Thursday, August 3, 2017

Grand Tetons 2017 - Day 2

Jim and Jason on the Teton Crest Trail.

Wildflowers in bloom in Death Canyon.
August 3 - Today we did a loop from the Granite Canyon Trailhead. The plan was to climb up Granite Canyon, run across the Teton Crest Trail, and then come down Death Canyon and back to the trailhead.

As we started, we quickly got into open meadows in the canyon. There were a lot of wildflowers in bloom and it was quite beautiful. Granite Canyon has a more open feel to it than some of the others we were in. About 9 miles into the trek we reached Marion Lake at about 9,200 feet. Of course Jason and I had to get into the lake and go under. It was definitely refreshing (i.e. really cold). Tomorrow we will work on Jim to jump in also. The lakes in general in the high country are so clear and blue. They are definitely one of the signature parts of the Grand Tetons, in my opinion.

Jason running through the wildflowers.
After getting back onto the trail, we climbed the Teton Crest trail to the wide open spine of the Tetons. The views from the crest are amazingly spacious and, although the soil is quite rocky, there are many flowers here also. Eventually we made our way into the opening of Death Canyon and started down.

The top end of Death Canyon is lush with many waterfalls and greenery. The trail is very tight as the foliage is thick and you can't easily see where it is going. Eventually we reached the patrol cabin and then plunged into the steep part of the canyon. It gets rocky and steeper for the last few miles before getting to Phelps Lake. After looping to the east of Phelps Lake we picked up the valley trail and returned to the trailhead.

The view down Death Canyon.
The distance for the loop was 24.71 miles, according to my Garmin, with 4,118 feet of climbing. I felt much better today and didn't have the altitude issues I had yesterday. I suppose a better night of sleep and a day at altitude helped me. It was another gorgeous day with hardly a cloud in the sky. We finished with some hard running and I was definitely still spent at the end.
A cold can of tea and some huckleberry ice cream helped with the recovery process. We will see what tomorrow brings: probably a run up to Amphitheater Lake.

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