My First Backpacking Experience
With our bear mace in hand, our bear-resistant food canister packed with freeze-dried meals, coffee and, yes, even a bit of half-and-half, we started to climb the canyon.
At age 60, I was embarking on my first overnight backpacking trip and I prayed I did not become a statistic, an over-enthusiastic but under-prepared hiker.
Thanks to the high altitude the previous day, this climb was bearable, though after four hours of climbing with the pack on my back, I was tired.
We didn’t see any grizzlies (yeah!!) but we did spot two moose, one with her calf, on the trailside. After sunset, the horned sheep reclaimed the trails from the humans.
With the 13,000-foot-high Grand Teton mountain directly above, we set up our tent and began preparations to maintain a bear-free campsite.
Cooking was done about 200 feet away from our campsite and after eating our delicious Thai curry and bean chili dinners, we tucked the dishes, the leftovers, and anything that might attract the bears, like sunscreen, back into the bear canister and hid it in the opposite direction.
As soon as the sun set, the temperature dropped and the stars began to emerge in the dark skies. Heavenly!
In the morning, we decided to take an hour-long hike up to Lake Solitude. The clear green/blue waters looked appealing but chilly, so we turned around to begin our five-hour descent to Jenny Lake.
My right boot began to hurt me on the way down and, as the temperatures hit 80 degrees, the sun made us sweat profusely as we slogged along. I used my hiking poles to take pressure off my feet. Worried about missing the last boat to the parking lot, we didn’t stop to eat, which added to our exhaustion.
All’s well that ends well, as the saying goes, and by sunset we were back on our hillside, watching the final rays illuminate the glorious peaks.
Listen as Johnny Cash & Lynn Anderson tear it up.
Where we are today.