A Life in a Year – 26th February, Grand Teton National Park and inappropriate place names

Grand Teton National Park is a United States National Park located in northwestern Wyoming, south of Yellowstone National Park.  The park is named after the Grand Teton, which, at nearly four thousand two hundred metres high, is the tallest mountain in the Teton Range.  The origin of the name Teton is alleged to be the name given by French trappers in the area.  Another possible source is that the mountains derive their name from the names of one of tribes in the Sioux Nation but I prefer the first explanation as will become clear later.

Grand Teton National Park was established on February 26th 1929 and covers one thousand, two hundred and fifty square kilometres land and water and I visited the park in 1995.

On a second and final day in Yellowstone National Park the weather was cold and there was snow in the air and the coach driver who was keeping an eye on the forecast was obviously eager to move on because heavy falls were predicted and when this happens it can close all of the roads until the following spring.  This usually occurs about the beginning of November and as we were only a week away and wanted to be home for Christmas, it was probably very sensible to move on.  (The following day he confirmed to us that the snow had fallen and some of the roads were indeed closed).

We left the park at the south entrance that took us into the Grand Teton National Park down US highway 26.  This was a journey of about eighty five kilometres to the town of Jackson and on the way we passed the majestic snow capped Grand Teton mountains and Jackson Lake to the west of the highway.

Many inappropriate former place and topographical names in the U.S.A. have been changed by the Board of Geographic names which was established in 1890 with a mandate to make place names consistent and respectable.  They clearly overlooked the translation of the French named Grand Tetons and obviously decided that Big Tits Mountains was OK!


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