I have been back in the Tetons for about two weeks now and it has been a great two week period. I have already guided many Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park tours, put on about 400 miles on my enduro (mostly in the backcountry), went to a magazine release (JH Style) for a magazine I have photos and an article about Tom Mangelson published, seen many great friends, and done a few hikes with the biggest being up Death Canyon.
Death Canyon is in the southern part of Grand Teton National Park and is a very popular hike for locals but the name seems to keep some tourists away. To my knowledge it did not get its name from someone dying up there. I packed enough supplies for a four to five mile hike, both in and out, but things often change here in the mountains. I should have known. I left at about 8:30am before most people get to the trailhead and after about two miles of walking up and down hills, past Phelps Lake, and up into the canyon, I ran into a young bull moose who had no intentions of moving off the trail. I was only about 30 feet from him and just sat there watching and taking a few lousy photos with my phone. He was a little bothered by me and kept moving along the trail but unfortunately not off it. I followed him right to another larger bull moose who had an attitude. After about twenty minutes of watching them I had enough and saw my opportunity to sneak between them and continue on my hike. Just when I got between the big bull and the small bull the big bull stopped grazing and started on a dead run at me. I turned around and ran like a little girl and hid behind a big pine tree. Luckily the big bull was not interested in me and went after the young bull chasing it around for a while. Eventually I saw my gap and made it past.
Continuing on, I wanted to give the moose time to wander away from the trail and I kept wanting to see what was around the next corner. Before I knew it I was six miles back with a six mile trek out and, I was out of water. There was a nice stream running through the canyon but there were a lot of marmots and I did not want to drink their poopy water and get a disease so, I got to as high of elevation I could and got water there. There were more marmots than I have ever seen just below where I got my water. Now, it is three days later and I am still not sick. I guess drinking all that Central American water has made my stomach pretty tough. Anyways, I finally made it out of the canyon at about four o’clock and went right home to get a beer before I had to go to a meeting with a friend to discuss a new business venture. It was a great day and I should know by now that my hikes are always longer than I originally plan and should be prepared. Maybe next time.