Thirty miles south of this rolling volcanic interlude the pristine Rockies, as if in shame of their moment of gorgeous softness, rear in contrast their sharpest and most heroic monument of bristling granite.
Scarcely over the park’s southern boundary, the foot-hills of the Teton Mountains swell gently toward their Gothic climax. The country opens and roughens. The excellent road, which makes Jackson’s Hole a practical part of the Yellowstone pleasure-ground, winds through a rolling, partly wooded grazing-ground of elk and deer. The time was when these wild herds made living possible for the nation’s hunted desperadoes, for Jackson’s Hole was the last refuge to yield to law and order.
At the climax of this sudden granite protest, the Grand Teton rises 7,014 , feet in seeming sheerness from Jackson Lake to its total altitude of 13,747 feet. To its right is Mount Moran, a monster only less. The others, clustering around them, have no names.
All together, they are few and grouped like the units of some fabulous barbaric stronghold. Fitted by size and majesty to be the climax of a mighty range, the Tetons concentrate their all in this one giant group. Quickly, north and south, they subside and pass. They are a granite island in a sea of plain.
Seen across the lake a dozen miles which seem but three, these clustered steepled temples rise sheer from the water. Their flanks are snow-streaked still in August, their shoulders hung with glaciers, their spires bare and shining. A greater contrast to the land from which we came and to which we presently return cannot be imagined. Geologically, the two have nothing in common. Scenically, the Tetons set off and complete the spectacle of the Yellowstone.