Friday, November 16, 2012

What a summer! Part 1

What a Summer!

I can not believe all that has happened, what I've learned, and the changes that life has given me. To start it out my dad got sick in June, (well he had been getting sicker and sicker for over a year) and ended up in the hospital the day after Father's Day. At that point I kind of knew that it was near the end of his life, but who wants to accept that fact. It was even easy to talk about, but when he died... time stopped! 

Well in lieu of that HUGE event, I decided to 'unofficially' dedicate the rest of the summer to my dad:
Jabez Dean Ritchie!

Dad and Derick at Blowout in 2007

Here is how it started. 
On the weekend of July 26th through the 30th we were supposed to go up to Grand Targhee and see Deirks Bentley and Dwight Yokum at a Country Fest they were having, well the concert got canceled. Bumbed Out!  AND Dad was still in the hospital so we wondered about cancelling everything all together. So Derick and I decided (thanks to my good friend Micha) that since we already had our reservations paid for at the Teton Canyon Campground and cell service was just down the road, we would head up there anyway and make it a hiking weekend!! Oh thank the Lord all mighty  #1 we went and #2 we decided to hike! Because it rekindled a love for hiking that Derick and I had almost forgotten we had. (Well, not really, but it sure helped.)

On Friday morning we got up early and headed up the Teton Canyon. Our plan was to hike up the Devil's Staircase then head towards the Alaska Basin and do the big loop. (Wait, wait, wait, I have to tell you... that the Alaska Basin Loop has been something we have talked about doing for years!) Well within the first 20 minutes of hiking we ran into miss moose, she was within 10 yards and walking straight towards me. She did not know I was there until I took this shot when she looked right at me. I was getting a bit nervous, she was getting quite close. Then she meandered towards the trail and down to the creek. Wow! How cute is she!!

Top of Devil's Staircase looking towards the Alaska Basin.
As we were hiking, I decided to try to "Feel" every sense that I have. Listen to the padding of my feet on the trail, hear the sound of the birds chirping, the smell and taste of the fresh air, the feel of the cool morning air in my lungs. Touch the dew on the leaves, and soak in all the beautiful views. I tried to sense all my senses at once! I tell you what, that first three miles was over in a jiffy! Then.... we went up the 1 mile, 1500 foot elevation gain called The Devil's Staircase. By the time I got to the top of that, the only thing I could feel was the shaking of my entire body and the heaving of my breath. Plus, I am soooo NOT fond of climbing the edge of cliffs, I almost wanted to crawl. (I had to keep telling myself, three points of contact, three points of contact, yuck) it was quite the trek.

Me and my favorite Man!

When we got to the top of the Devil's Stairs we found a killer little spring, filled up our water and had a bit of a snack, then were raring to move on out. But a big ole' thunder storm started rolling in on us. Now, remember, we are on top of a HUGE, FLAT ridge! Uh Oh, we had better bolt, before we Get bolted! I'd hate to have our own monument at the top of "Devil's Stairs", that would just not be good. On our way down we passed a bunch of li'l ole' ladies with hiking sticks trekking on UP the mountain, TOWARDS the thunderstorm, what a bunch of crazy little old ladies! (We thought.) Well yep, you guessed it, we got to the bottom and it had stopped raining. Damn! There was NO Way I was hiking back up that so we could do the loop, but we were not ready to hit the homeward trail. So we headed towards The Alaska Basin in the opposite direction, saying to ourselves; "Those li'l ole' ladies are going to make the loop and we missed our chance! I bet we pass them coming down on the trail while we are hiking up." 

View from the top of Devil's Stairs towards Table Mountain, with the dark black clouds rolling overhead!

What a wonderful day of hiking! 

We figured we hiked another 4 miles up the wrong end of the loop. Seeing the most beautiful things you can imagine. Then at the point where I was about to die (yet we still had 7 miles to get out), we passed our cute li'l ole lady friends! And guess what one lady said...."Oh look, it's the beagle people!" 

Then she mentioned that she had watched the weather report and that she had known the storm would pass.  (Woops! What a Genius idea!) And that if you can make it up there, the wild flowers are absolutely amazing! (Sheeesh, now ya tell us! There is no way in "hell" I am gonna make it up there, I left the Devil on the staircase where he wore me out!)

When we finally got back to camp, my feet were blistered, my body ached, and I COULD NOT BELIEVE WE HAD HIKED APPROXIMATELY 15 MILES! That was a first, even if I couldn't walk for a few days.Then, we tried hiking with the kids on Sunday, but my blisters wouldn't allow my shoes to be on my feet for long. 

Our attempt to hike the next day...
We missed it... Until next time Alaska Basin!


  1. I really enjoy reading your blog. Reminds me f all those places in Idaho. Hope you and the family are good!

  2. Loved this. One of my favorite places in all time is Alaska Basin. We of course would cheat and take the horses :)!!! Bears we saw Five the last trip was amazing. I am so glad you got these experiences, life is to short to miss them :). Miss you and your family, when we get back we need to spend more time enjoying the little things together.

  3. Oh Rach! We miss you guys too, thank you!

  4. Oh Rach! We miss you guys too, thank you!