Saturday, September 17, 2011

Livingston Peak

Here are some photos from my latest peak, located of course right above Livingston.  This gives you a view of Paradise Valley and a bunch of mountain ranges: Abasarokas, Crazies, Bridgers, and Gallatins.  Pretty cool.

Check out the rock bands on these hills.
Here is the view of Livingston.
And the entire view.  Starting from the left are the Absarokas, followed by the Gallatins, Bridgers, and Crazies, and finishing again the the Absarokas.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Tetons

I get two days off every week, Thursday and Friday, and am done by 3pm on Wednesday-enough time to get away for a couple of days.  This weekend that meant a dash south to the Tetons.  Although they are only 160 some miles from me, it is quite the trek.  Yellowstone itself takes about three hours to get through thanks to buffalo jams, tourist jams, and the 45mph speed limit on the winding roads.  Oh Yellowstone.  At least it you are surrounded by beautiful scenery as you creep along behind motorhomes and gawking tourists.

The Tetons are nuts.  There are no foothills leading up to them-there is a perfectly flat valley, some lakes, and then mountains rising up out of nowhere.  Bam.

I arrived after dark, catching only the silhouettes of the Tetons as I snaked along the shore of Jackson Lake.  The next morning I awoke to the beautiful sight of the first picture.  Awesome.

Day 1 I climbed to Amphitheater Lake, nestled at 9 thousand-some feet right below the highest peaks in the range, the Tetons themselves.  Gorgeous.  I met a some nice people, and one of my conversations even went like this:
-Hope College-are you from Holland? (I was wearing some Hope gear)
-Well St. Joseph, but yeah, I went to school there.
-We're from Holland and I've done some work in St. Joseph at Brown Elementary and now the high school.

These people even knew one of my professors from Hope.  Small world.  Anyway, here is the view of Amphitheater Lake.

If the view was not enough, I ate huckleberries all the way up, and got to see a yellow bellied marmot.  The berries look pretty much like blueberries, eh?  Tasty.
Oh, and here is the view of the valley.  I figured I might as well add this in.

Day 2

My second day I opted for a bit of a longer hike-just under 20 miles as opposed to the 10 of the first day. Paintbrush Canyon over the continental divide to Cascade Canyon (which is L-shaped and curves around the back of Paintbrush) and back down to where I started, at Leigh Lake.
I even got the chance to see a pika-a mouse-like creature that is actually in the rabbit/hare family and only lives at high altitudes.
Here is a view looking down the Paintbrush Valley.
And another from farther up, on the continental divide.

There is something about mountains that captivates me.  There is nothing else so awe-inspiring that I have yet encountered.  Here is a view of Cascade Valley, the one I hiked out of.  I will leave you with that, as the pictures say more than any words could.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Pine Creek, Huckleberries, and such

Another week, another hike.
This week took me to Pine Creek, one of the most popular hikes in the Paradise Valley area.  Everyone has been raving about it, so I figured it was a must.

It did not disappoint.

The hike begins at a campground of the same name, and zig-zags across Pine Creek, following it up into the mountains.  At a couple of points there are falls you cross, and the path is full of switch backs, making what would be a pretty steep climb much easier.  Here are the first set of falls and second sets of falls, respectively, which I actually visited with my parents.

From the second photo you can see the bare rocks at the top of the canyon-the endpoint of the climb.  It is only a total of 5 miles, but it took quite a while.  Along the way there were ripe berries everywhere, which was nice since I did not pack any food besides some peanuts.  Thimble berries, raspberries, and the elusive wild huckleberry gave me a nice energy boost and also made me nervous since Mr. Bear absolutely loves berries.  Luckily he was absent, or maybe talking to myself and whistling scared him off before I could even see him.

Along the way I disturbed a family of grouse.  The babies were distressed since they could not really fly yet, so they just ran around and cooed.
And finally, I neared the top.  It is kind of hard to see, but that is a waterfall on the left side of the picture.  It empties into the first of three lakes at the top, this being the lowest one.
Here's the second lake.
The third and highest.  At some point I need to come up here to camp for a night and catch some fish.  How cool would that be?
On the way out I stopped for a while just to check out the valley.  This is why it is called Paradise Valley.