well, I'm back. One day we figured out the mileage and it was closer to 35 miles than 50 miles but I figure with all the backtracking and such, we're closer to 40 miles in 6 days. After a good nights sleep and a long hot shower my feet still hurt but most everything else is fine. Other than I'm really, really hungry, huh, you would think we burned tons of calories. ;) So, here we go, a quick recap of the 6 days, even with a quick recap it may get a little long. .
Day 1- We arrive at Grand Teton National Park, get our packs ready, finish the lunch my parents had prepared of apples and cheese, get one car at the beginning of the hike and one car at the end of the hike, and go. We started at a place called Death Canyon Trailhead. Gives you lots of confidence, eigh???! We hiked into Death Canyon and it was gorgeous! It was filled with wildflowers. It was also raining while we set up camp and were hiking, so we were wet when we got to camp. We camped that night in Death canyon, it was about a 7 mile hike that was pretty hard, a lot of uphill. That night I got sick. I think I may have gotten food poisoning. I'll spare you the ugly details but I was up all night sick. When I woke up the next morning I was wondering if I should even continue. At this point, I only have a 7 mile hike down and I could go home. I felt weak, sick and dehydrated. So, I prayed about it and felt that whatever I chose I would be fine, if I went home, I would be fine, if I kept going I would be fine. But, I knew that being up high in the mountains, without any medical help available in my condition was NOT a good idea. So, I asked my Dad and my brother for a priesthood blessing of healing. My Dad told me in the blessing what I had been told in my prayer. That whatever I choose I would be fine, if I went home I would recover, if I stayed I would recover and have a great time. I would make it home with no injuries and I would be fine and have a great time. So, I decided to stay.
Day 2- during the night while I was sick, some guys missed the campsites and asked if they could stay in our camp. We told them sure, just use the bear box for their food. So, in the morning, after my blessing we were getting ready to go and a black bear wandered into our camp. He just headed straight for the bear box, found no food, and unfortunately, the guys who had joined us last night had just taken their food down from their bear tree. The bear headed into their camp, the guys backed out the camp, and the bear had a great breakfast and then proceeded to have a nap in their camp. The poor guys just sat up on the hill above camp and waited for the bear to wake up. As we were leaving, my Mom told the guys to be careful, she had seen a moose by the rock they were on. . . more on that later. So, we continue to hike along, I hiked very slowly that day because I couldn't handle any food in my stomach yet and I felt very weak. We headed out of Death canyon, and while we were resting one of the times, we ran into the guys. We asked them how things went, they told us a Ranger had come along, scared the bear away but while they were waiting, a moose charged them on their rock! The poor guys! They were young though and excited, they told us they had been working all summer in Idaho cutting trails and hadn't seen any wildlife so they were sooo excited to be seeing some wildlife. :) We then proceeded to head up fox creek pass, a pretty hard climb. My sweet brother came and carried my pack up the pass for me because I wasn't feeling well and he was bored because he had been there for hours. That night we headed up to Death Canyon shelf which was beautiful again and camped. I had a much better night, I went to bed around 7 pm and slept until about 8am.
Day 3- This day we headed up to a place called Alaska Basin, the kicker of this day was that we were staying at a place called sunset lake and right before we got to Sunset lake we got to hike up and down about 500 ft in elevation in about a mile. It was freaking hard. This was probably about our fastest day, we got into camp about 3pm and just had fun talking, my brothers made a sling shot and practiced, and practiced, and practiced. They got pretty good by the end of the night. It was a nice relaxing day. That was good because we still had to pass over hurricane pass the next day.
Day 4- Today we started hiking and almost immediatly went up and over Hurricane pass. That was about 900 feet in about a mile. It was rough, and cold!!! Today was supposed to be our hardest day, about 8-9 miles. We were at 10,500 ft at the top. Here's the kicker, it was SNOWING on the top of the pass, and soooo windy. We took a picture and hurried over the pass and continued on Cascade canyon trail. The day was pretty much without incident, we just headed on to our campsite in Cascade Canyon. And we quickly fell asleep.
