July 29 to August 6, 2017

Status FULL
Cost $1720.00 (per person)
Travel Dates July 29 to August 6, 2017
Description Looking at a map of Wyoming, in on the northwestern corner of the state, you will see Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park, and to their east and southeast, astride the Continental Divide, a patchwork of National Forests and Wilderness Areas with names like Shoshone, Washakie, Wind River, Bridger, Teton and Absaroka, all part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, with an area greater than that of Yellowstone and Grand Teton N.P.s combined. And through this vast area, starting at the Montana border, running through Yellowstone and continuing southeasterly for almost 200 miles is the Absaroka Mountain Range, a wild and remote tangle of jagged peaks and spires, long, gentle slopes and large open meadows of green grass and wildflowers. There are dozens of peaks over 12,000 feet and there are wolves, grizzly bears, black bears, mountain lions, elk, moose, big horn sheep, deer and all of the other wildlife found in pristine wilderness. But, what you won’t find is many people. They’re in Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Jackson Hole, with the throngs of other tourists.

On this trip we will be exploring the southwest Absarokas, within the 2.4 million acre Shoshone National Forest, the nation’s first National Forest. (Wyoming also boasts the nation’s first National Park, Yellowstone, and the first National Monument, Devil’s Tower.) Hiking will be moderate to strenuous, with round trip distances of 7 to 11 miles and climbs of 2,100 feet to elevations over 11,000 feet. Less strenuous options will be also be available. The real challenge will be the altitude above sea level for us low-country hikers. To enjoy these hikes and keep up with the group you must be an experienced hiker in good condition. The itinerary is set up to provide an opportunity to acclimate, with the relatively easier hikes at the beginning and the most strenuous at the end. Transport to the trailheads will be in ranch vehicles (crew-cab pickups or vans) driven by ranch staff, who will also be our guides. We’ll visit beautiful mountain lakes surrounded by towering cliffs and spires, expansive meadows full of wildflowers and summits offering breathtaking views of the Teton, Gros Ventre, Absaroka and Wind River Ranges. The itinerary includes an open day when you can choose to go on a guided horseback ride (cost included), try your hand at fly fishing (cost included but you’ll need to buy a license), take another hike or just hang out.

Our base and accommodations for the week will be Absaroka Ranch, a scenic hour and a half drive north and then east from the Jackson Hole Airport, and over the Continental Divide at 9658′ Togwotee Pass. Look again at your map. Find the small, mountain town of Dubois, WY, on US Highway 26/287, about 60 miles directly east of Jackson, as the crow flies. Now backtrack from Dubois on 26/287 northwesterly about 16 miles, and turn north off the highway onto a gravel road (you probably won’t see it on your map) into the Dunoir Creek valley, then about 6 miles up the drainage to the foot of the Absaroka Mountains. There, at about 8,000 feet, you’ll find Absaroka Ranch, which was a genuine, century-old, working cattle ranch until 1982, when it was purchased by the Betts family and converted to a guest ranch catering to hikers, horseback riders, hunters and fly fishers. There is the main lodge, with dining room and living room with fireplace, and four guest cabins set around a native lawn beneath tall aspens and cottonwoods, with views across the Dunoir Valley to the Wind River Range beyond. Each heated cabin has two bedrooms, each with two beds, and a shared bath. (One bathroom for two bedrooms.) So the ranch can accommodate only 16 guests, and we’ll have it all to ourselves for the week.

All meals at the ranch, from Sunday dinner through Saturday breakfast, are included. The ranch is famous for its gourmet meals, served family style. Complimentary wine and beer is offered, starting with hors d’oeuvres served outside each evening, and continuing through dinner. Trail lunches are made to order from selections made the night before.

The trip starts and ends in busy, touristy Jackson, Wyoming, a quintessential Wild West cowboy town, with many shops, western and wildlife art galleries and restaurants. (Note that “Jackson Hole” refers to the region consisting of the valley on the east side of the Grand Teton Mountain Range. Jackson is the town at the south end of the valley, but the terms are often used interchangeably.) Accommodations August 1 and 8 will be in the Antler Inn Motel (cost included), located about two blocks from the famous Jackson Town Square. Please note that meals in Jackson are not included in the trip cost. Also, the trip cost does not include transport from the Jackson Hole Airport to the Antler Inn Motel on arrival day, or from the motel to the airport on departure day (about $20 each way), because many participants may choose to arrive early or stay on to explore Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks on their own. (We can arrange group transportation when everyone’s plans and arrival/departure times are known.)

Included Six (6) nights lodging and all meals (6 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 6 dinners) at Absaroka Ranch; Ground transportation from the ranch to hiking trailheads; Guide service by ranch staff ; Optional horseback riding and fly fishing on Wednesday (Wyoming fishing license not included.); Gratuities for ranch staff; Two (2) nights at the Antler Inn Motel in Jackson (July 29 and August 5); Ground transportation (including drivers’ gratuity) from the Antler Inn on July 30 to Grand Teton N.P. and then on to Absaroka Ranch, and from Absaroka Ranch to the Antler Inn Motel on August 5
Not Included Airfare; Transfer from the airport to the Antler Inn motel and from the motel to the airport; Meals in Jackson; Trail lunch on day 2; Motel room gratuity; Trip insurance; Entrance fee for Grand Teton NP
Payment Policy A deposit of $500 is due at the time of registration. The remaining balance of $1220 is due no later than March 31, 2017.
Cancellation Policy If you need to cancel the trip at any time, a $100 ADK registration fee is nonrefundable. The balance of the deposit is fully refundable up to March 31, 2017. After March 31, 2017, no refunds are possible unless your space can be filled from a waiting list. If the ADK cancels the trip or if in the opinion of the leader this trip is not for you, the full amount will be refunded.
Accommodations and Meals
Trip Insurance It is very strongly recommended that all participants have trip or travel insurance that will cover trip cancellation by the participant, travel delays, medical expenses and medical evacuation. ADK does not provide this insurance and does not cover medical expenses or evacuation in the event you are injured or become ill during the trip. Note that if you have to cancel after the date indicated above, and cannot be replaced from the leader’s waiting list (if any) you could be out the entire amount you paid for the trip.
Daily Itinerary

