In the National Parks: Lost in the Tetons

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Missing teen

Talbot Lake trail, Grand TetonWord reached Cincinnati on the evening of Aug. 5, 2016 that a local teenager was missing in Grand Teton National Park. The 17-year-old had gone to the park on a conservation project with a group called Groundwork USA. She was working with a group of other teenagers on a trail making project when she headed off on a bathroom break and never returned. The news seemed even more ominous the following day when KLWT5 News in Cincinnati reported that one of her hiking boots had been found.

The TV reporter reached her math teacher who expressed his concern: “I’m really worried about her safety because I know her and I know this is not something that she would do of her own accord.” He added that she is a straight-A student and president of the Vegan Club. Just the day before going missing she had posted on her Instagram account “Last day in Wyoming is tomorrow. I can’t wait to be home and see everyone. Today I am blazing a trail, pretty siked.”

The search initiated by the park rangers was broadened to include the Teton County Sheriff’s Office and the Wyoming Civil Air Patrol. More than 100 people were involved. And they found her!  But when they did, she tried to run away. And she had cut and dyed her hair and changed her clothes. Eventually they corralled her and held her under “protective custody” until her parents arrived and brought her back to Ohio.

I trust all is well now and she will be able to look back on this incident and dismiss it as “one of the stupid things I did when I was 17.” We all have some of them.

Boot of missing Cincinnati teen found during search of Wyoming Park

Ohio teen found in Grand Teton National Park had changed her appearance


Missing ring

Grand Teton National ParkRichie Jones had a plan for proposing to his longtime girlfriend Ashley Allen that no woman could refuse. Packing away a purple sapphire engagement ring, he set out with Ashley to conquer the Grand Teton, a 14,000 foot peak that is the tallest at Grand Teton National Park. It took them two days to reach the summit. Here’s a companion climber’s description of what happened when they got there.

“Richie stepped back, took a knee on the summit of the Grand Teton, and looked deep into Ashley’s eyes.

“’Will you marry me, Ashley?’

“She threw her hands in the air, screamed in obvious delight, and with tears of joy streaming down her face she reached toward the ring box as Richie held it out and opened it.

“She gave Richie a puzzled look.

“Richie returned the puzzled look. He slowly rotated the box and an expression of utter astonishment swept across his face.

“The ring was gone.”

He later told ABC News “One of the guys saw it bounce off the rock and it goes spiraling, just spinning with this top spin down through the air, and saw it on another rock.” Allen never got to see the ring, but she said yes anyway and Jones tried to look on the bright side: “To know our engagement ring is on this incredibly dramatic, spectacular peak just sitting up there, what more could you ask for?”

Not exactly what he planned but a memorable proposal nonetheless. No word on whether anyone ever found the ring.

A Mountaintop Proposal Doesn’t Go as Plannd Engagement Ring Lost on ‘Spectacular’ 14,000-Foot Peak ‘Meant to be There’


Missing skier

Jacson Hole Ski ResortA Houston man and two of his buddies from Wyoming, ranging in age from 24 to 37, were spending Christmas in 2016 skiing at the Jackson Hole Ski Resort, adjacent to Grand Teton National Park.  But at 6:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve one of the men’s girlfriend got a text that they were in trouble. She called Teton County Search and Rescue who forwarded the alert to the park rangers.

The skiers were hoping to reach the Rock Spring Bowl but after they left the ski area’s boundary, they got lost in the poor visibility. They were able to hike to an area where they could get some cell reception and contact with the park rangers was established at about 10 p.m. It was determined that the men were uninjured and that they had some equipment with them, including probes and shovels. They were instructed by the Rangers to build a snow cave and fire and the rescue would take place in the morning when it was not as dangerous.

Two park rangers and two members of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Ski Patrol started their Christmas morning on the tram that goes to the top of the mountain. They skied into the area where they believed the lost men were camped out, were able to find their ski tracks and followed them to the three skiers. The men were safe, albeit cold, and the rescuers escorted them down the mountain and back to Teton Village.

The advice from the park rangers: “remind those that venture outside of the ski area boundary that they should be prepared for emergencies and the potential for extended stays outdoors.”

Lost Skiers Rescued in Grand Teton National Park on Christmas Day

Jenny Lake waterfall

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6 Responses to In the National Parks: Lost in the Tetons

  1. pjlazos says:

    Wonder what that girl was thinking??; A friend of mine found a diamond ring along a mountain hiking trail. It was a real diamond! So that’s how it got there.; and Mother Nature always wins! Beautiful pictures, Ken. I assume yours?


  2. Have you read Death in Yellowstone? It’s poorly formatted (at least the ebook was), but details all of the deaths that taken place in the park. Touron stories never get old, though the ones that end in death are a bit strange to read for entertainment.


  3. reocochran says:

    The favorite photo I loved was the tall trees in the Grand Tetons you captured, Ken.
    Those stories were very interesting! I wonder why the girl dyed and cut her hair? Was this a planned escape? The diamond story made me sad, it sounded very beautiful. Smiles, Robin


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