Day 3: Holly Lake

Luckily, the sun hit our tent early in the morning from the East side and warmed us up. Unluckily, our boots had frozen solid overnight. We laid in the sun on a warm rock for breakfast and hoped things would start to melt before setting off down into Cascade Canyon.

Beautiful view over Cascade Canyon and the split between the North & South fork. Our next night sleep would be over those mountains ahead of us:
We were were able to move quickly across the snowless trail up the North Fork of Cascade Canyon to Lake Solitude where we saw people again after 2 days alone. The Lake was, as the name implies, solitary and beautiful. I could have napped in the sunshine there for hours. But alas, we still needed to cross the mountains to get to Paintbrush Canyon.
So we left the day hikers behind and started to long solo slog 2,000 feet up and watched as Lake Solitude became smaller and smaller down below:
Another stunning view of the North Fork of Cascade Canyon and, of course, the impressive Tetons now behind us.
The top of Paintbrush Divide offered fantastic views of the great Mount Moran as the Tetons now hid behind us. The descent, however, was terrifying. This picture below is of us at the bottom of the descent. It doesn’t look like much but, let me tell you, coming down an 80% grade ice slope that drops over 1,000 feet is scary and absolutely impossible without an ice axe.  
Zooming-in on the divide:

Soon after coming off of the steep snow we were able to move quickly down the gentler grade to the very still and serene Holly Lake in the Upper Paintbrush Canyon area. At 9,200′ this lake is enveloped by an alpine wonderland where we enjoyed the best sleep of the trip on flat, solid ground! A nice treat after the scariest part of the entire journey!

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