Day 1: Saturday, July 29, 2017

Meet at the Antler Inn Motel, Jackson, Wyoming. After a short introductory meeting, we’ll go out on the town for dinner. (Dinner not included. Overnight at the Antler Inn included.)

Day 2: Sunday, July 30, 2017

Check out of the motel and 8:30 AM departure, with transport by chartered bus to a trail head in Grand Teton National Park, with a stop at the wonderful Craig Thomas Visitor Center. (We leave our baggage on the bus.) We’ll plan a 4 or 5 hour hike in the park, and then leave for Absaroka Ranch. It’s a spectacularly scenic, one and a half our drive over the Continental Divide at 9658′ Togwotee Pass and down into the Wind River Valley. Then about 6 miles up a bumpy, dusty gravel road to Absaroka Ranch. We’ll have a brief orientation meeting and walk around the ranch area before dinner. (Breakfast and lunch not included. Dinner and overnight at the ranch included.)

Day 3: Monday, July 31, 2017

Like most of the hikes that we’ll be doing, this one starts near Togwotee Pass. From Brooks Lake, at 9,000′, it’s about an 8 mile (round trip) hike around Brooks Lake, Rainbow Lake and up about 900 feet to the Jade Lakes, at the foot of a 10,900 foot ridge which is the Continental Divide. (All meals and overnight at the ranch included.)

Day 4: Tuesday, August 1, 2017

From a trailhead a mile west of Togwotee Pass, at 9,400′, we hike along the Continental Divide on the crest of the 800′ high Brooks Lake Cliffs to the 11,040′ summit of Mount Sublette. This 8 mile loop across the “Top of the World” includes a 1.5 mile alpine ridge walk across a meadow covered in wildflowers with incredible views of the Absarokas. (All meals and overnight at the ranch included.)

Day 5: Wednesday, August 2, 2017

This day has been left open so you can enjoy some of the other activities the ranch has to offer. There are options for guided horseback rides and/or fly fishing, we can organize another hike or you can stroll the grounds, just relax, read a book and enjoy the views from the cabin porch. (All meals and overnight at the ranch included.)

Day 6: Thursday, August 3, 2017

The South Summit of Northeast Pinnacle Butte: About 7 miles round trip and 2,000’ up through Jules Bowl, a magical cirque dotted with meadows and evergreen stands. This hike tops out at about 11,240′ atop the 1,000 foot cliffs of the Pinnacles, with spectacular views of the Dunoir Valley, Tetons, Gros Ventres, Absarokas and Wind Rivers. (All meals and overnight at the ranch included.)

Day 7: Friday, August 4, 2017

Our grand finale: A long, hard hike to 11,155′ Austin Peak, which is really a broad, flat plateau of wildflower-carpeted tundra meadow on the Continental Divide, at the edge of the Teton Wilderness. Views from the top include the Tetons, Gros Ventres, Wind Rivers, Pinnacle Buttes, Brooks Lake Cliffs and, to the north, 12,156′ Younts Peak, the most remote mountain in the Lower 48. The 11 mile hike starts at 9,300′ and climbs 2,100’. (All meals and overnight at the ranch included.)

Day 8: Saturday, August 5, 2017

After breakfast we pack up and prepare to depart Absaroka Ranch. However, we’ll have time for a hike (5-7 miles) to one of the overlooks above the ranch before leaving. Our bus will pick us up at about 3:00 PM for our 1 ½ hour ride back to Jackson. After checking in at the Antler Inn Motel, we are on our own to wander around and explore this busy tourist town. If everyone agrees, we can gather for a farewell dinner at one of the famous cowboy bar/restaurants in town. (Overnight at the Antler Inn Motel included. Meals in Jackson are not included.)

Day 9: Day Nine, Sunday, August 6, 2017

The conclusion of our trip. Most flights depart Jackson Hole Airport very early in the morning. For those of us flying home today, we will arrange early transport from the motel to the airport, but the cost (about $20) is not included.

Notes Do not make your flight arrangements until Trip Leader tells you that this trip has the minimum participants for the trip to go.

Trip prices and arrangements are subject to change due to circumstances beyond ADK’s control.

Planned activities are subject to change due to weather, trail conditions or other unforeseen circumstances, at the sole discretion of the Leader.

Registration Procedure Please carefully read the above detailed trip description and itinerary, and contact Trip Leader if you have any questions. Then, if you decide to join this adventure, please contact me (email, phone or snail mail) and I will send you the registration paperwork, consisting of the Registration form, the Health and Physical Condition Questionnaire and Release of Liability form. Complete these forms and send them to me by U.S. Postal Service with the deposit (check payable to “ADK” or the Credit Card Authorization) to reserve a spot. Please note that original signatures are required on all forms. Spaces are reserved in the order that complete and acceptable registration forms and deposit payments are received, so don’t delay.

You must be a member in good standing of ADK to be a participant on an ADK Adventure Travel Trip. Join ADK online.

Trip Leader Sue Kenyon
917-613-2042 (voice/text)