Friday, May 15, 2009

An Awe-inspiring Sight

A few raindrops fell this morning--late arrivals for yesterday's forecast for precipitation. But the sky looked as though it was clearing.

So after a quick breakfast, we headed northwest on 287/26 from Dubois, WY, to Grand Teton National Park. Just west of Dubois, there are several lodges and dude ranches.

As we began to ascend through the Shoshone National Forest, we passed the castlelike Pinnacle Buttes or "the pinnacles."

At an elevation of 9,658 feet, we crossed the Togwatee Pass.

The Pass is named for a subchief under Chief Washakie. Togwotee was one of the last independent Sheepeater Indians--a branch of the Shoshones--and the individual who led a U.S. government exploratory expedition over this pass in 1873.

Snow lies along the roadside until early July. The high reflector posts along the road attest to the depth of snow that confront snowplows.

Not long after crossing the Continental Divide, we came upon our first view of the Grand Tetons. It was an awe-inspiring sight.

The cloud covered the Grand Teton peak for about two hours, as though it was the peak's own climate system.

This is another photograph of the tallest mountains (hidden by the cloud) in the range. The Snake River winds through this part of the Park. There was a group of eight in a raft on a float trip down the Snake, but I missed the photo--even though the raft would have been too small to make it out in a photo.

The Teton Glacier Turnout provides views of the 13,770-foot Grand Teton and other peaks. The glacier and the terminal moraine at the end of the glacier also can be seen to the right of Grand Teton, whose peak in hidden by a cloud. This glacier has been receding during most of historic time, as have others in the Teton Range.

Kate had packed a lunch for us, and we found a table with a view of the mountains and the Cottonwood Creek behind us. It could not have been a more beautiful setting for lunch. However, we ate quickly because of the notice that was nailed to the table: Be Bear Aware!

The cloud finally lifted and revealed the three main mountains in the Teton range: (left to right) South Teton, Middle Teton, and Grand Teton.

Continuing with the range: (left to right) Grand Teton, Mount Owen, and Teewinot. It turned out to be a beautiful day to view these magnificent peaks.

We ended our first day's visit to Grand Teton NP with a stop at Cottonwood Creek, a very shallow creek, but a very nice companion to the mountain peak in the background.

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