Early Spring at Grand Teton National Park

April 08, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Evening in the ParkEvening in the ParkSpring is slow to come at elevations above 6000 feet. While this may look a lot like winter, there are signs that more moderate conditions are on the way. One sure indicator that spring has arrived: the road to the landmark barns at Mormon Row is cleared and open to traffic. (Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming)

"Second verse, same as the first..."

If you're of a "certain age" that line might bring back memories of an old 1960s pop song. It could also be what you're thinking when you see this photo of Grand Teton National park, made a few evenings ago. This is spring? How can you tell? Looks a lot like winter! Second verse, same as the first.

Though this is far from what spring looks like at lower elevations and in more moderate climates, milder weather has arrived at the Park.

For starters, the road to the historic barns on Mormon Row has been plowed and opened to automobiles. And though the snow pack around the barns was still substantial (choose the wrong place to step and you'll be in up to your knees), it's nothing like what I encountered on my last shoot at GTNP in February. A few warm stretches will hasten melting at ground level.

Also - the sun is much warmer now. Though it was only in the low 40s at the barns Tuesday late afternoon/evening, I never needed to pull out either my hat or gloves in the couple hours I was there working. Birds flew in and out, their songs lilting in the breeze. 

Even better, the Teton Pass, which I must traverse each time I go to the park, is completely clear - with dry pavement all the way.

It's probably not done snowing yet, but spring is here.

And while this is not what I'm accustomed to this time of year (flowering trees and shrubs, tulips and daffodils - THAT is more my speed), it is nice to see more moderate weather arriving even at elevation in the Intermountain West.


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