From Canyon to Peak

From Canyon to Peak

We woke up while the sky was still filled with the Milky Way on day 3 of our backpack (which was super awesome!! I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many stars!!). We threw on hiking shoes, grabbed a quick granola bar to eat, and were on our way. The hike began with headlamps since it was so dark! We had to reach Static Peak to see the eclipse by 11:30, so we decided to go into “crush mode.” Each of us worked super hard, and we ended up moving pretty fast along, until we reached the snowbanks. Here, we had to take it slow since we were walking over icy terrain. Luckily, by this time, the sun came up so we didn’t need our headlamps, but we were all slipping and sliding despite perfect vision. I still have battle scars on my knee from falling over the ice! Luckily, we made it to the top of Static Peak early since we made such good time in the morning. We saw the eclipse (please read about it in one of my previous posts), and then we climbed down the mountain. At that point, we were all super hungry from hours of uphill, so we stopped for lunch. To our left was a beautiful, lake-filled valley straight out of a painting. I couldn’t have asked for a better lunch spot! We then decided to press on, as we had 9 miles of downhill left (we did a total of 13 that day).

Downhills are nice because, although your knees ache from constant stress, you can hold a conversation and your heart isn’t leaping out of your chest. Plus, you can spend more time looking at all of the scenery. We were able to see a mountain goat, some deer, and beautiful granite cliffs.

At around 6pm, we finally made it out of the woods. Though I missed the beautiful landscapes of the Tetons, I was happy to finally have some real food! After a 3 hour drive back to Afton, we stopped to get pizza. Each of us ordered our own, full-sized pizza! The restaurant thought we were very odd, but our bellies were very grateful.

I’m so glad that there are so many students interested in doing outdoorsy things at Caltech, and that we were able to make the eclipse trip happen. I look forward to planning another backpacking trip to see the 2024 eclipse.

Phelps lake, again. This time, the picture was taken while walking downhill!
The beautiful woods!
The view of the valley near our lunch spot.
The valleys and peaks near Static Peak