One of the many reasons why we wanted to move out west, was to be closer to the wilderness areas of the west that we love so much. After we got a bit “settled in” (which incidentally is still a work in progresss), we decided it was time to head out west and north a bit. We made the 7 hr drive to Jackson … and Grand Teton National Park in WY.
Of course, the ride out when you’re traveling out somewhere is always part of the journey. Since we had never driven from Fruita to Jackson, it was all fresh and new to us. One of the most interesting and quite beautiful places that we traveled through was Flaming Gorge Reservoir and recreation areas. It connects to the Flaming Gorge Dam and is the largest reservoir in Wyoming. Even on this very overcast day in the early fall, it was spectacular.
En route to Pinedale, WY, which was our stopping point for the night, we encountered lots of wildlife nearby. A herd of pronghorn antelope ladies were spotted just off in the distance … and as you can see they spotted us too.Of course, their male counterpart was nearby and overseeing his harem, which I’m sure he worked hard to gather. To me, pronghorn are such interesting looking creatures, with their fancy horns and all … like crowns on their heads. LOLOf course, deer were numerous and looking to establish harems of ladies of their own.To my surprise, we also encountered wild horses. We only spotted two in the near vicinity, but they sure were majestic looking. Is it just me, or is there something super special about them?The next morning we ventured into Grand Teton NP, met up my good friend Jen, and first made our way to the Jenny Lake area, including some of the outlying places as well. It was such a fabulous, sunny day, and the perfect temperature as well.About that time, we met up with some friends, Phil & Rodney, who were unexpectedly in Yellowstone NP and bummed that they didn’t get good views of the Tetons when they were there just a few days earlier. Nothing that a quick phone call couldn’t fix … and soon we were meeting up with them at the iconic Oxbow Bend. I mean, views like this were well worth the drive back, don’t you think? After spending some time there, drooling about the views, we all decided to go try to find some bears. After all, I had been in a bit of a “bear drought” lately and eager to find some. We encountered a grizzly boar grazing in the brush and had him to ourselves for a few minutes before others spotted the action. While it was exciting to find and photograph him … as it kept grazing with its head DOWN, not UP. LOLThen it was time to find some other gems on this gorgeous autumn day. Before long, the clouds started forming low and the results were amazing.The next day, we came across lots of wildlife … including the distant but quite beautiful view of a bull elk walking away from us. It was OK with me because, I mean, how beautiful was this view, with the fog and moody sky in the distance? I was thrilled.Of course, a highlight for us, was finding this feisty red fox … pretty much almost to ourselves! This fox worked the sage brush so hard, digging away at it roots, as it hunted for little squirrels and such. It never stopped even … like the Everyready Bunny it was. So entertaining. I did have one problem … too much lens! Good problem, I know!Oh, they say the eyes have it and that was never so true as this guy (or gal). They had me in a trance! LOLWell, whatever it found and munched just before this shot, must have been good, as it licked its chops.Bison are always a welcomed sighting when in the Tetons. I think we caught this group during Siesta Time. LOL At one point though, we found ourselves in our car quite close to a few that were quite ready to engage in some fighting. I was amazed at how powerful they were and amused at how when two dominant bison were sparring, there was usually another (the “ref”?) nearby observing them.Of course, no bison photo op is never complete without the shot of the tongue sticking out … whether up its nose or not. Lots of pronghorn antelope were present and gathered up in harems, which the male protected at all costs.We watched as several times the male chased away other males trying to get a few recruits within his harem. This guy would have none of that!The mule deer bucks were gathered up together in the wet field, as the weather changed quite a bit between day one and two.More bull elk were coming out, but it was weird because we heard very little bugling, which I was a bit disappointed about. Still, to witness these big guys roaming in the wilderness was exciting.On the third day, it began to snow a little, then quite a lot … those big giant snowflakes … and it gave the area a whole new look. Gorgeous!While I was quite thrilled with the unexpected snowfall, I don’t think this belted kingfisher was as pleased. Poor thing was spotted on a ramp to the water and looked quite cold.Snow falling adds so much to an image in the Tetons, I think. We encountered several bull moose and a female with a juvenile with her, as they made some fast time crossing the landscape and off into the mass of autumn-kissed trees they went.Well, until next time when we return in early spring, I’ll leave everyone with that last look that I got from the active red fox … so cute … I can never resist an image of an animal walking away. Hope that you enjoyed sharing our autumn trip to the Tetons with us. It should be noted that in 2017, the fall colors never really arrived, and most of it was unseasonably late. You just never know. 🙂 Thanks so much to Jen, Phil, and Rodney for sharing our fun with us. It’s always better with friends!
Next up: The Colorado Verson of Autumn
© 2017 TNWA Photography / Debbie Tubridy