Tag Archives: grand teton national park

September28, 2016 Teton National Park, Wyoming

Mormon Row

Mormon Row

Last Days in the Tetons

Campground Moose

Campground Moose

Tomorrow I plan to break camp and leave the Tetons … and one of the best campsites I have had in quite a while.

Campground Bull Moose

Campground Bull Moose

And wouldn’t you know, now that I have decided to move on south to Salt lake City and Antelope Island State Park, the moose decide to move into the campground here at Gros Ventre. These shots were all taken from INSIDE my motorhome right at the crack of dawn today.

Teton Moose

Teton Moose

I have no idea what this chase is all about, kind of odd to see a cow chase off another cow, the bulls do it all the time but never saw cows doing this before.

Campground Moose Action

Campground Moose Action

When the moose come in, there are always photographers right behind them. This guy just about got clocked by the cow that sprang to life and chased after the other cow, with this photographer right in the midst of the action.

Teton Pronghorn

Teton Pronghorn

Teton Pronghorns

Teton Pronghorns

I continue to regularly locate the pronghorns along the dirt road to Mormon Row.

Teton Red Barn

Teton Red Barn

Snow Capped Tetons

Snow Capped Tetons

Nights have been getting a little chilly, being greeted by heavy frost to scrape off the windshield every morning lately. The rain that has been falling here in the campground is leaving the mountaintops covered with snow, though it still is melting away in the afternoon most days.

Snow Capped Tetons

Snow Capped Tetons

Mormon Row

Mormon Row

Teton Pronghorn

Teton Pronghorn

I took a drive out to Curtis Canyon to check out the ( closed for the season ) National Forest campground there, and had the good fortune to come upon this handsome fellow posing on the side of the road.

Teton Pronghorn

Teton Pronghorn

 

Tetons From Curtis Canyon Road

Tetons From Curtis Canyon Road

This is the view from the top of the hill by the National Forest campground looking down and across the National Elk Refuge to the Tetons.

Teton Boondock Campsite

Teton Boondock Campsite

There are a couple of wonderful boondock campsites up there, just not quite sure I would want to take my motorhome up the gravel road, a little steep and rough in spots.

Tomorrow I will be heading down to the Great Salt Lake and Antelope island State Park for a few nights as I begin my southward winter migration.

September 14, 2016 Grand Tetons, Wyoming

Coyote Pouncing

Coyote Pouncing

Mixed Bag of Weather

We have had two or thee days now of really mixed weather, mostly bad. Quite a bit of rain, day and night, much cooler temperatures, even a bit of snow on the mountaintops. So, I have only ventured out to shoot a couple of times.

Iconic Mormon Row Barn

Iconic Mormon Row Barn

When I saw some sun pop through the clouds yesterday, I quickly loaded up the gear and zipped over to Mormon Row to shoot the iconic barn. I had hoped to get Grand Teton’s peak in the background and hung around for over an hour, but it was not to be.

Iconic Mormon Row Barn

Iconic Mormon Row Barn

When the clouds darkened and rain began to fall, I decided to move on, heading north towards Moran Junction where the sky was still allowing the sun to peak through.

Clinging Clouds

Clinging Clouds

Clouds were literally clinging to the mountains.

Coyote

On the Hunt

On the way north I ran into a pair of coyotes hunting in a field along the main highway.

Coyote Honing in on Prey

Coyote Honing in on Prey

Moving rapidly across the field, they would suddenly stop, twitch their head from side to side, with their ears pointed forward, detecting the exact location of the prey …

Coyote Honing in on Prey

Coyote Honing in on Prey

… then slowly raise up on their hind legs …

Coyote Pouncing

Coyote Pouncing

… and pounce!

Coyote Pouncing

Coyote Pouncing

Coyote Pouncing

Coyote Pouncing

Coyote Pouncing

Coyote Pouncing

Coyote Digging for Prey

Coyote Digging for Prey

Then grab the prey.

Coyote with Squirrel

Success!

Carry it off and wolf it down.

Coyote

Um-um Good!

Lick their chops and go hunt for another one. I watched as they each caught a couple mice, or more likely, ground squirrels, hard to tell, since they went down so fast.

