Grand Teton National Park

The most famous photograph of Grand Teton National Park was taken by Ansel Adams in 1942 showing the Snake River in the foreground.

Many photographers take pictures of the Tetons from this side of the mountains.

These days they’re usually in color and often show The John Moulton Barn. I see this view almost weekly on Facebook. If I hadn’t seen various sections of the Snake River when I was young, I’d be tempted to ask: “Is there another side to these mountains and, if so, why don’t we ever see it?”

If I were a fan of conspiracy theories, I might ask for proof that these mountains are more than a giant mural or, perhaps, an exciting arête that’s no wider than a few hundred feet or so.

People have been visiting the Tetons as a 480-square mile National Park since 1929. According to the National Park Service, “Grand Teton National Park took decades to establish. Congress created the original park in 1929 to protect the Teton Range and several lakes at the foot of the mountains. In 1943, Franklin D. Roosevelt declared additional land in the valley to be Jackson Hole National Monument. In 1949, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. donated the land he purchased to the government to be included in the national park. Finally, in 1950, Congress combined the original park, the national monument, and the Rockefeller lands to establish the present-day Grand Teton National Park. In 1972, Congress established the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, which connects Yellowstone and Grand Teton, to honor Rockefeller’s philanthropy and commitment to the National Park System.”

Sad to say, I have never been to Jackson Hole or climbed these mountains. Out of youthful stupidity, I skipped an opportunity to attend a photography class led by Ansel Adams in the 1960s because I was in love with somebody who finally ran off and married somebody else.  If I had it to do over again, I would choose a more lasting experience. I might not be a professional photographer, but I would have met the master of western photography and (possibly) learned a few tips. Adams’ distinct style remains my favorite view of the out of doors.

And then perhaps my own camera would have proven to me that the Grand Tetons can be seen from both sides, like clouds.


Malcolm R. Campbell

Publisher: Thomas-Jacob Publishing


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