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Special Grand Teton presentations set for Colter Days

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Grand Teton National Park

The morning sun illuminates the Tetons in Grand Teton National Park.

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MOOSE, Wyo. — Special presentations to highlight the life of John Colter and the mountain men of the 1800s will be offered on Monday, June 24, at the Colter Bay Visitor Center in Grand Teton National Park.

Colter explored the vast Yellowstone country during the winter of 1807-1808, and was likely the first Euro-American to travel the region. This marks the 12th year of the presentations.

John Colter Day highlights include:

Colter Stone on Display at the Colter Bay Visitor Center - June 21-30. The stone is a piece of rhyolite lava carved into 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 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. The stone is part of Grand Teton National Park's museum collection but is housed at the Teton Valley Historical Museum in Driggs, Idaho, for most of the year.

Presentations at Colter Bay Visitor Center auditorium and amphitheater — June 24: 11 a.m. — The Story of the Colter Stone; 3 p.m. - John Colter: Mountain Man Superhero, Barbara Mueller, professor of anthropology at Casper College, will discuss the life of Colter, widely considered to be the first mountain man of the American West; 5:30 p.m. — The Story of Sacagawea, local author, historian and storyteller Ken Thomasma will talk about Sacagawea, a Shoshone woman who accompanied the Lewis and Clark expedition across the western United States from 1804-1806; 7 p.m. — Teton Trapper, park Ranger Joe Thompson will re-create the rugged life of a mountain man, enduring brutal winters and physical dangers in the unmapped West during the 1800s; 9 p.m. — Run for Your Life: Then and Now, Mueller will discuss historic adventures.

For more information about the Colter Day events, call the Colter Bay Visitor Center at 307-739-3594.

This article originally ran on billingsgazette.com.


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