June 10, 2013: U.S. 26/287 over Togwatee Pass, U.S. 89 south, Grand Teton National Park, Glory Peak, WY 22 to ID 31 to U.S. 26 west to Interstate 15 south to Pocatello, ID

Up in the dark, early again, I used my tablet to get information. Not able to sleep further, I drove on out and to the town of Dubois. Walking about, I snapped flash photos of the buildings, and waited with my tablet connection for the restaurants to open. There was a coffee shop, and I had a burrito. Fine to relax, and sip brew. Motoring on, there was a museum, but too early for it to be open.

The light was behind me for my drive up to Togwotee Pass, a point on the Continental Divide, a photo op. I had wished to do an easy peak here with some backcountry skiing some winter, with a cheaper stay in Jackson, but it looks little used. I went to the vista point for telephotos of the Tetons, getting morning sun on the Grand. I continued down the highway for coffee and potatoes at a resort lodge, which looked great for a stay, maybe if ever I win big or find some partners to share a room. The views ahead, of the range, were nice as I motored west on U.S. 26/U.S. 287, then it intersected with U.S. 89 south.

Making photo stops at viewpoints, I meandered on south, then took the road to the park visitor center, and took photos and to see what was new. I then entered the park, having my pass, and did another viewpoint stop. Wishing to visit the climbers camp, I took the gravel side road and came to the AAC building, and chatted with the help. Lodging is offered, and I might have stayed here if I had wished rugged accommodations. Leaving a small donation, I have never been a member of the mountaineering club, as it is pricey and so exclusive, mostly top national climbers with high standards. Their publication dwells on world class mountaineering and climbing, almost never local peak bagging. Too rich for me. They said that they could not advise on climbing here due to legal concerns, and told me to go to the Jenny Lake ranger station for information.

So, parking at the huge parking lot, I saw the local sights of the Jenny Lake village area, and beelined to the ranger station. I had the lone staff person to myself, so went on with questions. He directed me to the guidebook with all of the ratings and descriptions, which I flipped through quickly, but preferred to speak with the person. The Grand Teton, the most coveted peak, is stated to be 5.7 at its easiest, and I had viewed videos of the presumed moves, by You Tube. I had believed that it had been rated class 4, previously, as it didn’t look too hard, and former hiking club baggers had made it easily, by them. They issue permits for overnight, but in a day climb, you don’t need any permission. The guide service operates the hut. They hadn’t had any big rescues so far this season, but mostly people weren’t climbing yet. No more rules on solo climbing. He advised to go for information on my peak today, Glory Peak (10,032’), at the USFS headquarters in Jackson.

I left and drove out of the park and into town. I would wish to come here in winter, but it’s a long drive and ski touring solo may not be the best idea. There is a good ski resort with fine powder ops, but I am not a regular downhill skier. Going to the first information stop, I toured the fine visitor center, but not getting any information on my peak hike. Going over to the USFS Headquarters, I spoke with the help, and got plenty of good information. No online forest maps by the USFS as with the NPS parks. I have quite the collection of maps, but they do get outdated, and new maps run into money. There is information which is not on any computer company maps, and they do have inventory which takes priority over free public online dissemination of national forest data, it would seem.

Motoring through Jackson, I had gotten gas, noting cellular phones held by drivers, one in the middle of traffic, busy on her phone. I don’t know the applicable laws out here, but mostly, back home, they go unenforced, and few even care what drivers will do. I’d do some video of errant people, but that is deemed surveillance and the old job entreaty was that what other people do is none of my business. There’s no one to show it to, anyway, and it takes up memory.

In the main intersection, I had to wait for traffic, and impatient drivers zoomed about me as I declined to enter a clogged intersection, leaving it clear for turns. Road work impeded the lanes, but soon I was past it all, and then to a fast food restaurant to have some drink and free Wi-Fi, and a good break before my peak hike.

Taking WY 22, the Teton Pass Highway, signs advised of a steep grade. I climbed slowly, keeping in low gear, and cars had to wait, until they could pass on a open lane up. My car is fuel efficient, and I am so aware that power cars and heavy trucks dislike mine, with drivers going over the double yellow to get by me. There are trucks with heavy loads, and I don’t know if they have the same problem of lawless motorists cutting in front of them.

I soon came to Teton Pass, and found the parking, as said by the Forest Service help. I took photos of the view from here, and readied for my hike. A use trail leads up across the highway on its north side, and taking it up, passed some signs for skiers. Climbing up the steep and rough trail, I took pictures ahead, and it climbed nicely on up. I took more photos of the developing views, and clouds and the light made me feel good. The valley to the east made for an appealing sight, and then there were snags and shapely trees. The trail became muddy, and even to class 2. I came to snow, and kicked steps on up. I refused to go off trail to avoid the steeper snow, even though they said there are no rules to that as in other places. The top lay above, and I passed even more structures with better and better views.

I did video as I came to the top, as I liked this peak. Skiers haul up their gear in winter and ski the slopes, some easy backcountry thrills. Topping out, I started with my camera work, and I could see the upper part of the Grand. Doing a 360 a few times, to get it right, I did telephotos, panoramas, and then self video. Too good of a Kodak moment.

With nice conditions, I had to drive on further into Idaho this night. Starting down, I kept with photos of the use trail, and sought to be careful. I sought to convey the steepness of the trail, with the highway in the photos, far below. I took my time, stepping down the rocks and snow, then it was in the bag as I saw the traffic not far away, and then was back to the road. I did more self video, dancing with the vista sign, and then it was finished.

The highway descends west, and I was into Wilson, WY, for a break and drink. Coming to Victor, ID, I took ID 31 to go over more scenic country, and did photos ahead. Nice. Taking U.S. 26 west, I zoomed on quickly, and came to a rest stop and vista point. Some long distance cyclist was resting, too, so I chatted, with time. He reported logging nearly 10,000 miles, dirty and sore, now, and I had suggested a device to connect with the world. He wished for a dash cam to record bad motorists, as he gets run off the road with near misses, but as with me, no one holds any of that as legally valid.

A butte in the distance made for photos, and I sped along to the Interstate, stopping in Idaho Falls for food and drink. South on Interstate 15 now, I had a room waiting in Pocatello. I checked in and enjoyed a fine short stay, now headed home. I had some thoughts of prolonging the trip with a visit to Great Basin National Park and more, even through Yosemite and Mammoth, but I had enough. I had to ration my remaining cash, but there were a few more things to do.

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