Lucky Enough

May 18, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

This little plaque was on the wall in my West Yellowstone, Montana room earlier this month.

Lady Luck has - thus far - mostly avoided ostentatious exhibitions in her dealings with me. No sweepstakes bonanzas. No heretofore unknown wealthy distant relative appearing out of thin air to leave me a vast fortune. No big payouts at the roulette table. Wait - that last one doesn't count. You can't win if you don't play.

But I do live in the shadow of the Teton Range and spend a lot of time in the mountains. According to the plaque, that makes me lucky enough. I won't argue with that.

(Just for the record, though, I wouldn't turn up my nose at a winning lottery ticket.) 

From the east, from the west, from the air - the Teton peaks are photogenic from all angles. They don't have a bad side. Teddy Roosevelt said the Tetons are "what mountains are supposed to look like." 

Give a five-year-old a crayon and ask for a drawing of mountains. Easy! The little artist will create a rough rendering of the Cathedral Group. Like TR, kids know what mountains are supposed to look like: the Tetons.

The view from the east is atypical of most mountain ranges in that there are no foothills; the panorama of the dramatic elevation profile is completely unobstructed. The mountains tower over the valley. This phenomenon was created by the Teton Fault, which runs along the base of the slope. 

Over on the western side you'll find those missing foothills - but the sights are no less beautiful. Whether you're just outside of Ashton, or in Tetonia, or standing at the summit of Table Mountain (where you'll be treated to a mind-blowing, close-up view of The Grand), you'll see something awe-inspiring.

If you get to spend time with these mountains, you're lucky.

Trivia Question:

Which peaks make up the Cathedral Group? Depends who you ask. One marker in the park indicates it's the three tallest peaks in the Teton Range: 

  • Grand Teton (13,770 feet)
  • Mount Owen (12,929)
  • Middle Teton (12,804)

Other geologists say it's Grand Teton, Mount Owen and Teewinot Mountain (12,330).

Elsewhere the park service contradicts itself by designating the eight peaks between Avalanche and Cascade Canyons as the Cathedrals. That would add South Teton (12,514), Teepee Pillar (12,266), Cloudveil Dome (12,026) and Buck Mountain (11,938) to the list. 

You decide.

Sunshine BeneathSunshine BeneathArrowleaf balsamroot add splashes of cheerful yellow to the fields of Jackson Hole in late spring.

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Twilight Wedge Grand Teton National ParkAwakeningBright autumn foliage punctuates the Willow Flats landscape at daybreak while the twilight wedge tints the sky pink. With temperatures below freezing, steam rises above distant Jackson Lake as Mount Moran waits for the sun to rise and warm its face.

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming)

Summer Snow Teton Peaks from Alta WyomingWest Side StoryFollowing a chilly spring, early summer kicks off with substantial snowpack remaining.

Western Slope - Teton Range
Alta, Wyoming

Face-to-FaceFace-to-FaceAerial view of the Grand from the west

Teton Range, Wyoming


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