'I fell in love with it.' Rexburg woman hikes popular mountain for her 100th time - East Idaho News
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‘I fell in love with it.’ Rexburg woman hikes popular mountain for her 100th time

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REXBURG — A local woman celebrated an impressive accomplishment this month after climbing Table Mountain, commonly referred to as Table Rock, for her 100 time.

Bryanna Johnson, 42, a mother, adjunct professor at Brigham Young University-Idaho and member of the Rexburg City Council, reached the triple-digit milestone on March 16. The first time she hiked up Table Rock in the Teton Range was with her husband on their anniversary in August 2017.

“We went to the Tetons for the first time the year before that and I thought they were so pretty,” she said. “Once we went up that hike (in August), I fell in love with it.”

There are two trails people can take to get to the top. She said the hike starts in Teton Canyon on the Idaho side of the Tetons. There’s the North Teton Trail known as “Huckleberry” — which is around seven miles one way — or the Face Trail, which she described as “more of a straight shot up,” that’s about four miles each way.

“It’s about 4,000 feet of elevation gain so you’re talking (starting at) about 7,000 feet and ending at 11,000 feet,” Johnson mentioned.

The year Johnson first hiked Table Rock in 2017 was also the same year her brother died. She took care of him up until his death and she remembers how hard her life felt with his passing. Although she liked the mountains before her brother died, she found the mountains brought her peace after he was no longer here.

“I feel like ever since, anything that’s hard in life, you at least have the mountains that are going to be the same. You go there and you see the same trees, the same rocks and the same peaks,” Johnson explained. “No matter what’s going on in your life, you know that they’re still going to be there giving you peace.”

Johnson family hiking
Bryanna Johnson and her husband Jon. | Courtesy Bryanna Johnson

Johnson, who’s hiked the mountain with company and at times, alone, didn’t initially plan on making 100 trips to the top but once she’d done it so many times, she started to keep track.

In 2020, she hiked the mountain every month of the year, even in the winter, which adds on about eight more miles due to the road being closed to the trailhead. It takes her between seven and nine hours to complete the hike in the winter months.

In the summer, if she takes the Huckleberry Trail it takes her around four-and-a-half hours total compared to the Face Trail which she can hike in around four hours or less.

“It’s gotten so much easier but every time at the end, I feel like, ‘Wow this is really hard’ and then you get up to the top (and) it’s so beautiful,” Johnson said.

Hiking up Table Rock has not only brought her peace and breathtaking views, but memories she cherishes. She remembers her first time snowshoeing to the top in the winter and the satisfaction that came with it, and the first time she hiked it with all three of her kids, her youngest being seven.

And, of course, she said she’ll never forget her 100 visit to the top. Johnson’s husband surprised her with a cake he hiked up with in his backpack. Once the couple made it to the top, they found seven men, also from Rexburg, who they invited to stay and eat cake with them to celebrate.

“There’s usually wind up there, but it was so still … and sunny (that day),” Johnson recalled.

Johnson said she plans to continue hiking Table Rock and encourages others to get outdoors and explore too.

“People should go outside for so many reasons,” Johnson said. “It’s amazing out there.”

Hikers at Table Rock
Bryanna Johnson with her husband and the seven men from Rexburg who ate cake at the top of the mountain with them to celebrate her 100 hike up. | Courtesy Bryanna Johnson