I wonder how many poets, artists, novelists, and songwriters took their inspiration from the overwhelming beauty of the Grand Tetons. I have seen taller mountains, more wildlife, more pine trees in one location, bluer waters, and more rustic lodges. So what was it that made Grand Tetons my newly proclaimed “favorite place on Earth”? I believe it was the feeling I got standing on the shores of Jenny Lake, String Lake, and Jackson Lake. The catalyst of this transcendental experience was millions of years in the making. At Grand Tetons, all that I find beautiful comes together in one magical place. This young mountain chain rises sharply out of the land like blades that could no longer be contained in their earthly sheathe. The glaciers that once covered The Tetons carved deep holes that are now filled with smooth stones and waters that would be invisible if not for the slightly blueish hue. The waters seemed to beckon hikers that traveled along the dirt paths meandering through the woods and worn by the feet of previous adventurers and the paws of animals great and small. The pine trees seemed to be posing perfectly between water and mountain for a Bob Ross painting (they were happy trees). The purple, yellow, white, and red wildflowers seemed strategically placed by Mother Nature. The sounds, the smell, and the solitude added to the experience. One of those joyous sounds was the giggles of my children as they waded into the cold waters of String, and later, Jackson Lake. When I was there, I felt connected to something bigger than myself. There is geologic history in this place but there is human history as well. The Shoshone, Gros Ventre, and many other tribes dating back 11,000 years found their everything from these lands. Grand Tetons was the stomping grounds of French Canadian and American fur trappers. It was the place of love stories. It was where the Mormons came and established a community called Grovant. It was where an Episcopal church was built with the most breathtaking views on the planet. It was where, in 1989, an agreement was signed between the United States and the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republic.
It is a place of peace.
Jackson Hole was pretty rad too.