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After completing the Colorado Trail in 2012, I was looking for the next “Big Thing” in hiking. I found two “Big Things;” a packraft, and leaving the established trails. I quickly learned that hiking without a trail or running an unknown river could give you lots of surprises. That’s why my Teton Wilderness Packrafting trip was perfect!

I planned my trip along Pacific Creek as an easy one or two-night practice run before a more challenging longer trip. As it turned out, an overnight on Pacific Creek was quite an adventure. Both the paddling and the hiking were harder than expected, affording me the opportunity to practice decision making under frustrating circumstances.


  • I hiked up Pacific Creek with a plan to go all the way up to Two Ocean Pass. Because Upper Pacific Creek looked low (and full of wood), I turned around a bit early and finished the trip by packrafting back down most of Pacific Creek.
  • I went for an off trail bushwacking/canyoneering hike to avoid some rapids that looked just a bit too much to attempt solo with rusty whitewater skills.
  • On the way, I scared off a grizzly bear.

I love packrafting and exploring remote wilderness areas for one big reason: unpredictability. Rain or snow melt can change a river from easy to terrifying, a tree falling into a river can make a safe rapid a deadly trap and a bad decision can quickly put you in a precarious situation.

Teton Wilderness Packrafting Photo Essay

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