, and we walked on out to the road praying for some sweet souls to get us to the lift. We weren’t out there for 5 minutes before a Ranger stopped by and told us he could take us about halfway there to which we were grateful for and jumped on in! Upon him dropping us off again we waited for about half an hour before Josh stopped (pictured below) by and motioned us to come on in! He stopped only a couple hundred feet later to grab another pair of hitchhikers- Himay and Abel who just so ended up doing the same trail as us. Score. I can now say that I have hitchhiked and it wasn’t a horrible experience.
Josh took us all the way to the lift and we hopped on thoroughly enjoying seeing all of the elevation gain we didn’t have to hike slowly disappear from view. 🙂 Soon we were at just over 10,000 ft of elevation and began our journey on the Teton Crest Trail…
The Teton Crest Trail quickly turned into our favorite backpacking trip yet. Though the altitude bit us early on (we were always around 9-10,000 ft) the trails were stunning beyond belief. Wide open pathways through alpine meadows, pristine lakes, boulder fields, and basins made the hefty mileage at times seem minimal. There was never a dull moment as ours eyes were continually scanning trying to take in the vast amount of beauty around us. The weather was chilly but the rays of the sun helped warm our bodies while we walked. Never had we been so enamored by our surroundings. It was surreal and stunning.
In the right half of the photo below you are seeing the Grand Teton, the Middle Teton, and the South Teton. This is at the top of Hurricane Pass and was quite the reward to see once coming over!
Gah! They are just so stunning!
Meet Himay and Abel! Pictured on the right.
James’ watch is built for outdoor recreation and is able to track our every move while in the backcountry. There’s a fun feature that actually creates a video of our trek and it’s one of our favorite things to watch once we’re done! So feel free to have a gander 🙂
After we came back out of the backcountry we started heading toward our final stop : Coeur D’Alene, ID. We had reserved a historical bed and breakfast in the downtown area and loved every minute of staying there! We arrived in Coeur D’Alene earlier than expected so we spent the day meandering the cute town and even ended up getting to see the local summer theatre perform Disney’s Broadway musical The Little Mermaid. It was excellent by the way! We then ended our trip our favorite way by getting dressed up all nice and enjoying a scrumptious dinner together.
And there you have it my friends!#mtnboundsbonds in three parts! I hoped you enjoyed it 🙂