Grand Tetons, Part 2

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dbhguru
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Grand Tetons, Part 2

Post by dbhguru » Sat Jul 09, 2011 3:40 pm

WNTS/ENTS,

The second annual WNTS rendezvous will soon enter the annals of WNTS/ENTS history. Unfortunately, car trouble prevented Michael Taylor from joining us. We were bummed out, but we’ve all been there, and sympathize with Mike. Michael is part of the team now. He is to become the WNTS Vice President, by concurrence of WNTS President Don Bertolette and myself.

Long time friend Don flew in to Pocatello on July 3rd and left for Seattle yesterday. It is always a memorable time to see Don. Don had detoured from a European trip to make the WNTS event. He and wife Rhonda had been in Iceland.

Well, what do I have to report about WNTS 2011? So far, we’ve had three key events, two with Don’s presence. On Sunday Monica and I will visit an old growth Douglas fir site in the lower Gibson Jack region, and then WNTS 2011 will move to Colorado, as we travel to Durango.

Our official events to date include a visit to Grand Teton NP on June 29th and 30th by Monica and me, the Gibson Jack hike with Monica, Don, and myself on July 4th, and a two-day return to Grand Teton NP, by the three of us, and my daughter’s family. Both Teton excursions were rewarding in terms of the trees that Don and I measured, and extremely rewarding in terms of the wild life, the wild flowers, and the incomparable scenery for all of us.

Thursday’s hike in the Tetons was farther up the Lupine Meadows Trail than Monica and I had done a few days before. We wanted the second visit to be an all-encompassing documentation of flora and fauna, so this time we went until the threat of thunderstorms persuaded us to turn around. I won’t list all the species we documented in this posting, but will pass along some images and brief explanations. I’ll begin with one of the mighty Grand, as it is called for short – the Grand Teton.

This view of the Grand is from the Jackson Hole flats. I never tire of gazing up to its summit. At 13,775 feet (latest NAVD88 elevation) it is the second highest summit in Wyoming. Only Gannett Peak in the Wind Rivers is higher, and only by a few feet. Gannett is 13,809 (again by NAVD88). However, it is the Grand’s abruptness above Jackson Hole that creates the dramatic relief. The lowest point in GTNP is 6350 feet. This allows for a maximum elevation change of 7425 feet. But the Snake River just to the east of the Grand Teton lies at about 6600 feet for about 7,200 feet of quick elevation gain, and that is what stands out so prominently, and has been the subject of many photographers.

The snowfields center left in the image of the Grand had been the target of extreme sport skiing. We met a climber-skier who was on the way down who had made the ascent and skied down the couloir. We also met a young man who had climbed the Middle Teton, and was returning. He was extremely fit, and I was envious. I recalled a time when I did slightly less challenging technical climbing and reveled in the challenge and experience. Alas, no more. So without further comment, may I present the Grand.
image001.jpg
The Grand dominates the skyline from closer range. But from a distance, the other peaks of the Tetons’ eastern flank line up like sentinels to present a long succession of rugged peaks with a sagebrush foreground as shown next. Unfortunately, I included some of the parking lot on the far left, which reduces the aesthetic appeal. Alas, it was a new camera, and my competence index is near zero.
image003.jpg
The next image shows Monica and me at a rest point along the trail. The elevation at the start of the trail is a relatively low 6,716 feet. Teewenot boldly rises 5,500 feet above the trail. Sagebrush dominates just east of the trail. But at the west edge of Lupine Meadows, Lodge Pole Pines take over, reflecting one of the dominant fire regimes of the Tetons. They are spindly trees – not much to look at. Very quickly, though, Englemann Spruce appear as a wetland is approached. Still farther up the trail, large boulders appear and provide convenient spots to stop and contemplate the geological processes that put them in place. The image below shows Monica and me in a shadowed recess.
image005.jpg

Animal life is abundant in GTNP. Moose, elk, mule deer, mountain lion, pronghorn antelope, grizzly and black bear, wolf, coyote, bison, you name it. Elk and antelope are commonly seen in the meadows near the start of the trail started the wildlife ball rolling. That was to be expected, since Jackson Hole is known for its elk herd and antelope are everywhere. However, a real treat for Monica, Don, and me was a yellow-bellied marmot on the trail that stayed still long enough for the next image. In addition, there were striking Douglas Firs and Englemann Spruces measured to a maximum height of 123 feet. That is probably near maximum for tree heights the Teton - I think. Altogether we measured 16 trees along the Lupine Meadow Trail for an average of 110 feet. Girths are not dramatic. Lodge Pole Pines are slender and the biggest Doug Firs hardly exceed 9 feet in girth. We did not encounter trees equal to the Englemanns and Doug Firs encountered on the Hidden Falls and Phelps Lake Trails.

