“Les Trois Tetons” ~ Grand Teton NP

Fur trappers, when first gazing upon the Teton Range, dubbed the South, Middle, and Grand peaks “Les Trois Tetons”, meaning “the three breasts”.

With less than three days to explore one of nature’s finer creations, Grand Teton National Park, we knew we would be leaving much for another time.  A day of hiking and one dedicated to exploring the park’s beauty through a lens seemed the best approach. Fortunately this wasn’t our first visit so we didn’t feel compelled to maintain a crazed, frenetic pace.

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Bison at Antelope Flats

Waiting in a long line at the entrance station, hubby turned to me and said “remind me why we decided to visit a national park during peak season and while the National Park Service is celebrating their centennial year”.  Yes, probably not our most prudent decision.  Shoulder season is typically our time for exploring these treasures but a planned visit to friends in the area and another adventure already scheduled for the fall found us rubbing elbows with hordes of tourists.

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Grand Teton reflection on Jackson Lake

With map and park newspaper in hand we pulled away from the entrance station and were immediately reminded of why we are drawn to this park.  Without any rolling foothills to soften the visual effects, Grand Teton’s massive, craggy peaks rose dramatically off the Jackson Hole valley floor, a sight likely to leave most breathless.

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Terry on the trail

The 2.7 billion-year-old rocks found in the core of this range are some of the oldest in North America, but these magnificent mountains rank among the youngest in the world.

After passing a couple of full campgrounds and another long wait, we quickly set up camp at Colter Bay.   With map and newspaper in hand we charted our course for the next two days.

The Forks of Cascade Canyon Trail at Jenny Lake became our hike of choice. Instead of taking the boat shuttle across the lake, an option for many as it shaves about four miles off the hike, we opted to start our trek from the String Lake trailhead.  It made for a nice 12.5-mile hike, with a 2000’ elevation gain.

We even got a peek at a moose feeding in the willows across a meadow, a wonderful treat. They have been known to dive up to 18 feet under the water’s surface and stay there for up to a minute, in search of aquatic plants, which makes for a rather uncooperative photography subject.

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Moose munching on willows

The next morning found me rubbing sleep out of my eyes at 4:30 am, heading out in the hopes of capturing sunrise shots without the crowds.  Tucked into a warm bed, hubby graciously declined the offer to join me.

Both artists and photographers flock to the Tetons.  With her sagebrush flats, wet and alpine meadows, lakes, ponds, and forests, there is plenty available for a creative mind.

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Moulton Barn on Mormon Row

A favorite stop to complete a wonderful day of sightseeing was the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve Center.  This plot of land south of the village of Moose offers 8 miles of trails and showcases Mr. Rockefeller’s vision and his legacy of conservation stewardship.  A small circular room allows you to quietly sit, enjoying the sounds of the park: crickets chirping, owls hooting, wolves howling, male ruffed grouse flapping his wings in courtship, an elk’s mating call, wind blowing through an aspen grove, a thunderstorm…ahhh!

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Just me and my shadow at Oxbow Bend

Wind speaks through pines.  Light animates granite.  An eagle soars – it’s shadow crosses over us. All life is intertwined.  ~ Anonymous

 This is the connectedness felt when we quiet ourselves in nature.

46 thoughts on ““Les Trois Tetons” ~ Grand Teton NP

  • Oh, this is definitely on our list of places we want to visit! We would have exactly the same conversation as you and Terry at the entrance station—but it seems that once you were within the park, you found plenty of beauty and solitude. Of course, I’m sure it helped that you took off on a 12.5 mile hike and then rose at 4:30 a.m. for a day of photography. Good ways to leave the crowds behind. Beautiful photos, LuAnn. I want to see a moose! :-))

    • This is one of our favorite National Parks Laurel. Although it was much more crowded than we would have preferred, our visit was wonderful! And when we left and went through part of Yellowstone, the hordes were so much worse. We are reconsidering our decision to do any hikes in Yellowstone during this visit. Since we lived there for two years, this wouldn’t be a huge issue. The moose wasn’t as close as the last one we saw a few years ago but it was still such a treat. Wishing sunny days ahead for you two. 🙂

