GET OUT: Picnic pleasures

By on September 1, 2015

Multi-sport jaunts to fulfill all needs and desires

In Wyoming, some ‘picnics’ apparently include burly climbing and Teton views. (Photo: Elizabeth Koutrelakos)

In Wyoming, some ‘picnics’ apparently include burly climbing and Teton views. (Photo: Elizabeth Koutrelakos)

The end of summer is here. Both locals and out-of-towners have worked all season to get into top-notch shape, and are now completing top-notch excursions. The idea of a multi-sport day, or “picnic,” started quietly a few years ago and has since gained a cult following. People from all over seem to be finding out about it and attempting their own picnics in and around the Teton Range. For those unfamiliar, the picnic is a term specific to this area used to define a series of different outdoor activities linked together into one adventure.  Endeavors may include, but are not limited to swimming, biking, hiking, climbing, running, paddling and other recreational methods.

The great thing about picnicking is that the only person who really cares about what they do is the one who is practicing the art of the picnic. Anything could be a picnic, and fellow athletes need not stay within the confines of things that have already been defined, known and done. This article will touch on a few different picnics to choose from, not in hopes that you actually do this, but to let you see that the possibilities are endless.

The Extreme-nic (also known as the Jackson Hole Iron Man)

A mellow guy who simply wanted an excuse to eat a lot of bacon pioneered this venture. It consists of swimming around Jenny Lake (5.5 Miles), running the crest trail (42 miles), then biking from the pass reaching around into Idaho, then back to Wyoming (110 miles).  It seems evident that the pioneer of this event was slacking in the incorporation of the bike ride, stopping just two miles short of an actual triathlon. That being said, this venture scores closest to a real triathlon, except with significantly more vertical gain and loss during the run as well as minimal “aid stations.” Unguided, it seems to be pretty legitimate with little room for error and lots of need for snacking. Why anyone in his right mind would choose to do this is beyond me, but this little venture seems to be for the strong of heart.

The Original Picnic

Established by a man with a dog and a big dream, this jaunt consists of biking from town to Jenny Lake (21 miles), swimming across the lake (1.3) miles, then climbing the Grand (10 miles). And then back again. This picnic seems unique in the fact that one transitions to different sports six times to compile one long day of mountain life. This excursion seems legitimate, social and snack worthy, and very deserving of its original name of “The Picnic.” Although this mission used to be so cool no one knew how cool it was, word is spreading fast and it seems to have become all the rage. This is the only picnic with a governing body, the International Committee for Extreme High Alpine Mixed Aquateering, which also makes it extra cool.

The Slosh-nic

Originally compiled by a free loving professional, this adventure is slightly complicated yet well worth it. Begin at Cowboy Coffee by the town square. Spend a moment counting how many people you see with large cameras draped around their necks. After significant coffee and people watching, grab a grapefruit sloshie at Creekside Market and wade into Flat Creek. From there, walk to your bike and ride Cache to Game. Stop at LDS for another sloshie, then bike back to town. This adventure incorporates soaking in the culture of the valley while on a workout regime. While I personally could not survive on sloshies for an entire day, I’m sure that there are people out there in this community that could manage to.

The Typical Picnic

Many a human has assisted in making this traditional venture one for the books. Read carefully so as not to disrupt the flow of this picnic. Walk to your car, motorcycle or vehicle of transportation (.1 miles). Drive to Jenny Lake (1.3 gallons of gas). Walk down the ramp to the lake (.08 miles). Wade in the water (4 feet). Have an actual picnic. Walk back up and reverse your steps. Go home and rest. This picnic stays true to its name and offers the scenic pleasures of the typical picnic with fewer calories burned.

So what picnic will you choose? Remember, the potentials for creating your own “first” are endless here in Wyoming. Whatever excursion you select to attempt or create, just be sure to time it, photograph it, Facebook it and ‘gram it, or it doesn’t count. PJH

About Elizabeth Koutrelakos

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