Thursday, August 09, 2007

On Foot in the Tetons

We’ve been on a road trip now for nearly two weeks now. We spent last week hiking and climbing in the Tetons. Our main goal was an ascent of the Grand Teton. While we were not successful, we put a lot of miles on our shoes and were treated to some amazing views. We stayed at the Climbers' Ranch, a collection of bunkhouse cabins managed by the American Alpine Club. It was a real treat to have a place to cook, a hot shower and fantastic views.
Also, congrats to our friend Chris who stood on the summit of the Grand for his 40th birthday!

Grand Teton National Park can be described as spectacular and awesome. The mountain range rises dramatically from the valley floor. Geology buffs will appreciate the exciting events that shaped the landscape that visitors see today. About 13 to 17 million years ago, earthquakes along the Teton fault caused the mountains to rise and the valley floor to drop. The vertical displacement topped 29,000 feet at one time. The landscape was then sculpted by glacial erosion over the next several million years. As the mountains eroded, the debris was carried to valley floor by the movement of the glaciers. The true valley floor is buried 18,000 feet below what is seen today. Wildlife is also a huge draw in Grand Teton National Park. We were lucky enough to see a black bear and a bull moose during our hiking adventures. It was definitely exciting and we were very glad to see both animals from a distance. This area, along with Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding national forests is home to the 18 million acre Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem - one of the largest temperate zone ecosystems left on Earth.

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