Grand Teton celebrates John Colter Day June 29

Illustration "Old Bill Williams" by Alfred Jacob Miller.

Illustration "Old Bill Williams" by Alfred Jacob Miller.

The annual John Colter Day celebration will be held Monday, June 29, at Colter Bay Visitor Center in Grand Teton National Park. Colter explored the vast Yellowstone country during the winter of 1807-08, and was likely the first European-American to  travel the region. This marks the eighth year that Grand Teton has offered special presentations to highlight the life of John Colter and the mountain men of the 1800s.

John Colter Day Highlights include:

Colter Stone Display — June 26-July 6, 2015

This stone—on loan from the Teton Valley Historical Museum in Driggs, Idaho— is a piece of rhyolite lava carved in the shape of a human head and engraved with the name John Colter, and year 1808. Discovered in Tetonia, Idaho in 1933, the stone, if authentic, represents the only solid proof of the route followed by trapper and explorer John Colter.  As a member of the famed Lewis and Clark expedition from 1804 to 1806, Colter was given an early discharge from the Corps of Discovery. He set out on his own from a fur traders’ fort in the southern Montana territory and he traveled south to present-day Cody, Wyoming. On his return, he passed through an area that is now part of Yellowstone National Park. A section of his journey may have brought him through Jackson Hole, over Teton Pass, and along the western slope of the Tetons.


Presentations at Colter Bay Visitor Center — June 29, 2015

11 a.m. – The Story of the Colter Stone

Ranger Naturalist Dan Greenblatt will detail the legend and history of this fascinating artifact.


2:30 p.m. – John Colter: Mountain Man Superhero

Dr. Barbara Mueller, professor of anthropology at Casper College, will discuss the life of John Colter, widely considered to be the first mountain man of the American West.


5 p.m. –The Story of Sacagewea

Local author, historian and storyteller, Ken Thomasma, will talk about Sacagewea, a Shoshoni woman who accompanied the Lewis and Clark expedition across the western United States from 1804-1806.


7 p.m. – Mountain Man of Jackson Hole

Ranger Andrew Langford will re-create the rugged life of a mountain man, enduring brutal winters and physical dangers in unmapped West during the 1800s.


9 p.m. – Adventures of John Coulter, Mountain Man

Dr. Barbara Mueller, professor of anthropology, will discuss the adventures of John Colter.

For more information about the Colter Day events, please call the Colter Bay Visitor Center at 739.3594.

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