About the photograph...
Teton Alpenglow from Signal Mountain, August 1988
The day I took this picture, I awakened at 2:30 a.m.
This was the day. The weather was good and the smoke
drifts from neighboring Yellowstone Park fires were
blowing the other way. This was the day I would do it.
I donned my warmest collection of layered hiking clothes
and my well-worn-in boots, lugged the preloaded pack
with photo gear, coffee thermos and breakfast to the
car. Stealthily, (so as not to disturb or harm any
creatures that might have been lurking nearby) I drove
the long, gravel inner park road from Teton Village,
where I was staying, to Signal Mountain. I went as far
on the road as possible, then donned my pack and set out
on foot toward the pre-selected location near the summit
with only an electric lantern lighting my path. Twice I
encountered wildlife on the trail: first, a male moose
who took surprisingly little notice of the intruder
(me); then, an alarmed porcupine which grunted and
loomed ominously in the seeming enormous shadow of its
extended quills. My hair was standing on end, too…I
waited for it to saunter off before proceeding.
Once my destination was reached, I set up my gear and,
with butterflies in my stomach, (I knew this was a
special moment) sipped the rich, delicious coffee,
watching the steam rise in the lantern light while I
waited with anticipation…and waited…and waited for the
sun to start illuminating the peaks of the Teton Range
with magenta light. I had never seen a complete
Patience paid off. Good things do often come to those
who plan, work hard and, then, wait. The film images
from this amazing morning show may someday deteriorate,
but the images and experience are permanently etched on
my heart, altering me and, also, the possibilities I
I sat and watched the show until the reddish landscape
had morphed into the more usual range of colors, then
began to notice that the wildlife was restless. A deer
came close and stood beside me for a moment, then ran
away, as if to gesture it was time for me to go, too. I
did, and as I descended the mountain I began to smell
smoke and see haze drifting from the other side of the
mountain. In fact, that day there was a forest fire on
Signal Mountain, and many other fires throughout both
Grand Teton and Yellowstone Parks in the coming days.
With all the haze, this was likely the last Alpenglow
seen there for quite some time.