Good (and Bad) Time in the Bush

BY Herschel Smith
1 year ago

I’m recently back from a business trip and professional conference in Idaho Falls.  At the end of the conference I decided to do a bit of hiking.  I headed up to the Tetons.  Here is one picture of a less snow covered area.

At least the path is worn well enough that it can be seen.  Everyone else turned around a short time after this photo was taken.  I kept going, and seemed to be the only one up there.  On up the trail I passed a really nice Asian dude who talked to me and recommended that I not move forward unless I had AllTrails on my phone.  We happened to have connectivity where we were at the time, and he assisted me in loading it up, downloading maps and getting the right trail (there were some trails with similar names).  Soon I lost connectivity.  It’s a good thing (and providential) that I ran into him.  This was the next scene a few miles further.  The trail had utterly disappeared.  Were it not for AllTrails, I would still be wandering in the Tetons.

The snow was five or six feet deep in places, and while I could make decent progress at times staying on top of the pack, I was “post holing” a lot.  A few times I fell into tree wells and had to claw my way out.  That’s an awful lot of work.  The Asian dude had not only trekking poles, but snow shoes as well.

Also, I’ll comment that with more unenlightened among us sometimes I often have wondered why a man doesn’t just “swim” out of snow (e.g., during an avalanche).  Yea, that’s impossible.  Put your leg into snow hip deep and it’s like cement.

The trail was the Taggart and Bradley Lake trail in the Tetons.  I wasn’t properly prepared for the hike.  I did make it, but not without a slog.  I didn’t pack my trekking poles because I didn’t want the additional space and weight in my luggage.  That was a profoundly stupid decision but I didn’t know at the time that the trails would be in this condition.  Going up there without snow shoes made it very difficult.

The second day I decided to do something a bit tamer and stay closer to Idaho Falls (within about an hour of the city).

The Idaho and Wyoming area is beautiful country for sure.  But the Northwest had a very deep snow pack this year.  Be prepared when you go into the bush.  I wasn’t.  I could have gotten into trouble in the Tetons.


Comments

  1. On May 14, 2023 at 10:40 pm, 41mag said:

    Been to ID Falls a handful of times. It’s a nice small town close enough to the mountains to enjoy them for the day. That last picture must be the bluffs to the east of town where individual homes are sitting on the top of those bluffs with a great view.

    It’s a high desert there too. Your lips will dry out and crack pretty quickly if you’re not from there.

  2. On May 14, 2023 at 10:40 pm, Dan said:

    Hiking while unprepared…and refusing to acknowledge that reality, has cost a lot of people their life over the years. The Rocky Mountains…and the Sierra’s…both don’t care how much experience you have. They will kill you with the same indifference they kill an amateur with.
    If you don’t need to go don’t go…unless you are totally prepared for everything bad that can happen actually happening.

  3. On May 15, 2023 at 12:15 am, Qualitarian said:

    Went out that way last year about this time, still active snowfall in May and many areas were closed off. Couldn’t enter Yellowstone from the south through Teton NP, had to detour over the south pass into Idaho and head in via the Montana side. Despite the early crowds, Yellowstone was still largely shut down except for the main roads and concessionaires.

    There was some grumbling about the travel time and the morning trip over Teton Pass was white-knuckle, but the Tetons are even more majestic in the snow and fog. I’m glad I got to see it.

  4. On May 15, 2023 at 12:35 am, snowcreek said:

    Herschel,
    Glad you made it back. your better Angels must be looking after you. The Tetons are glorious but unforgiving. They claim a number of victims every year. During the Spring runoff, the streams are particularly dangerous as are the hungry bears when they come out of hibernation. The weather can also turn on a dime. You have to be prepared for everything-trekking poles with baskets, good trail crampons, etc. the list goes on but it need not be burdensome. A good ultra-light kit in a daypack need weigh no more than 12 lbs or so.The good gear you can depend on gets more expensive though. With advancing years I find myself going lighter and lighter to maintain the freedom of the mountains. The best bear medicine is a 12 gauge with slugs imo but I now have to settle for the trusty G19 with Buffalo Bore hard cast bullets. The main hiking and climbing season is July and August extending into September some years depending on weather. If you ever get a chance to take it, one of the all-time great North American day hikes is the Table Mountain Trail to Table Mountain which is just opposite the West face of the Grand. The trailhead is at the
    Table Mountain campground, It gets more crowded every year but well worth the venture. Did you see this? They found the hiker who disappeared off a trail up in Glacier N.P. He was going up a trail and encountered snow banks. He tried to cross, slipped and fell down a snow chute, landing in a chest high snowbank where he stayed for a couple of nights. Lost his cell phone during the tumble.Regular search and rescue teams could not find him as his tracks were disappearing in the melting snow. Interesting to see he was finally rescued by a chopper at night with thermal imaging. It shows what their capability is these days.https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2023/05/incredible-video-shows-helicopter-rescue-teen-missing-days-glacier-national-park/

  5. On May 15, 2023 at 12:47 am, snowcreek said:

    P.S. Lived up here 40 years. Cold and snowy, weather’s horrible, no jobs. Bears and mountain lions eat people from blue states, particularly those from California.

  6. On May 15, 2023 at 4:51 am, jrg said:

    Then again you have some awesome memories and a good tale to tell the folks back in the office this morning.

    “How was your weekend ?”

    “Meh – how about yours ?”

    “Nearly got lost and froze to death – want to see some cool pics ?”

  7. On May 15, 2023 at 7:10 am, Diggers With Gratitude said:

    Commierado equals training wheels for Wyoming, Idaho, and other states.
    Clown mode aside Idaho Springs and Manitou Springs are awesome in CO.
    Bolshevik enemedia was just on about snow and good ski conditions being around until the 4th of July out west in CA and other locations.
    Good on ya for sharing pics and info. Thank you.

  8. On May 15, 2023 at 12:04 pm, Chris said:

    This time of year the bears are coming out of hibernation, hungry and cranky. You have often mention the need to carry a suitably sized handgun along in case it’s needed. Another bit of regional advice is never hike alone. Both are sound advice.

  9. On May 15, 2023 at 1:28 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    I had self protection with me. I didn’t have snow shoes.

  10. On May 15, 2023 at 7:27 pm, George said:

    whelp, you are an intelligent man; so you learned from this.

  11. On May 16, 2023 at 7:13 am, Latigo Morgan said:

    Looks like a fun adventure! Tree wells royally suck, especially when you go off trail while skiing to relieve yourself and fall into one that is chest deep.

    One thing I learned after taking a wilderness survival class back east, those who get lost and have to survive in the Eastern Woodlands have it on easy mode compared to anyone who gets lost and has to survive in the Rocky Mountains.

    I can see why so many experienced trappers perished in the Rocky Mountains after coming out here from the east.

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This article is filed under the category(s) Personal,Survival and was published May 14th, 2023 by Herschel Smith.

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