Shoshoko Falls is a really beautiful spot with wonderful scenery and wildflowers; I would love to return to one day to do it justice. In this photo I was looking somewhat into the sun and had terrible light, and was worried about having to hike out in the dark, so I was really rushed and shot what I could in a hurry. I think the best way to shoot this spot is to try to get a backcountry permit and spend the night. This would give me the time to explore compositions. At the top of this waterfall is a high mountain lake – Lake Taminah.
Why was I so hurried? Well frankly we left way too late in the day for such a long hike. It is 10 miles round trip, and climbs about 2,500 feet into Avalanche Canyon – the best viewpoint of Lake Taminah is 9,200 feet, we definitely felt the altitude and the 85 degree temperatures!
You find Avalanche Canyon at the far end of Taggart Lake, but here is the other challenge – there isn’t a maintained trail up the canyon so you won’t find this hike listed in a typical guide book on the area. You follow what locals told us is a combination animal / climbers trail. This slowed our progress down as you had to climb over and under logs, large rocks and do some occasional route finding. Janine was a real trooper, although she was quick to point out her numerous scratches and bruises this morning. 🙂
The “trail” basically follows the north side of the crystal clear Taggart Creek as it winds through some large old growth forest. The last half mile is the hardest – it climbs about 1,500 feet up a large boulder field. It took us 6 hours round trip and we moved at a steady pace. The guides at Exum do it much faster, but I’m not surprised – they are young and climb mountains for a living! And they probably aren’t hauling camera gear and a tripod.
We were pushing darkness on the way out, but we did get out in time to hit the restaurant at Dornan’s at about 8:30 for one of the best tasting meals and cold beers I think I have had in a long time, as we sat on the outside deck and watched the sunset on the Tetons. They could have served water and shoe leather and I would have still felt the same way!
I do think I would recommend one of the more established hikes like Cascade Canyon before this one – but if you want to hike in to some amazing country without seeing another person, this would be the place to go – at least in the Tetons.