Grand Tetons, Yellowstone and Montana: Capturing the Sunrise
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By Ernesto Diaz-Flores
My friend and I decided to do a photography, hiking and camping trip this summer to Wyoming, to see the oldest national park in the country, Yellowstone.
We flew to the Jackson Hole airport, located on the beautiful outskirts of the Tetons, There, nature took over, and we found ourselves surrounded by mountains, meadows, rivers and wildlife. The views couldn’t have been more amazing.
On the first day, we discovered Oxbow Bend, which offers one of the most spectacular views of the Teton Range. The Snake River makes a wide turn, flanked by colorful alpine trees, with the mountains as a backdrop.
There we contemplated the first of many breathtaking sunsets on this adventure. Every day, we would wake up at 5 a.m., shoot the sunrise and spend the rest of the day hiking and encountering wildlife before moving to a new campground.
Entering Yellowstone was like entering into a new world, filled with geysers, fumaroles, mud pots, colors and the smell of sulfur. Bison, pronghorn antelopes, wild horses, deer and elk became part of our daily encounters.
We drove up to Montana to find a land of endless valleys, majestic mountains, mirror-like lakes and picturesque rivers. There was the Gallatin River, where you see fly fishermen just like those featured in A River Runs Through It.
Back at the West End of Yellowstone, we got to relax at the boiling river. Here a hot spring meets the cooler river, creating a natural spa.
At the Grand Tetons, I saw, for the first time, a massive grizzly bear. In the early morning of my last day, when the mountains and river were still shrouded in morning mist, I went back to Oxbow Bend to capture the sunrise.
While waiting with my camera, I heard the unexpectedly melodious howling of wolves around me. This haunting, alluring sound was the ultimate realization that I was in harmony with nature. This magical moment will forever dwell in my mind, heart and soul.
Ernesto Diaz-Flores, PhD, is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Pediatrics/Hematology Department.