I was out at first light again this morning, hoping to find some elk before tomorrow when the campground closes for the season and I leave here to continue my journey south to Texas. Once again I drove down the barely manageable Cottonwood Creek Road, but like every other trip in there, no elk this morning.
I continued north on the Teton Park Road, all the way to Route 191 without spotting any elk. As I continued south on Route 191 heading back to the campground, the morning clouds started lifting and all but the very tips of the Grand Tetons came into view against one of the most brilliant blue skies I have seen.
As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.
There was one side road on the west side of 191 that leads down to the Snake River that I had never explored, and I decided this morning was as good a time as any to check it out. On Google Maps I found this road is named Schwabachers Landing Road, and it takes you down to one of the side channels of the main river and several small beaver ponds that capture wonderful reflections of the Teton Mountains.
Sorry to bore you with several repetitious shots but as I walked up the trail along the beaver ponds, I was just blown away by this place. No breeze whatsoever left the reflections undisturbed and the few remaining clouds clinging to the mountain peaks just made my morning, and for the moment, I forgot about my lousy luck finding any elk.
I have to throw in this one shot where the reflection was marred by ripples on the water’s surface, caused by a lone mallard bobbing for food on the bottom of the pond.
Just a little farther south on 191 is the Blacktail Ponds Overlook, another spot I had not ventured into because of road construction in that area. The autumn colors below the overlook added yet another take on the Grand Tetons.
These shots are of one of the old homesteads on Mormon Row. The iconic shot of the old Mormon barn against the mountain backdrop was not an option this year as a brand new mustard colored metal roof had just been installed on that barn and there was still a lot of construction equipment parked in the area.
Tomorrow the Gros Ventre Campground closes for the season and it will be time for me to move on. This stay here in the Tetons has been one of the most enjoyable and rewarding stops of the year … with the exception of the lack of any elk shots, which is normally a pretty sure thing here. If the weather cooperates, I will give it one last try early tomorrow morning before breaking camp.
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