All data we collect will be passed on to the Park Service. I hope they will use the information provided. WNTS/ENTS has an excellent working relationship with the Great Smoky Mountains NP, Congaree NP, Morristown National Historic Park, the San Juan National Forest, the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests, Pennsylvania’s DCNR, Massachusetts’s DCR, and other state and federal agencies. But acceptance by one organization does not guarantee the same from another. You build your reputation anew with each agency. That is just the way it is.
image007.jpg
I will end with images from Jackson Lake as seen from Colter Bay and a final looking at the Teton fault block. All lake shots were taken in the evening with the sun in the west – not ideal, yet interesting effects can offset glare. Jackson Lake is the largest of the Teton lakes. The Snake River flows into it at one end and out the other. The true source of the Snake is in the Absoraka’s to the east. The first picture shows the peaks north of Mount Moran. I am unsure of their names. The second view is more distant. You see the mountain shown in the first image along with 12,605-foot Mount Moran to the south. This is not the same view as the usual view of Moran. The third image shows the pinnacled Grand. The yellowish stain at the water’s edge is Lodge Pole Pine pollen. We were bathed in a yellow dust most of the time. I’m not allergic to the pollen, but I pity anyone who is.

The last image shows sparkles on the water. They did a dance as I stood mesmerized by the flashes. Wave action allowed for the glitter and flashes. I rank the views from Jackson Lake on a par with those from Jenny Lake.
image009.jpg
image011.jpg
image013.jpg
image015.jpg

In the last shot, we see the Grand in the center and Teewenot on the right. Teewenot is closer and rises to an altitude of 12.315 feet. It is the 6th highest summit in the Tetons. It is one of Monica’s favorite mountains. From our tent we could look out and see its summit on our first camping excursion. We got one of the two best campsites. The views were unforgettable. Both Monica and I hope to repeat the experience.
image017.jpg
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Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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Larry Tucei
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Re: Grand Tetons, Part 2

Post by Larry Tucei » Sat Jul 09, 2011 6:00 pm

Bob, Awesome photos! Hopefully, one day I will be able to travel to all the wonderful places out west you and Monica go to. I really enjoy your descriptive postings. Larry

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dbhguru
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Re: Grand Tetons, Part 2

Post by dbhguru » Sat Jul 09, 2011 6:09 pm

Larry,

Thanks, buddy. I enjoy sharing with my lady and fellow ENTS-WNTS. Lots more to come. Tomorrow a search for OG Doug Fir.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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jamesrobertsmith
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Re: Grand Tetons, Part 2

Post by jamesrobertsmith » Sat Jul 09, 2011 8:16 pm

Nice photographs. Are you guys tent camping or do you have a travel trailer? Motor home?

I believe a hiker was killed on Middle Teton last week. Fell or slid, I think. I wanted to climb it last year but didn't have the time. It's the only one of the three big peaks that you can summit without technical climbing. Maybe next time.

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dbhguru
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Re: Grand Tetons, Part 2

Post by dbhguru » Sat Jul 09, 2011 8:24 pm

Robert,

We're tent campers. Monica loves to rough it more than I do. So, we tent camp. We'll backpack into the sand dunes in Great Sand Dunes NP in Colorado and sleep in the dunes on the sands. No tent.

The amount of snow still in the Tetons is amazing. All the rivers and streams flowing down from and by the Tetons are at flood stage. Pretty amazing.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

Joe

Re: Grand Tetons, Part 2

Post by Joe » Sun Jul 10, 2011 9:16 am

dbhguru wrote:Robert,

We're tent campers. Monica loves to rough it more than I do. So, we tent camp. We'll backpack into the sand dunes in Great Sand Dunes NP in Colorado and sleep in the dunes on the sands. No tent.

The amount of snow still in the Tetons is amazing. All the rivers and streams flowing down from and by the Tetons are at flood stage. Pretty amazing.

Bob
Bob, no scorpions in Great Sand Dunes? You wouldn't catch me sleeping outside a tent in the desert. Maybe it's not really a problem but I've seen too many movies where the scorpions climb into your sleeping bag or into your boots.
Joe

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dbhguru
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Re: Grand Tetons, Part 2

Post by dbhguru » Sun Jul 10, 2011 3:58 pm

Joe,

Scorpions aren't a problem in the Dunes, at least in the area we will be going.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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James Parton
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Re: Grand Tetons, Part 2

Post by James Parton » Sun Jul 10, 2011 8:48 pm

Tent camping! Monica knows how to do it!
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Don
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Re: Grand Tetons, Part 2

Post by Don » Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:23 am

Bob/ENTS/WNTS-
Bob's new camera (a pretty competent 'point and shoot') has done a great job capturing the essence of the Tetons! A wonderful place, one of the NPS's best. I have finally made it home, and will put together a trip report to include the Teton's and a 'tune-up' trek we three took up Slate Ridge out of Pocatello Idaho, just as soon as I get a few "honey-do's" out of the way.
-Don
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
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dbhguru
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Re: Grand Tetons, Part 2

Post by dbhguru » Mon Jul 11, 2011 9:32 am

Don, WNTS/ENTS,

Glad your back and able to relax. It has been a great second WNTS rendezvous.

Here is one final Teton image from me. It is of 12,325-foot Teewinot, part of the Cathedral Group as you know.
GT-TeewinotS.jpg
You got those images of the waterfalls from the snow melt on Teewinot. I'm anxious to see them.

Monica and I are on our way to Dinosaur National Monument today. We'll likely be out of touch until the 14th.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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