SI Vault
Beau Westover
January 29, 1973
After John Colter left the Lewis and Clark expedition he headed north into Crow country, looking for good trapping areas. It is said he began his journey in November of 1807, and in the wintry months that followed discovered the vast and mysterious wilderness of Yellowstone. The author and a friend are probably the first white men to make a similar trip (they chose to hike north to south) in midwinter. For 17 days in subzero temperatures they snowshoed through blizzards, clambered across mountains and elbowed through herds of elk in the valleys. They took with them only sleeping bags and packs, no tents.
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January 29, 1973

Walk On The Wild Side

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Morning, our last day. The storm has passed, the sun rises. The Tetons loom with the cold austerity of an ancient ruin. We pack the gear slowly and tramp off toward the trail that leads from Moose Park to Teton Village. The pines thin in the river bottom and are replaced by gorges of silver-barked aspen; the sun plays on the snow through the barren branches. Near Phelps Lake we catch a last glimpse of the Grand Teton before it passes behind a shoulder of rock. From this crag the wind drives plumes of snow into purple space where they hang soft and distant like the sails of a phantom clipper. A fine ending, grand and glorious.

We reach the village after dark, guided in the final stretch by the multi-colored beacons which adorn a tiny spruce tree in front of the hostel. It is Christmas night.

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