Rest Day in the Tetons

I woke up in that heinous dirtbag campground the day after my big link up, and went to the visitor center to make a french press, and oh was it just what I needed. Now I’m aggravated and caffeinated. I drove about 30 miles to Signal Mountain Campground since Jenny Lakes was full, and I was happy to do so. After my departure and manic day the day before, I was in need of some R&R, and really needed to unload my entire car and re-organize.

I took my sweet time, finishing my french press, organizing my gear and car, storing my food, and eating some breakfast. I got everything set up and put away bear safe. It really eases the mind to know that I don’t have food in the car. It’s really stressful, I think because of my trips to Yosemite, to have food in the car in bear country.

I left camp at 11am and headed to the American Alpine Club’s Climber’s Ranch to get some beta and just find out what my options were for staying there. The climbers ranch is the most chill place that I found in the Tetons, and within the library I was offered plenty of resources to plan my upcoming climbs.

After checking out the AAC ranch I drove to Lupine Meadows and headed up to Amphitheater Lake to scout out the East Ridge. I started out at a light jog, and was really feeling the stress of the heat, and likely fatigue from the big day before. Then the sky suddenly turned black a half mile before my objective and the sky opened up on me. I suddenly remembered that I had left my rain fly wide open on both sides of the tent so that it could air out after being covered in dew and spiders that morning. I started running down the trail back to Lupine Meadows parking and felt a sharp twinge in my left calf, at the top just below the knee. With Emma soon to be on route for some big roped objectives I felt myself deflating quickly, and my mind assuming all sorts of causes and effects of the pain.

I hopped in the car and my camp was sunny and tent dry. On my way I noticed a sign that said Yellowstone was only 32 miles north, so I stopped by the Signal Mountain Lodge Store and picked up some fresh fruit and drove for a hundred or so miles up and into Yellowstone National Park.

One of the things I don’t often read is the mental cruxes that we experience on the road. Sometimes it can feel grim and hopeless, and with my calf tightening, and exhaustion from the previous week I started out the drive doubtful and distressed. As I drove into Yellowstone I noticed myself detach from my negativity, and just really start to enjoy such a low-risk activity. It was the first time I’d just allowed myself to chill in weeks. I wasn’t worried about getting caught in any storms, or about the crux pitch, but instead just enjoyed some fresh fruit and a ginger brew with an exceptional view.

I returned to camp with light to spare, and cooked up a nice dinner–the biggest dinner in days–a can of green beans and a can of soup, and I popped open another ginger beer and finished it off with some Peanut M&Ms. I laid back in my tent reading my Kindl, still resenting my decision to hike 12 miles on a rest day, waiting for Emma to arrive and thinking about whether or not I should climb the next day. I found solace in Wizard and Glass.