Teton Crest Trail Day 1
If you’re a longtime reader of this blog, you know a beach honeymoon isn’t our style. Instead we decided to hike the Teton Crest Trail and visit the Canadian Rockies. We made sure to keep things somewhat relaxed, though. One of our gifts to ourselves was to delay blogging until we got home. In the next few weeks we’ll be doing some blog catch up from the honeymoon, which took place from late August through mid-September.
On a cold rainy Monday morning in August, we waited for the Colter Bay Visitor Center in Grand Teton National Park to open. At 8 AM sharp we eagerly handed our desired Teton Crest Trail itinerary to the backcountry ranger. We were in luck and snagged one of the few first-come first-serve permits! Our five-day Teton Crest Trail hike would begin the following day.
Day 1: Rendezvous Mountain to Marion Lake (6 miles)
Early Tuesday morning we drove to the String Lake trailhead, where we planned to finish the hike. A local taxi company shuttled us to our starting point, the tram in Teton Village. Everything went smoothly, except the weather wasn’t cooperating. Thick dense clouds clung to the mountains, making us realize that we might not get much visibility for the day.
We ate breakfast, got tickets, and rode the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram to the top of Rendezvous Mountain, elevation 10,449 feet. This was another honeymoon treat — without the tram, we’d have been doing the 4,139 foot climb on foot, with five days of food on our backs.
Wonderfully, by the time we reached the top, the clouds had burned off. After exiting the tram we found a small sign that said “Top of the World”. It looked like it. After a few pictures, we were off, and feeling great!
The trail was well maintained and wound through forest. Columbines clung to the hillsides, even more beautiful in their fragility.
We passed through open fields as well.
We were surprised how many wildflowers were still blooming this late in the season.
The trail had a few ups and downs, but nothing crazy. Cresting one of the ridges, Anna noted two dark objects that looked out of place across the valley on a steep hillside. We zoomed in with our camera until we could make out a mother and baby moose. Cool!
We walked a bit further to our destination for the day, Marion Lake. This beautiful little lake is nestled right up against a cliff.
It also appears to be home to lots of marmots. They briefly checked us out, then scurried off.
We set up camp and prepared an early dinner (Outdoor Herbivore’s Hop Pea Slop) by the lake shore. Other backpackers rolled into camp, some really surprised at how much harder it was to hike at elevation. Two of these backpackers happened to be Austin and Nick, acquaintances Anna had known at the University of Virginia. Austin and Nick were celebrating their 5 year wedding anniversary. What a small world and so much to celebrate!
We wandered around the lake, enjoying the evening light. Anna played with her new super zoom camera and was able to snap some fun shots of a deer eating his own dinner and then running off.
We found a good sitting rock where we watched pika carry clippings from nearby plants back to their haypiles, storing the food for the long winter ahead. As we watched, we created our own version of a ranger talk, reading information and viewing pictures in the Audubon Ultimate Rocky Mountain iPhone guide.
Sunset painted the sky pink. What a wonderful beginning to our honeymoon!