All this action took place over the course of an hour or so and occurred on both sides of the main highway through Grand Teton National Park. This is a two lane road, with paved 5 or 6 foot shoulders on both sides in this particular stretch of road. Traffic was brutal, and, needless to say, when a couple of people stop and get out with cameras, well, then everyone has to stop ( not neccessarily pulling off the road when they do so ) and ask what you are doing. While trying to concentrate on the antics of the coyotes, it is hard not to spend as much time being amazed by the incredibly stupid things that people will do.

Now most people actually do take care to get their car completely out of the travel lane of the highway, but doing so means you have to get one set of wheels off the paved shoulder and on to a steep incline to the drainage ditch. A few folks apparently didn’t want to do that so they just leave the driver’s side of their car out in the travel lane … then an idiot in a large motorhome comes along, and being too wide to even think about fitting onto the shoulder, just parks his rig three feet out into the travel lane opposite a car that has done the same thing on the other side of the road. Now we have a one lane road with twenty cars a minute trying to get through. Doesn’t work very well. And the people that caused this mess, completely oblivious to what they have done. Or maybe they do realize what they have done, but simply don’t care.

Yet with all the honking of horns and shouting of frustrated drivers, these two coyotes just ignored all the human idiots and  went about their business, sometimes coming within twenty feet of the roadway and all it’s human traffic.

Finally, the rains moved back in from the north, and, at least for me, the show was over, time to head home, dry off, and warm up. One more day of poor weather forecast, then sun and blue skies again.

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October 9, 2015 Grand Teton National Park

Bull Elk and Harem

Bull Elk and Harem

Patience and Perseverance Finally Pay Off

Today being the day that the Gros Ventre Campground closes for the season, I figured to give my thus far unsuccessful elk hunt one last chance before leaving Grand Teton National Park. So, at first light, I was off, once again, for Cottonwood Creek Road.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Elk Herd

Elk Herd

Elk Herd

Elk Herd

Slowly crawling in through the puddles and rocks about a mile or so, I spotted a large herd of elk the better part of a mile away … after seven trips in here, success at last!

Too far off to shoot from the road, I grabbed the tripod and long lens and started hiking through the sage brush towards the herd.

Bull Elk and Cows

Keeping His Distance

I am guessing that there were probably fifty to sixty cows being herded by one very impressive bull, with another equally impressive male hanging around the perimeter awaiting his chance to steal a few cows.

Bull Elk

Dominant Bull

This guy seemed to be in charge …

Bull Elk

Second Fiddle

… and kept this impressive looking character on the sidelines.

Please forgive the less than perfect images, they were shot in the very early morning light at some pretty great distances as I pursued this herd.

Bull Elk and Cows

Bull Elk and Cows

Bull Elk and Cows

Bull Elk and Cows

A most impressive rack of antlers!

Bull Elk Escorting His Harem

Bull Elk Escorting His Harem

Bull Elk and Harem

Bull Elk and Harem

Out in the sagebrush, about half a mile from my parked car, I had closed the distance to the herd to a manageable space, when the bull started driving the herd in my direction.

Bull Elk Escorting His Harem

Lots of Competition

Bull Elk

Rivals

Obviously aware of my presence, he pushed them out and around my position at a pretty fast pace, heading north across the road I had just come in on.

Bull Elk Escorting His Harem

Crossing Cottonwood Creek Road

Elk Herd

Elk Herd

Once across the dirt road, off they went, at a gallop, taking only a minute or two to get out of range of the camera. And that was that! Success at last. Got my elk, got my moose, and really enjoyed the incredible scenery here in Grand Teton National Park.

Broke camp and was on the road by noon. Really enjoyed my stay at Gros Ventre Campground and hate to see it come to an end, but I really need to get heading south, there are birds waiting for me down along the Rio Grande in Texas.

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October 8, 2015 Grand Teton National Park

Teton Reflections

Teton Reflections

Teton Reflections

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.

Teton Reflections

Teton Reflections

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.

Teton Reflections

Teton Reflections

Teton Reflections

Teton Reflections

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.

Teton Reflections

Teton Reflections

Teton Reflections

Teton Reflections

Teton Reflections

Teton Reflections

Teton Reflections

Teton Reflections

Teton Reflections

Teton Reflections

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.

Grand Tetons

Grand Tetons

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.

Grand Tetons

Grand Tetons

Grand Tetons Homestead

Grand Tetons Homestead

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.

Grand Tetons Homestead

Grand Tetons Homestead

Grand Tetons Homestead

Grand Tetons Homestead

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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