A Feast for the Eyes

July 15, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

The Wedding TreesThe Wedding TreesMiddle Teton, Grand Teton, and Mount Owen framed by the Wedding Trees. (Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming)
2020: serving up the mother of all perfect storms. I can't say I saw this coming when the clock struck midnight last New Year's Eve. 

That said, there have also been some pleasant surprises this year, one of which is happening right now in this part of the Intermountain West. "Green season" (which just happens to be my favorite time in Teton Country) has lingered well past its normal departure date. Head into the Snake River Canyon between Jackson and Alpine (Wyoming), or Eastern Idaho's Palisades, or Swan Valley, or Grand Teton National Park, and you'll be greeted by a landscape that remains spectacularly green.

Normally, by July the runoff is only a memory, meaningful rainfall is hard to come by, and the heat settles in; valleys and slopes transition to yellow as the grasses and rabbit brush dry out. The bright, lime green of new foliage on cottonwood trees shifts and becomes darker and more subdued. Fire season begins. The high desert, having temporarily forgotten itself for a few blissful weeks during springtime, once again looks like - the high desert.   

Not this year, though!

Thanks to a spring that was colder than usual (including unexpected measurable snowfall as low as 4500 feet at the end of May) and a period of uninterrupted soaking rain just two weeks ago, the spectacular greens persist. Eye candy! 

If, like me, you're a fan of green season, and you've been planning on visiting the park this summer anyway, now's the time to do it. The weather pattern has shifted; there's no precipitation in the long-range forecast and daytime temperatures are rising. The lush greens aren't going to last much longer.

The park is nearly completely open. Campgrounds, the main visitor center, Jenny Lake boat rides, the Jenny Lake Ranger Station, bookstores, permits desks, Colter Bay, wildlife tours - all open. Exceptions include Jenny Lake Lodge and Jackson Lake Lodge, both of which will remain closed for the 2020 season, the Jenny Lake Visitor Center, LSR Preserve Center, and some guided activities. 

The photograph above (from Bridger-Teton National Forest) was made on Monday.




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