Friday, October 5, 2012

Autumn Running in the Tetons

Originally, Brian invited the lot of us to rally up to the Tetons for a group solo of Moran but for some reason we thought the weather was going to turn.  Turned out it was perfect but Brian, Nate, and I had already moved on to plan B.  Our backup endeavor was to go for a mellow run through the park.  The Teton Crest trail and the recently popular Teton Crest Loop were attractive options but I left it to Brian and Nate to come up with our route.

Our path for the day was to run from Death Canyon to Fox Creek Pass, along the Crest Trail, through Alaska Basin, over Hurricane Pass, and out Cascade Canyon to String Lake. Out of the 30 miles, all but 1.7 would be new terrain for me. My goals for the day were to reconnect with friends, log some miles, enjoy the crisp fall air, and gain some familiarity with the approach to some spectacular ski lines.  I enjoyed success on all accounts.

The forecasted high in the valley was 51 degrees and driving past the Elk Preserve, I saw a 19 on the car thermometer.  The long golden rays were pouring over the Gros Ventre range and I was struck by an acute longing for the current moment.  The eloquent Ben Lewis has recently referred to this feeling as a peculiar "nostalgia for the now" or "soon-to-be-past".  I relish this feeling and experience it often during the autumnal months.  Perhaps this phenomenon is generated by a subconscious appreciation for the incremental loss of light and foliage and the sudden realization that the year too is dying.  Whatever the case, we were going running.

While the morning was still young, Nate let us know that his day would be longer and more arduous than for either of us.  Jet lagged and fighting illness, he admirably put his head down and resolved to make it far enough that bailing wasn't an option.  Brian was mildly hampered by altitude and fatigued legs and I was recovering from a bout with a gastrointestinal virus while only sleeping two out of the last four nights.  Collectively, we were a sorry lot, but by keeping the pace mellow and thoroughly enjoying the stunning scenery, the day remained easy and fun.

Phelps Lake

The mouth of Death Canyon

High on "the Shelf"
Odd alpine limestone

Alpine Ultra Bouldering?

Descending into Alaska Basin

Sunset Lake

Grand, Middle, South from Hurricane Pass

Schoolroom Lake and its namesake glacier
The following photos will hopefully serve as beta pics for future ski trips...imagine the possibilities!
A new view of old friends

Poor quality photo of the Grand and the Enclosure from the NW

Poor light, poor air, rich terrain and a wealth of potential

Teewinot/Owen ridge line
The homestretch along Jenny Lake
$14 for happiness
Gear List:

SCARPA Tempo Running Shoes
Outdoor Research High Efficiency Running Shorts
Outdoor Research Duo Echo T-shirt
Outdoor Research Omni Gloves
Outdoor Research Exos Beanie
Ski Trab Vertical Pants

1 comment:

  1. Andy, I'm writing an article for a magazine and would like to contact you to talk about running in the Tetons - specifically about the TCT from Phillips Pass to STring Like via Paintbrush Canyon. Firsts, records and other stats. I'm not sure how to find you but perhaps we could friend each other on FB and then 'd like to arrange a phone call - or meet you if you're in Jackson. Look forward to it, Hamish Tear