Grand Tetons, Granite Canyon | M.H.Sep 13, 2019

Grand Tetons, Granite CanyonGrand Teton National Park

#Sports, #Outdoors, #Insulation, #Mountaineering, #Hiking, #Research

After our exciting start at Bear Paw Lake, the second leg of our trip began at Granite Canyon Trailhead. We covered approximately 6.5 miles that day, snacking on wild raspberries that lined the trails. We camped in a pristine valley with a serene babbling brook that wound itself through the trees. The journey in was uneventful and peaceful.
The next day we cooked a hot breakfast of rice and tuna fish and set out hiking late morning. We crossed the obliging brook and hiked through Upper Granite trail. The trail zigzagged a stream that was lined with an abundance of wildflowers. Imbedded deep in the valley and looking up at the rocky granite cliffs that surely provided panoramic vantage points, I couldn't help but think that if I were a bear, this is where I would want to live.
The hike up to Marion Lake was fairly strenuous, and we almost got lapped by a group of middle-aged women that immediately stripped and went skinny dipping upon sight of the water. Imagine it: a group of 6-7 women in their 40s and 50s running, shouting and laughing while simultaneously disrobing in front of complete strangers, without a care in the world. This is a perfect example of the infectious lust for life that mother nature inspires. We heard their cries of child-like delight for a good twenty minutes of hiking out from Marion Lake before it gave way to marmot chirps as we crossed over into the U.S. Forest Service Alaska Basin.
We took well rested breaks throughout the day, maintained clear urine through constant hydration, ate a hearty turkey sandwich and plenty of granola and snacks along the way, and regulated joint swelling from overuse as well as minor aches and pain through regular use of over the counter pain relievers. Everyone in the group agreed we were having a great day, and it was a long one, covering well over 10 miles and a substantial amount of (unrecorded) elevation. We hiked the last approximately 5.5 miles at a very breezy pace as late afternoon approached.
The last few miles we found ourselves similarly to how we had started the day: imbedded in a valley fighting through the willows that lined the valley's water sources and continued hiking down through the pines. Exhaustion set in and my knees and ankles were decidedly "toast." We agreed we would take the last camp site in our camp zone to minimize the distance we would have to cover the next day which was our last day, and we pushed on through the trees.
Upon arrival at the last site we scouted for a water source for close to 15 minutes before determining that there was none, and that this site was unsuitable as we needed additional water to cook dinner. We decided we would accept responsibility for any consequences we may face for camping outside of the designated camp zone. 
We ended up setting up camp by an old ranger station next to a river. It was locked up but that didn't stop bears of years past from trying to break in. Claw marks decorated the Swedish cope laid logs, which provided an odd sense of comfort for me. It was the comfort of knowing that these mountains protected something much greater than me.