I just got back from Grand Teton National Park. I had planned a trip up Avalanche Canyon between Mt Wister and South Teton, off trail, then back onto the Cascade Canyon Fork trail, and out through Paintbrush.
Here's the trailhead at Taggart Lake
I decided to cut around the lake rather than take the longer marked trail to the "off-trail" climbers trail. There were a lot of downed trees:
And then the brush got thicker:
I wasn't able to find the trail where I expected to. (Later on I found out that there are conflicting maps out there about this trail. there is a correct map in Jackson Hole Hikes by Rebecca Woods). Knowing that the trail eventually met up with Taggart Creek before Shoshoko falls, I decided to backtrack to the creek and bushwhack my way up.
Not surprisingly, there were even more downed trees and thicker brush further up the creek. There were several large logs downed in pairs, so I easily crossed the creek a few times looking for easier terrain on my way up. Eventually, on the North side of the creek, the trail ran out and it was sheer rock. The other side looked pretty clear. The water wasn't deep, but it was moving fast. I decided it was worth a try, with a couple of stout sticks. I didn't make it.
After turning back, I decided to try scaling up around the rock to see if I could get past it going over
It didn't go any further, but the view was great from up there.
Once I climbed back down, I looked back up the creek. Where I tried to cross look pretty sinister from downstream.
So I went back downstream aways until I found a stout log to cross on, then I went right back up. Around 4:00 I got the worst of three stabs in the leg from errant tree branches. I sat down and changed my socks and used my first-ever piece of moleskin. As I saw the sun start its ascent over the mountains, I looked at the map and realized I wasn't even a third of the way to my campsite. I decided to turn around. I hiked back down the way I came, and decided to get to my car and reassess. As I was crossing the marsh south of the creek, I took a bad spill, only realizing later that I lost my map and bear spray while I was down (so much for LNT). Without a map, I hugged the lake until I came to a developed trail, and I hiked out on that. Pretty views of the Gros Ventres, at least
So I hitchhiked back to my car, and a couple of climbers picked me up and got me back to Jenny Lake. They had the book I mentioned earlier, and I saw where I went wrong. I went into town to have dinner and decided that I was too beat up to continue. As I was driving home, a thunderstorm broke out injuring 16 and killing 1 very close to where I had planned to be around that time. I hope those guys that picked me up are ok.
So the score for the day was Mountain 1 Joe 0, but I am already planning to go back and do it next year, probably around the same time.
It was a great trip and I don't regret anything about it.
In retrospect, I spent so much time researching Grizzlies that I wasn't really prepared with enough information about the route, but I guess everything happens for a reason.
Extra-special thanks to DylanS, HikingGranny, DaveC and MTWarden for invaluable help on the trip and the gear list.