Day 5- This day was new, my Parents had not hiked this part of the trail before and did not know what to expect. It was only going to be about 6-7 miles though so we thought we would be fine. Bwhaaaaa! How wrong we were. This was probably about the hardest freaking day of my life. We had to go over a pass called Paintbrush Divide. I hope to NEVER do this again. EVER. We were at the bottom of cascade canyon so we had to hike about a mile until we got to solitude lake. We stopped, had lunch, and cringed. We had about 1100 ft to go up in about 2.4 miles. So, after eating, we started hiking, and hiking, and hiking. There weren't a whole lot of switchbacks, just a slow, steady climb up, and up, and up. And we kept going up, and we kept going. It was so hard! We did have fun at one point while my Mom and I were waiting for my Dad to catch up watching the funny marmot creatures. They were so fat they just waddled. It cracked me up! So, eventually, the trail stopped going up and we were at the top. It made Hurricane pass look like a sissy hike (and Hurricane pass wasn't a sissy hike). We were at 10,700 ft. We got to the top and groaned. What we had just climbed UP in 2.4 miles, we got to climb DOWN in about a mile on what can hardly be called a trail, it was just loose rocks all the way down with a loose interpretation of a trail among the rocks. As well as having to climb over snow fields. It was really hard, we were so worried about my Dad coming down, we took it slow and tried to keep an eye on him. We continued to hike down Cascade Canyon until we got to a fork in the trail. We were supposed to hike into a lake called Holly Lake and our campsite was supposed to be somewhere around Holly Lake. We were not sure wether to take the lower trail or the higher trail. Someone told us the higher trail was best so we (foolishly) took the higher trail. Instead of only taking about 1/2 mile to our site, it took about a mile and a half, and we had to hike down, then back up, and we got lost at another fork of the trail and went down the wrong trail for about 1/2 mile and had to hike back up that extra 1/2 mile back to the fork. Sooo, we finally find our campsite, but, my brothers and sisters were not there, their stuff was there, but they were not. We knew they had gotten worried and gone back to look for us. And they had gone the opposite way we had. It was 8 pm, it was starting to rain and get dark and as far as we could tell, they had taken light jackets and 1 flashlight. We were worried. We knew the last thing we should do is go looking for them, so, we said a prayer and asked the spirit to tell them we were fine, we were back at camp, and they needed to head back asap. My sister says they all suddenly said, "we need to go back, they are fine, but we need to go back". I'm so glad for that answer to prayers. Just before they made it back to camp a cloud literally came and settled over our camp. It was a long, cold night, it rained, it thundered, it SNOWED. We all were so cold! I knew I had obligations I had to get back for on Saturday, so we tried to sleep.
Day 6- We got up from our cold night, packed our packs and were heading down the trail by 7am. We only had 6 miles this day and it was ALL DOWNHILL!!!! Yippee! I have to admit, after the day before, I was done, ready to be home. As I told my dad, well, up until yesterday it was fun, after yesterday it was just real. ;) My sisters and I headed down the trail because we knew my brothers would catch us just fine. It was nice, cool, quiet, we weren't climbing. On our way down we saw two black bears. Both were very intent on their huckleberries, but one was right on the trail, about 5 ft away from us. We just let him eat his huckleberries and move off the trail at his own leisure. About this time my brothers caught up with us and we just kept going on down. We made it to my car, I took my wetwipes and toothbrush into a real flushing toilet and running water sink! I cleaned up a little, changed my clothes, and scared some woman who I'm sure thought I was a homeless person living in the park from the looks she was giving me and the way she hurried her daughter out the restroom. :0 Then my brothers and sisters and I hopped in my car, went back to Death Canyon trailhead and had my brothers pick up my Parent's car and take it back to the end of Paintbrush canyon trailhead to wait for my parents. The girls and I headed back home. We made a quick stop at Jackson Hole. (too many people, especially after our nice week with very few people) Got some lunch, and drove and drove home. I dropped them off at my parents, picked my kids up from my awesome sister in law's home, and made it home my 9pm. Then I ate dinner, put kids in bed, went to the grocery store, took a shower and slept and slept and slept. My bed has never felt so nice!
So, there ya have it, my long 40 mile trek in 6 days. No wonder we only do it only every 10 years or so!