Day 1 Backpacking Through the Tetons

by | Jul 12, 2018 | grand teton national park

I had the nieces up early for our trek through the Tetons this morning.  Even Granny had to get up though she wasn’t going.  She needed to drop us off at Jenny Lake.  Our three day hike is one Granny and I did in 2013.  It starts at Jenny Lake and we tramp all the way to Idaho.


Again, this is the girls first ever trip like this.  I’m no expert backpacker but have a few big expeditions under my belt.  Granny and I did the Inca Trail in Peru without a guide back in 1997 and in 2002 we did the Mt. Everest Trek in Nepal without a guide.  The difference however, I wasn’t leading two teenage girls.


While the kid’s parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents and even Granny were concerned about me handling teenage girls, I wasn’t.  I remember when I was a teenager.  Any time I was away from my parents things were good.  Sure enough, things were good right from the start of the rocky trailhead.


My pack weighed in at 38lbs.  It doesn’t sound like much but I promise you it’s a ton after a few miles.  Montana’s pack weighed 16lbs and Sammy carried 19lbs.  It was at least an hour before Montana started asking how far we were going.  Not bad for a 14 year-old.


Our hike begins flat along String Lake Creek then beside Jenny Lake.  After that it’s a 45 minute grunt uphill to where we join the Cascade Canyon Trail.  The Cascade Canyon Trail is gradual incline with amazing views of North sides of the Tetons.  About 5 miles in the trail junctions and we headed up the South Cascade Canyon Trail.  This is where the elevation kicks in big time.


I pushed the girl’s hard – especially young Montana.  We had a permit for camping in the “South Cascade Camping Area” and the first site we passed they were ready to move in.  The catch is, tomorrow we hike all the way to Alaska Basin.  This includes crossing the 10,400 foot Hurricane Pass.  The camping zone is about 3 miles along the trail and every inch we put behind us today helps for tomorrow.  And I know my bones won’t be the only ones aching.  Sammy understood the deal, but I had to drive Montana hard to get her up the trail.


We ended up knocking out another two miles of intense incline.  It was brutal.  Not only was there steep uphill but we hit the snow line and an area of trail covered in fallen trees.  Worst of all, when we got to camp Montana had lost her fancy pink water bottle.  Naturally, Uncle Jeff had to hike more than a mile back to find it.  Miracles do happen and it was snagged on a fallen tree Montana had climbed under with her pack.


I was impressed when I returned to camp.  Those young nieces of mine had both their tent and my tent already set up.  The sky was such a rich blue we held off on the rainflys.  I unloaded the bear canister and then boiled some water for our freeze dried meals.


Our camp tonight is a small piece of Grand Teton National Park paradise.  Each time I find myself in the backcountry here I wonder why I don’t come more often.  Better than the scenery and peace itself is watching these teenager experience it for their first time.  Exhausted and sore.  Time for four Advil and my tent.


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing


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I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!