Orion Over Tetons
It was at this overlook where my photography logo was born, years before I knew I’d move to Wyoming. This was also the spot where Ansel Adams took one of his most iconic photos. At least that’s what the sign would say if it wasn’t buried under 4 feet of snow. Tree growth in the 8 decades since means his shot can’t be replicated because the Snake River is not as visible now. Every night between December and April Orion follows the star Rigel until it sets behind the sharp spire of Grand Teton. There exists plenty of night sky pictures of the Tetons in the summer, but not so many in the winter. The weather may have something to do with that. On a clear night cold air slides down these steep mountain slopes and settles in to the Jackson Hole valley. One February night in 1933 the thermometer here bottomed out at -66°F, a Wyoming record that still stands today. Spring officially began the very next day, but it still managed to reach -6°F this night, making it my coldest night of camping yet. While Orion will soon be gone for the season, the summer Milky Way will take its place. And you won’t need 4 layers of clothing to see it.