Live From The Tetons: Busted Shoulders and Lost Lakes

A downhill biking crash can't keep our blogger out of the Jedediah Smith Wilderness

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Well, downhill biking went well until those boulders had to get in my way. Jerks.

During a rip-roaring descent down Grand Targhee’s ominous-sounding “Sidewinder,” I took a big digger midway through, causing my shoulder to swell up to the size of an orange. But I wasn’t going to let that stop me from cruising out to the Jedediah Smith Wilderness, where expansive Teton hiking awaited.

They must’ve worried for my safety after the downhill biking madness, because I got two guides. Works for me: Jeff Jung And Diane Varna from Rendezvous Backcountry Tours know the Tetons like old sages. I got an intimate view of the wilderness, from deep mountain-man history ( Jedediah Smith was one of the few mountain men to eschew boozin’ and whorin’) to the details of each type of spectacular high-altitude flower (I now know which blooms are edible and which are poisonous. I think).

Our destination was The South Leigh Lakes, a series of clear tarns surrounded by whitebark pine and jutting ribs of white granite. “you can really get a feel for why the west side is special,” said Diane.

Yes, yes I can.

Today, we’ll head out to the South Fork of the Snake River for fly fishing, another activity that this basement-bound blogger hasn’t tried yet. But Ive got a good feeling: I’ve got this fly fishing video to start with, and there aren’t any boulders for me to shoulder into. I think.

–Ted Alvarez

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