FKT: Jen Day Denton - Grand Teton Picnic (WY) - 2023-08-29

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
10h 40m 54s

The Picnic is on every adventurer's To-Do List. I figured one day I'd get around to it one day, but never committed. Until I broke my tailbone in a glissading accident in late May of 2023. The only forms of exercise I could do without aggravating the injury were swimming with minimal kicking and road biking. Running and mountain biking were out of the picture for almost 8 weeks! Grateful I wasn't injured worse, I swam and biked. Things I never would have done by choice! After my first day of swimming laps in the pool, the picnic became the obvious and organic goal for the summer. The tailbone healed and I was grateful the universe had plotted me on a course for a challenging and epic adventure! Waiting on a weather window was the next challenge. 

I decided to just go for it even if there was still ice in the chimney and heavy winds and no perfect window. I started the bike at 1:03am to hopefully avoid swimming and biking in heavier afternoon winds. The moon shining for the first half of the swim, but set about halfway through. Left to navigate in the dark, I beached too far south and had to swim about 500m north to the dock. I wasn't too worried about the lost time though because swimming under the starts was magic. I started the 3 miles to the trailhead and about 1 mile in, my headlamp died. So I used my phone flashlight until I arrived at the lower saddle when the sun began its triumphant rise. I hit the summit right as the orange light enveloped the entire range. What a remarkable sight!

I ran into a new friend on the run down and just felt great the rest of the day, especially since the swim back was much easier in the light. I began and ended the day with all my gear. But the bike ride back into town with a pack full of gear and a soaking wet wetsuit was heavy. The only thing that was sore by the end of my adventure were my shoulders from the weight of that pack! Later someone asked why I didn't use a cargo rack on the bike... That would have been super helpful! 

I finished in the town square with a few tourists and strangers passing by. Kind of great that no one had any idea what I had just done. A few minutes later, a friend came to greet me and the celebration began. What a fantastic day!!

When I first saw the Tetons in 2016, they lit a fire in my soul. It's a love that pulls me back multiple times each year. I'm not a great runner, swimmer, or biker. So there's room for someone to come smash my time. But I do love these mountains with my whole heart and I am full of gratitude for each day I get to spend in their midst.