Friday, May 17, 2013

IN THE GRAND TETONS WITH THE ANIMALS



I just can't get over how beautiful this place is.  Those lofty peaks towering over the Snake River Valley  as it cuts through this part of Wyoming.  We paid for 3 nights, then added an additional night, and then another.  I even checked out the possibility of a seasonal job as a volunteer for a future visit.  We would have stayed longer, but Cathie has two new nephews waiting for her to hold in Montana, so we must continue northward.  (Why do you think we came on this trip).

We had great weather in Grand Teton National Park, until the last day when the rain began.  It started while on a hike, but later in the day in came in earnest raining through the night.


We've been here before, but the last time we cut the visit short because I had injured my shoulder kayaking.  I had gone to the hospital in Jackson and was told to get home to see my own doctor, so that's what we did.  This time we stayed a little longer.  May is a great time to visit in some regards, no crowds and plants are just starting to turn green.  The downside is that much is still closed.  All the lodges and most of the campgrounds are closed, but I consider that a good thing.  Most of the hiking trails at higher elevations are still covered with snow and some of the lower elevation trails are partially covered, a bad thing.  We stuck to hikes closer to the valley floor around some of the lakes.  Because it's early in the season, we saw few hikers.


LEIGH LAKE

Our first hike along the shore of Leigh Lake was along pretty level ground.  We did have some snow to contend with and it appeared from the tracks in the snow that only a few people had been on the trail so far this season.  That didn't mean that some of the local residents hadn't walked on the same path.  They warn you about bears just about everywhere, but although we saw lots of animals, we never saw a bear.  But pretty fresh tracks on the same trail as you, tend to make you pay attention.





LEIGH LAKE REFLECTION

Our second choice for a hike was to be Two Ocean Lake in the north end of the park, but it was not to be.  We arrived to find the road to the trailhead was closed due to snow, so we ending up taking a driving tour around the park.  We were going to ride bikes as the park and the City of Jackson have some really nice separate bike routes.  But we got lazy.  Next day another hike to another lake.  Actually two lakes, Bradly and Taggart and more beautiful country.

We had to traverse some snow at the higher elevation and we were postholeing to mid thigh.  Cathie noticed some movement out of the corner of her eye and discovered that we were being followed by this grouse.


She followed us for quite some time and when we stopped for a break, so did the grouse.  She let us get really close and we probably would have been able to touch her.



For our last hike we decided to climb Blacktail Butte, which we could see from our camp.  Not one of the designated trails on the parks list, still there is trail of sorts which follows a ridge line, climbing to 1100 feet above the valley.  The butte rises from the middle of the valley and is said to be home to most of the animals that populate the park.  Of course this worried Cathie as she believes there is a bear out there that wants her.  When we reached the summit the wind and rain started, so I suggested that we get inside the tree line until it passed.  As we entered the trees, I kidded Cathie, saying "this is where we'll see a bear".  We walked about 50 yards into the trees when we were startled, not by a bear, but a moose.  It had been laying down under the tree we were headed for, but was nice enough to run off deeper into the forest.

Speaking of animals of the park, we did manage to see many of them.


PRONGHORN

BISON


A LARGE FOX


LOTS OF GEESE 

FOUR MOOSE IN THIS AREA NEAR CAMP

MARMOT

ELK

BIG HORN SHEEP (NOT THE HORSES)

GROUSE


MOOSE RESTING IN CAMPGROUND


The only one we missed was the bear.  Maybe next time.

After scampering down Blacktail Butte we managed to dodge most of the rain, but once back in camp, the rain stayed with us into the night and the next day. 



This barn and the one earlier in this posting is some of what's left of the town of Grovont, now know as Mormon Row.  There are a few other buildings including several homes all, with the exception of one, is no longer occupied.  The barns were part of homesteads from the early 1900's.  In the mid 1900's the settlers' land was acquired to expand the National Park.

JUST OUTSIDE THE PARK, RED ROCK RANCH


We leave Grand Teton in the rain continuing northward.  We are now in a RV park in Ennis, Montana, listening to the rain beat on the roof.  Rain is forecast for the next several days, so we'll do our best to stay dry.




4 comments:

Nick Saraceni said...

Wow...like a Discovery Channel wildlife Documentary. Cool.

Anonymous said...

This area with the landscape and many animals - what a wonderful world - enjoy it

Hansjörg + Silke said...

This area with the landscape and many animals - what a wonderful world - enjoy it

12:58 AM

Gassaway's Adventures said...

Hansjorg and Silke,

When we meet in Paris, we will see a different kind of animal.