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842 Tetons - The Meadows 2013-08-12

Camping in the Meadows below Middle Teton

After our bear spray episode on Sunday afternoon, we spent the rest of the evening preparing for our Monday (7/22) overnight trip to the Meadows, a backcountry camping zone in Garnet Canyon of the Tetons. Before going to bed we simplified our next morning's chores by breaking down everything we could - other than the tent. Finally, we laid down to try and sleep by 9.

On waking we quickly took down the tent and packed. It was only minutes before we left the campground and started the short drive to Lupine Meadows. Our young bear spray neighbors had written a kind thank you note, that Amy read as I drove. In the Lupine Meadows parking area we finished packing and readied the vehicle to be left alone over night.

Note: At Lupine Meadows they do not have bear boxes at the trailhead. We secured all of our food in either the Yeti cooler or in LokSaks - odor proof plastic bags - then buried the sacks deep under gear. As a last touch, we hung the curtains over the windows. We have learned how to secure the vehicle from bears after our break-in last summer.

Morning over the valley from the trail

Leaving the trailhead before 6:30, we set a good pace. We were trying to reach Garnet Canyon before the morning sun could reach the slopes. The trail leaves the trailhead and heads south. After about a half of mile the trail starts climbing. Well, it's all up from there!

At 1.7 miles, the trail reaches the Valley Trail junction. The junction is a common rest stop, but we just kept walking. The trails' notorious switchbacks were just ahead. We were determined to be above the switchbacks before the sun could catch us.

Garnet Canyon

The Garnet Canyon Trail junction is about 3.0 miles from the trailhead. From the junction the trail crosses the upper meadow one more time as it continues to Garnet Canyon in just over one mile. The official trail stops at the Platforms, a camping zone at the entrance of the canyon.

The trail trough the boulderfield

The entrance of the canyon is blocked by a boulderfield. An improved passage winds through the boulders, but at times it is hard to find the easiest course.

A good trail winds through the boulders along the creek.

Following the creek, we continued through sections of rock and boulders until finally reaching the junction with the Meadows.

Crossing the creek to reach the Meadows camping zone

Cross the creek to reach the Meadows.

We found a great site in the middle of the camping zone. Well, great for it's central location, but it was exposed to the sun and really hot.

After setting camp, we decided to go on a hike into the South Fork of Garnet Canyon. We really had no destination in mind, but we had arrived at the Meadows so early, we had plenty of time to explore. After crossing a huge field of loose rocks (scree) and boulders, we sat on top of a large boulder and watched a group descend through a snowfield. The snow was melting fast, but the snowfield was large enough to warrant caution. After a short rest, we returned to our camp. Unfortunately, it was still really hot.

Hikers on the trail near the Meadows junction

As the sun slowly crossed the sky we moved from shade to shade. A great pastime, was watching all the hikers on the trail near the Meadows junction. For hikers going to the upper camps, such as the Lower Saddle, the junction is another common rest stop. Some of the groups carried humongous loads as the hikers labored the last few steps before dropping the beastly packs to the ground. It was interesting just to watch their body language as they expressed the relief from the load.

When the sun finally was setting, we took a couple of photos and then crawled into the tent. The next day was going to be a big day and we needed our rest.

It was great to be camping once again in the Meadows. The area holds so many fond memories. The area is worth the effort of the hike and makes a great day hike also.

Happy Camping in the Meadows trails


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