Tag Archives: National Parks

One Man’s Trail–A Single Man in Grand Teton & Yellowstone

18 Jul

So I survived from another national park trip after hiking on back country trails on my own for over 30 miles, suffering serious sunburns (you will see some pictures of my poor face) and bug bites, driving for more than 1200 miles and flying over 4500 miles.

If you follow my Twitter or is a friend of mine on Facebook, you would know on my first day in the Yellowstone there was tragic news that a couple got attacked by a grizzly bear and the husband was killed. And the day before, I just hiked on a back country trail in Grand Teton National Park for almost seven hours.  For more than four hours in the deep woods I didn’t see another human being. And I think I should mention I did see pretty fresh footprints of bears. So you can imagine I was a bit scared when I heard about the news. But I followed what the brochure I got from the trail head told me: keep clapping and making noises to reduce the chance of encountering a bear. I guess the technique worked. The only animal I saw on the trail was a deer. While you are back in nature, you just have to follow certain rules. It’s not a man-made environment, so it’s important to show your respect.

The respect includes don’t get mad at AT&T for no reception at all in some areas, for days.

I almost hiked or biked everyday. I was regretted I didn’t bring my running shoes so I could even run everyday. I burned so many calories and I slept like a baby at night. The next day, I got up at 6 am, feeling fully recharged and starting a new day of adventures in the wilderness.

Most part of the trip wasn’t quite comfortable by any standard though. First of all, as I mentioned before, the bugs in the Grand Teton had been ridiculous this year. No matter how much bug spray you put on your skin, it just didn’t work. And two hours after you started on the trail, I found my arms and legs were so oily because of the bug spray. To make things worse, I had to put more of the greasy lotion on top my skin. Then it was the heat. Although the temperature during the night could drop to lower 30s, the highest temperature during the day when I was out hiking or biking or driving still reached over 90s. So my shirt was always wet. Another challenge was the sun. Since the average elevation of the area is above 7,000 feet, the sunlight is so much stronger than I expected. I didn’t realize that until the third day when I was shocked by my red skin from the sunburn. And apparently it was already too late to put any sun-protection—the damage had reached to a point where only time could perhaps heal it. Finally, the snow. Yes, the snow. I didn’t expect at all to hike in more than 15 inches of snow while wearing shorts and sweating. But there was still a lot of snow on many of the trails and for some sections you couldn’t even pass through without winter gears.

It was a trip full of all kinds of surprises–the crazy bugs, the snow in July, the sunburns, the bear saga, but most importantly, the views. The views of the Grand Teton and Yellowstone can seriously make you stop breathing. The most powerful adjective to describe beauty from any language is too weak for the tetons and the meadows, springs, snow mountains and geysers at Yellowstone. I spent two hours just sitting on a rock by the Yellowstone river overlooking the Hayden Valley, feeling extremely privileged to have the chance to get so close to a place that’s probably older than the time and see the view that has barely changed for hundreds of thousands of years. Only when I stood in front of the permanent glacier of one of the Tetons, did I realized my whole life would just be perhaps one tenth second to the Tetons.

A trip like this was indeed needed–it makes you realize how short our lives are, how meaningless to be bothered by some of the things we thought important and how easy life could be.

Now please enjoy some of the photos I took along my trip. More photos can be viewed on my Flickr page.

Flowers & the Tetons

Road

Snake River & the tetons

Sunset at the Grand Teton

A Morning at Colter Bay

Peaceful

There's a catch for this view--8 hours of hiking

Old Faithful

Hayden Valley

A bison at the Yellowstone

A tiny piece of the Yellowstone beauty

The tan on my face says everything about the sun

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