Monday, February 03, 2014

A Bob Marshall winter tour

Top:  the North Fork Teton bottom; middle: wilderness boundary below Mount Wright; bottom, Guard cabin
The sky couldn't have been bluer and the air crisper than Saturday, the first day of February.
I had been aching for a back country trip into the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area, so I took this stunning day for a quick tour into the Bob along the North Fork of the Teton River.
The only downside may have been extremely cold weather.
The high was 14 degrees, and I'm sure it was much colder on the Teton bottom.
I went solo into the area near the Teton Pass Ski Resort where the road drops into the West Fork campground area, some four miles and a 1,000 foot drop away.
Instead of using the road as I usually do, I immediately dropped through the Fool Creek Fire burn area to the bottom, dodging fire snags, deadfall and stumps along the way.
There were several nice stretches to practice my telemark turns in pretty good powder protected by this north facing slope.
It had snowed earlier in the week and the surrounding peaks glistened white.
Beautiful back country powder and bright blue skies
The bottom along the North and West forks is spangled with winter-dormant yellow and red willows.
I had sought solitude and found it here on the lonely bottom where I found a lovely beaver dam.
It felt great to be cross country skiing during this winter of physical recuperation.  Skiing is so much more liberating and fun than snowshoeing, something I had been doing of necessity in deference to my healing shoulder.
Past the campground and then past the West Fork Forest Service Guard Station I cut fresh trail in the powder another mile to East Fork Teton, where I found a great snowbridge and then made my way another 50 yards to the Bob Marshall Wilderness sign for photos.  Mount Wright towers over this area and its snowy top was being whisked skyward by the high winds raking the peaks.
After a bite to eat and some water I turned around and skied back out, pausing to notice that the Guard Station was inhabited by visitors who had propped their skis and snowshoes against the building.  I wished I could have stayed the night.
Then I started up the four miles of road and the 1,000 feet, stopping only to chat with a family going into the station on snowshoes and at the end, a skier who had spent the day at the hill who was about the downhill back to the cabin.
Hard to beat such a gorgeous day!
My route from my GPS

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