Even though I had just returned from a great pack raft trip to AK, it doesn't take too many days in sizzlin' Salt Lake in July to get a quick yen to head back north and into the mountains. So Brother Paul, Drew Hardesty of Utah Avalanche Center fame, and renowned Mountain Girl Zinnia Wilson headed for the Jackson area to do the DuMor.
My first pack raft trip was the River of Return some years ago, and that great loop trip was generally conceived by the pack raft luminary Forrest McCarthy. So when he later spearheaded another fun trip in the Teton Wilderness between the Teton Valley and Yellowstone national park with some friends of ours who all gave it a few thumbs up we knew that it would also be a good trip. Forrest has a penchant for giving his trips names, and this one he called the DuMor, which I thought was a clever way to combine the three hike/three river journey he cooked up that starts in the general vicinity of the little town of Dubois and ends near the equally little "town" of Moran, but it turns out that there's also an area called Dunoir, which is the name of a creek and glacier in the Absaroka mountains that stretch from the Teton Valley 150 miles up through and past Yellowstone. Touche' Forrest, for the doble entendre'.....
Our trip began by picking up Ross at the Buffalo Fork work station. Ross is an old compatriot of Zinnia, and Zin has a special connection to this part of the world since she spent 12 summers doing trail work in the area that we were about to enter. There are nearly 500 miles of trails in the Teton Wilderness, and even thought they are used far less frequently than those in the Teton range or the nearby Wind Rivers, but trails they are and they need to be maintained (a lot of use in the huntin' season) so Zin was a critical part in keeping those trails up.
As we were packing up at the trailhead a heavily-laden Subaru came bouncing into the lot and out jumped....five pack rafters! The DuMor probably gets done once or twice a year, and all of a sudden there were nine of us getting ready to do it.
|Our crew ready to go, team B shortly behind.|
There was another commercial hiking trip (supported by horse packers) and the first creek crossing of lots of pack rafters and lots of hikers wasn't quite the wilderness experience we were all expecting:
|Zin happily mowing into her biohazard lunch, and it was only day 1!|
But finally we got to some good looking whitewater:
|Paul peering in|
The whitewater was worthy; really high quality class 3+
|Zin pointing out the line on this spicy number. Even if there were no logs this would still be a bit of a non-starter rapid. There's an easy to get but quite small eddy to catch just above this. High water might make it a bit more diecy?|
After a couple of half days of paddling we got to our takeout spot;
to a welcome rest at a nice overlook
|the gorge downstream undoubtedly has some good whitewater as well.|
|it plunged big just out of sight|
As we went up, the flora got pretty:
|I've never really known what porcupines do besides waddle around; now - thanks to Zin's knowledge - I know that they also strip trees....|
|As always for me, plenty of wolf sign, but no sighting....|
|Zin spotted this bear print on a log that he/she stepped on to get over (even bears don't want to trip over a log!)|
As we got up higher, we needed a cool mountain guide to show us the way:
and even prompted me to break out into song:
Finally we reached the pass that was well over 11k, where a chilly breeze gave me a chance to bust out my secret weapon again:
|this was a mountain goat highway! they must be very social and walk all in a line to catch up on their goat gossip.|
|Paul making it look.....easy?|
|the confluence is up against the trees|
Now that we were in Zin's hood, she became the map master:
|A very nice porch. And Drew - as a Teton ranger with a cabin in Lupine Meadows - knows nice porches!|
|this little creek splits, with one fork heading for the Atlantic and one for the Pacific. Tho it's probably more likely that the waters are going to Montana wheat and Idaho spuds, but whatever.|
|huh? what's wrong with my suit?!!?|