August, 2014 – After our four days of Noah’s Flood in Alpine, Wyoming, finally ended, we were blessed with a beautiful rainbow right over our little buggy.
The mud around us dried just enough so we could make our way back to the highway and continue our journey north towards Grand Teton National Park.
The deluge wasn’t entirely over, however, and dark gloomy skies filled our views for a few days.
We arrived at the Tetons to find them wrapped in a mysterious mist that rose and fell and enveloped their faces as a cold wind whipped ours.
The clouds moved quickly, coagulating into otherworldly shapes and then dispersing into nothing, as if a magician were shrouding them under a gossamer veil and then laughing with a twinkle in his eye as he pulled it away.
We drove along the highway that runs through this park, awe-struck by the majestic scenery surrounding us.
Wisps of fog reached out along the base of the Teton Mountains and stole up their craggy flanks, giving the regal peaks a mystical air.
Sunlight came and went, teasing us as it lit the jagged faces and then withdrew and left them dark.
We roamed all around, enchanted by this unusual light, until some huge black clouds gathered overhead and gave us a frightening glare.
When they finally burst wide open, we huddled inside the buggy. Rain pelted our roof, thunder echoed off the jagged peaks and lightning flashed all around us.
At last the rain stopped, and we ran along the Blacktail Pond overlook with vague hope in our hearts that there might be a good sunset.
We claimed our spots with our tripods and cameras on opposite promontontories, just in case.
I noticed another photographer setting up near me.
“Do you think there’s a chance of a sunset?” I asked him, making a face as I glanced at the grey skies.
“You never know.” He replied. “I’ve been coming here for years, and I’ve seen some incredible sunsets.”
Just then, we both noticed a faint hint of pink in the sky.
As we stared at it, willing it to grow, the most stunning sunset I have ever seen unfolded.
In moments, the entire sky was on fire, flaming in waves of brilliant pink and orange.
The colors intensified, as if the flames were licking the mountaintops.
A pink glow began to radiate between the peaks.
I could hear the shutter clicks of my companion and the “oohs” and “aahs” he was muttering.
I was doing the same thing, and hoping feverishly that Mark was as spellbound watching this magical drama over on his precipice as we were on ours.
I turned away from the valley for a moment and was shocked to see the sides of the storm clouds above us had suddenly begun glowing magenta.
Two trees on the flat plain were silhouetted against this delicious, lugubrious sky.
And then, without a hint of warning, it was over.
Mark and I ran towards each other, bursting with excitement.
“Did you see that?”
“Yes. Did you get it?”
“I think so… Look at this one…”
We traded cameras to see each other’s pics, dashed into the rig and drove off in a flurry, totally flushed with excitement.
The next morning we set the alarm for oh-dark-thirty and snuck down to Shwabacher Landing to see if we might get lucky with a sunrise.
The mountains were shrouded in blue-gray mist.
Only the peaks were visible, but the reflections from the mirror-like water gave the scene an ethereal air.
We set up our tripods for our sunrise shot, totally focused on the mountains and reflecting water in front of us.
Then we turned around and our jaws dropped in astonishment as we watched the most vivid display of pink and orange developing behind us.
We were in total awe. But the cameras were facing in the complete opposite direction!
After a few minutes I finally regained my senses, yanked the camera off the tripod and fired off a few quick handheld shots of this glorious sunrise.
No sooner had the color faded in the eastern sky than the rising sun began to light the peaks of the Tetons to the west.
The mist was rising rapidly, leaving just the points of each jagged peak to poke its head above and glow pink for a few seconds.
We caught our images, but our hearts were pounding.
How crazy that a silent sunrise could steal over an entire valley and send us into paroxysms of frustration and thrills: “I’m missing it…No, wait, I’m getting it! I got it I got it!!”
For the next few days we rose with the alarm clock to catch the sunrises over the water.
There were other photographers at every viewpoint, all jumping up and down to keep warm, and blowing into their hands to bring some life back to their fingertips.
We shared stories of missed shots, wrong camera settings, and the ecstasy of catching it just right.
Some photographers had caught The Big Fiery Sunset at Ox Bow and Shwabacher Landing where the theatrics in the sky were doubled by reflections in the water.
Such good fortune!
The stormy skies continued to enchant us, and we were blessed with one stunning sunrise and sunset after another.
After nearly a week of this nonsense of getting out of our warm bed in the ice cold dark and not crawling back into that warm bed until many hours after sunset, we were bleary eyed and tripping over our own two feet.
But the Tetons had gifted us with their magic and we were grateful for every stunning moment.
Prior to this visit, our RV travels in Wyoming had brought us to this magnificent valley twice. The first time, in our first year of traveling, we had naively rushed through way too fast, and the second, just two years ago, had been devoid of mountain views due to thick wildfire smoke in the air.
This visit, however, was taking us by storm, in the best and most literal sense.
We quickly decided to stick around a while to see what else these mysterious mountains would share with us.
For more information about Grand Teton National Park, click here.
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To see our other posts from our RV travels to Grand Teton National park, see the following links:
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