The day began with a dense fog and little visibility in Jackson Hole. As the morning turned to day the sun burned the fog off into a beautifully sunny day in anticipation of our arriving students. For many the day started very early, the students started their journeys as far west as San Diego and as far East as Maine. Following a long morning of driving and flying Lauren and Veronika arrived first establishing the greeting party for the rest of the students. Friends were made quickly, playing cards and sharing stories- our group was starting to take shape. Jackson Hole airport is quiet and quaintly located in Grand Teton National Park, making for an easy day of arrivals. Before we departed from the airport, Mike and Helen Cottingham, the founders of Wilderness Ventures, stopped by to greet our group and wish them a great summer and happy trails. With our group complete we hit highway 89 heading north through Grand Teton National Park. The stunning drive is set against the backdrop of the Teton range to the west. After enjoying the scenic drive we arrived at Colter Bay Village, our home for the next few days. We quickly got to work setting up tents and preparing dinner for our ravenous travelers. James, Sheva, Lauren, and Sarah prepared a delectable meal of Thai Curry and rice, making sure everyone was well fed. Our first night ended around a warm campfire on the shores of Jackson Lake in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Two Ocean Lake
On our first full day the group rose early from our tents eager to get out and explore the Tetons. We all piled into the van geared up and ready for a hike around Two Ocean Lake. The trailhead was a mere 15 minutes from our camp down an adventure filled access road that gave the back row a nice early morning roller coaster ride. Our hike started off with an informative talk about bear country safety, making sure to respect our fellow backcountry travelers. Once we felt comfortable with myriad types of bear encounters we began our trek. The whole group felt the pulmonary strain of the altitude as they were still acclimating to the high country. Jacques and Andrew provided an uplifting skid track to urge the group onward despite the taxing thin mountain air. Seven hundred feet of vertical rise payed huge dividends as The grand view point revealed three hundred and sixty degree views of the Tetons across Jackson Lake and Two Ocean Lake below. Travis set a strong pace for the group as the trail continued winding down switchbacks. The trail eventually met the sun sparkled lake and hugged the shoreline. We stopped to enjoy lunch in a wildflower filled meadow with a beautiful vista of the lake. After lunch we made our way back to the van and our campsite, satisfied. The effort from our hike left many of us sweaty and so we seized the opportunity to take a dip in Jackson Lake. The lake is a skip a hop and a jump from our campsite making for a pretty ideal campsite. Ryann, familiar with the chilly waters of maine led the charge into the lake, helping others to work up the courage to follow. It was a cold and refreshing experience leaving us all feeling nice and clean.
Today is our day to prep for our ten day adventure on horseback through the expansive Teton Wilderness. Natassia got us going this morning with an eggs and bacon breakfast. Next on the agenda is a trip to the grocery store to stock up on rations for the next ten days. After our trip to the store we will head over to Triangle X Ranch to meet our wranglers and pack away all of our food. The wranglers will also give us a tutorial on be basics of horsepacking.
It’s a very exciting time here in Jackson, the air is filled with anticipation. Soon we will be basking in the glory of the Teton Wilderness on horseback for ten days.
See you on the other side,
David Tina and the Horsepacking family