We wanted to spend a night in the backcountry in Grand Teton National Park, but all backcountry stays require a permit. The park saves a portion of the available permits for walk-in hikers, so we thought we had to get to the ranger station right when they opened to be guaranteed a spot. After waking up at 6am and hauling to the park (about an hour drive from Yellowstone) we were the only ones trying to get a permit for that day and got it with ease. Slightly tired, we drove to the trailhead and prepared to hike out to Lower Paintbrush Canyon for the night.
The camping area was only a few hours from the trailhead, and we reached it with time to do a nice day-hike. We moved further up the canyon, trying to reach Holy lake. The views along the trail were incredible. We were surrounded by mountains on all sides, with lots of snow still visible in the distance.
Soon we were hiking in snow, too! Straight up the canyon, kicking in to secure our footing.
Time to reach the lake from the campsite: 2 hours
Time to get back to the campsite, hiking down hill, most of it sliding in the snow: 55 minutes
Quite a difference!
We spent the evening cooking and hanging out in camp and went to bed pretty early. In the morning, there was a moose staring into our camp! It noticed us, but didn’t seem to frightened… just went on munching on plants.
Grand Teton National Park was my favorite wilderness experience of the trip so far, and I recommend anyone who gets a chance to seek it out. I’ll be back in the future to do the Teton Crest trail or some more intense hikes.
Tonight, we’re at a hostel in Teton Village (near Jackson and the park).
Days since last shower: 8
Feeling of a hot, prepared meal: Satisfying and well-deserved.
Sleep in a real bed: Looking forward to it.