Mountains and Storms, Oh My!

Sunday, July 7, 2013 - 6:00pm


Jeff Mogavero

            When the workweek finally comes to an end, Henry and the Forks are always excited for the adventures that the weekend is sure to hold. Some recent escapades have included floating the Warm River and Henry’s Fork, hiking around by Sawtelle Mountain, backpacking in the Caribou Range, and exploring the towns and cities around Ashton (and of course a bundle of fishing). This past weekend, Bess and I went for a hike to the very popular Table Mountain in the Teton Range. Little did we know, this trip would prove to be far more exciting than we thought.

A lovely day for a hike!
            With daypacks slung over our shoulders, we left the Teton Camp Ground around 10:00AM for the ~6 mile trek to the summit of Table Mountain. We talked with a number of people on the way up, and all assured us that the views of the Tetons from the peak would be marvelous. Talking with folks was wonderful, until one guy coming down the trail warned us “watch out, there’s a big storm up ahead.” This wasn’t exactly what we’d hoped to hear. As we ascended some final switchbacks to reach a plateau 1.5 miles from the summit, we saw the dark grey and purple thunderheads heading straight for us. After discussing our situation with an awesome man sporting a “Fear Grandpa” tee shirt, we decided to press on and see if we could make it to the top before the storm unleashed its fury. And boy oh boy, did things get interesting.
            A mile from the peak, the storm set in. We were more or less above tree line, standing in the open at 10,000 feet. If I were a bolt of lightening, I would have loved to strike us. Accordingly, we flew down the trail as fast as we could and took shelter from the hail and lightening in a small grove of trees, layering up as the temperature dropped 20 degrees in a matter of minutes. We were a bit discouraged, but even more determined to make it to the summit. Forty-five minutes later, the storm had passed and we set out once again.
...not as lovely of a day...
           Of course, another storm decided to mosey on in and say hello. Now past the point of no return, we went off trail to a stunted copse of trees and sat out this storm, the hail not reaching us through a thatched roof of pine. A half hour later, we opted to make another dash for the summit, passing a few groups that were up there hiding in rocks when the storms hit (they could feel the static electricity building up around them).
            This attempt was rather short lived. Almost completely above tree line, a third storm rolled in and forced us to hide under some gnarled tree/shrubs. The temperature dropped even more, and we didn’t have nearly as much protection from the storm as we huddled together for warmth. But deterred we were not! We emerged from our lair and stared defiantly at the peak, perhaps a quarter mile away, beckoning for us to climb to its precipice. Then we glanced across the mountains.
            Storm numero quatro was also staring at the peak. It decided to make itself known by sending down from the heavens a fiery stab of electricity, right to the top of the mountain. A moment later, a repeat strike had Bess and I turning our backs on that fine looking mountain. After nearly three hours of playing cat and mouse with storms that shouldn’t be reckoned with, we decided it wasn’t worth it. We made our way down trail (a mighty steep trail, might I add), stoked to have made it out alive (we had our doubts at some points), and even happier to have seen some wonderful scenery and met a number of rad people (we had a nice chat with “Fear Grandpa” man again at the trailhead). This hike may not have been what we were expecting, but it was still a great time!

Still alive! (yay)

Checking the weather is for squares,