  • We toyed with making this a stop as we move from Utah to Wyoming but when we couldn’t find anywhere within 60 miles to stay, it was a no go! Besides, it would be too late in the spring and the crowds would be there. But, it is a must for one day soon. We’ve only visited on a motorcycle trip and never hiked. How beautiful is that moose! You can see the velvet on his antlers:) Lucky you:) Your reflection photos are just gorgeous:) Can’t wait to hear about your hike!!

    • We loved the Tetons but this is not the ideal time to visit. Crowds are heavy! We would have loved to continue our hike on to Solitude Lake but were leary of the crowds so we stopped at the forks. This is a very nice hike.

  • Good to hear you are enjoying our beautiful country!! 12 1/2 mile hike….keep it up as long as you can. Oh, I can’t open your photos on my iPhone. 😦

    Sent from Shirley Covey’s iPhone in Big Bear


    • We love the NP’s! This is a great hike; such beautiful country. Hope you get to see some of the photos. It is a beautiful park. 🙂

  • That is one of our favorite national parks, also. Your lake photos are excellent! Makes me want to go back, but in the fall after the kids are back in school.

  • Funny! We are we in e Wtons inthe 16th! Our anniversary . We rode the tram then hiked to Marion Lake and down and around to the Village. Just got back from eating at the Mangy Moose. Happy that you are in the ecosystem again!

  • Your reflection photos are amazing. Gives me a sense of peace.
    We haven’t visited that area for years, but the beauty of it still burns in my mind!

  • Oh, my, those reflection shots make me weak in the knees! What knock-out beauty! I can imagine how thrilling it must have been to stand on that lakes edge capturing that shot, looking at it both in person, as well as on the LED of the camera review. Nicely done!

  • Lu–
    What a great place. I love the picture of the mountains reflected in the lake. just beautiful. same with the old barn and the other pics. love looking at them each time you post. Like the picture of Terry too — oh – that’s the one of the moose. I get terry and him confused. they both look so at home in the wild.

  • Luann I was open mouthed and gawking at the reflection photos and then I saw your moose image. Wow! Looks like another area we will definitely add to the USA road trip wish list!

  • Hi LuAnn,
    My name is Alex Washburn and I am a photo editor at the San Francisco Chronicle. I am trying to get in touch with you to ask about an image you took at Torrey Pines. Please e-mail me (with your phone number) at AWashburn@sfchronicle.com — it’s very important! Best, Alex

  • It looks like a moose-t see with all those mountains. Tourists are a terrible bunch but till those mountains…it’s funny to think of rocks 2.7 billion years old as young, you really don’t nave much history over there do you hehe!

    • It definitely is a moose-t Ste J. Come back over to the states sometime and I will gladly take you around to some of the national parks. It is difficult to get one’s head around the concept of 2.7 billion year old rocks being young.

      • I am hoping to be back again soon and would love a wander around a park or three with you. The world is a crazy beast and to see more of it is a thrilling thing, I’m just a bit anxious to see more of it.

  • I could stay there all day, even in just one spot – particularly that lake. 😀 It literally took my breath away, and that’s just looking at a picture.

  • Well, this was originally in our plan, revisiting the Tetons, but we planned yet and could not get a reservation. But hey your photos are good enough for me to reminisce just how beautiful it is there.

  • Love you photos! We visited Grand Teton just after Yellowstone, what a beautiful area. Unfortunately we also only had three days, and it was raining pretty good two of them. Still one of my best memories is from this trip when we drove a drit road into a hidden lake and we came across a grizzly mama and her two cubs. They passed about 10 feet way and we were not in our car at that time. My heart was pounding but the mama bear was all calm and didn

  • Those reflections are jaw dropping! Oh and I am swooning over that Moose! We are in Maine as we speak… And I have not seen one Moose!!

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