With A Name Like Death Canyon…

With a name like Death Canyon

Death Canyon in the Grand Tetons

Park rangers are one of my favorite resources for hiking tips when I’m on the road. At the Climbing Festival in Lander I met a ranger from the Grand Tetons and asked him to name his favorite hike. Death Canyon, he said, “Don’t let the name scare you away.” So when I rolled back through Jackson after my two week long loop through the Wind Rivers, I parked the dogs in the trailer for the morning and headed up Death Canyon to the Alaskan Basin.

Exactly what you want to see at the start of a hike into Death Canyon. I had my bear spray handy and made plenty of noise as I hiked.

Exactly what you want to see at the start of a hike into Death Canyon.

Oh boy.

Oh boy.

Phelps Lake

Phelps Lake

The trail lost about 1,000 feet of elevation down to Phelps Lake and then began climbing back up into the canyon.

The trail lost about 1,000 feet of elevation down to Phelps Lake and then began climbing back up into the canyon along Fox Creek.

Trail running along a narrow rocky ledge

Trail running along a narrow rocky ledge

Nice Gneiss!

Nice Gneiss!

Gneissic bands underfoot. Formed under high temp and pressure during metamorphosis.

Gneissic bands underfoot. Formed under high temp and pressure during metamorphosis.

Fox Creek

Fox Creek

If I were a moose I'd live here.

If I were a moose I’d live here.

Sure enough, a moose! Most polite moose I've ever seen. She stayed on her side of the river and I stayed on mine.

Sure enough, a moose! Most polite moose I’ve ever seen. She stayed on her side of the river and I stayed on mine.

Another moose! This place is lousy with them.

Another moose! This place is lousy with them.

Old forest service cabin at the junction of the Fox Creek and Alaska Basin trails

Old forest service cabin at the junction of the Fox Creek and Alaska Basin trails

Charming.

Charming. Please Leave No Trace! 

U.S.N.P.S.

U.S.N.P.S.

Death Canyon, indeed. Part of a rock squirrel/ marmot-type creature.

Death Canyon, indeed. Part of a rock squirrel/ marmot-type creature.

The Snag Crag, where a couple of friends of mine were climbing. I tried to find them up on the wall, but couldn't spot them.

The Snaz, where a couple of friends of mine were climbing. I tried to find them up on the wall, but couldn’t spot them. That’s a lotta rock up there.

This guy was upside down on the trail and I assumed dead, but I picked him up and he flapped his wings a bit and dusted himself off and flew away.

This guy was upside down on the trail and I assumed dead, but I picked him up and he flapped his wings a bit and dusted himself off and flew away.

This was my second hike in the Tetons. To see pix from my trek up Casacade Canyon click here. Now, on to Idaho!

About theblondecoyote

Mary Caperton Morton is a freelance science and travel writer with degrees in biology and geology and a master’s in science writing. A regular contributor to EARTH magazine, where her favorite beat is the Travels in Geology column, she has also written for the anthologies Best Women's Travel Writing 2010 and Best Travel Writing 2011. Mary is currently traveling the backroads from New Mexico to Alaska, writing and living out of a tiny Teardrop camper. When she’s not at the computer she can usually be found outside -- hiking, climbing mountains and taking photographs. Visit her website at www.marycapertonmorton.com.
This entry was posted in Hiking!, Photography, Road tripping!, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized, Vagabonding 101. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to With A Name Like Death Canyon…

  1. Andrew Seal says:

    Spectacular photos. Thanks for sharing them. The landscape is stunning :-)

  2. pajarigirls says:

    Gorgeous photos, but they make me miss the mountains terribly!

  3. Lavinia Ross says:

    You travel some breathtaking places, Mary! Thanks for sharing them with the rest of us.

  4. Nice post. Heading off to the Winds this weekend for a two-week backpack trip. Thanks for the post on Death Canyon. Have friends in Teton Village. I’ll have to check out that canyon next trip. Thanks for the nice post.

  5. Beautiful pictures and awesome place. Thanks for the journey through Death Canyon. :)

  6. LOR says:

    Creepy critter paw…but beautiful butterfly. I had to look up lousy as I’d never heard that word used that way. Good thing too, because the word means ‘infested with lice’…not simply ‘infested’.

  7. Another great post, Mary.

  8. furrygnome says:

    Oh, the incredible places you get to!

  9. Diana Busby says:

    Another location to add to my list: Must Hike Here!

  10. Ha! Just put up a post with pics from Death Canyon. We hiked up to Static Peak on Monday!

  11. Paul Leverenz says:

    Wait a minute? You left your dogs in your teardrop trailer? All morning? Please ask them for me “what did you think of that? Your mom/master went off on a morning hike and didn’t take you guys with her?” Hope the dogs forgive you. I know our dogs would take a long time getting over that snub.

  12. Pingback: My Own Private Idaho | Travels with the Blonde Coyote

  13. Great blogging Mary and thanks for sharing! I like your trailer set-up too. I’ll post some pictures of my van set-up for living on the road or in the city, wherever you may be soon. Like the furred-creature claw! Wonder what the story is on how it died.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s