Can You Ever Tire Of The Tetons?

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.

_DSC2985-Edit_DSC2997-EditEn 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.DSC_2732Of 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.  LOLDSC_2760Of course, deer were numerous and looking to establish harems of ladies of their own.DSC_2831To 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?DSC_2884The 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._DSC9884About 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?  _DSC0013-Edit-Edit_DSC0006-Edit-Edit-EditAfter 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.  LOLDSC_3385Then 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._DSC0042-EditThe 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.DSC_5086-Edit-Edit-EditOf 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!DSC_3500-Edit-2Oh, they say the eyes have it and that was never so true as this guy (or gal).  They had me in a trance!  LOLDSC_3502-Edit-EditWell, whatever it found and munched just before this shot, must have been good, as it licked its chops.DSC_3574Bison are always a welcomed sighting when in the Tetons.  I think we caught this group during Siesta Time.  LOL_DSC3184-Edit 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._DSC3156Of course, no bison photo op is never complete without the shot of the tongue sticking out … whether up its nose or not.  DSC_3668Lots of pronghorn antelope were present and gathered up in harems, which the male protected at all costs.DSC_3706We 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!DSC_3730The mule deer bucks were gathered up together in the wet field, as the weather changed quite a bit between day one and two.DSC_4712DSC_4050DSC_4415More 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.DSC_3456On 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!_DSC0143-EditWhile 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.DSC_5296Snow 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.DSC_5408-EditWell, 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.  DSC_3619Hope 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

http://www.tnwaphotography.com

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Hot Dog !!!

One of the days, as we were traveling along in the Canadian Rockies, we came across a grizzly bear in the not too far distance.  “Stop the truck!” I said to Tom.  It was after all our first grizzly of our trip … see most of the bears we encountered were black bears.  So Tom, being a good sherpa, pulled over so I could observe and photograph the bear.  It sure was a beauty too.

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This bear was wandering around on the rocky landscape, in a location that I will never disclose.  I’m not being secretive about wildlife sightings, but it will make sense by the end of this post.  Promise  🙂

This healthy looking grizzly laid down on the gravel and began to roll around.  Oh, how cute, I thought … it’s scratching its side on the rough surface of the rocks.   I was ecstatic with the angle because I just LOVE bear paws and claws!

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It rolled over … kind of like a dog in the grass …

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… and it continued to roll around … over and over.  I was happily snapping off images and couldn’t believe what an awesome sighting this was.

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Every so often, it would glance over its shoulder to get a glance at the crowd that was quickly forming.  Most people were out of their cars.  Many tried to get closer to this bear, which made me very annoyed.  I mean, come on!  Here we had this gorgeous bear … acting like a bear!!!

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Hot dog!!!, I thought.  We sure did hit the mother lode opportunity.  This bear was giving us quite the show!!!  Didn’t think that it could get better.

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Well, you know when things seem too good to be true?  After not too much longer, I checked my screen and saw something that haunts me still to this day.  Something that was so inexcusable and disturbing.

That’s when I noticed that the grizzly bear was rolling around, like a dog when it rolls in something dead does.  But this was not your typical road kill.  This bear had been thrown hot dogs … not just one, not two, but 5 hot dogs!!!  Many of the images above were worked on to eliminate what was the reality, as seen in those below.

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Good Lord, who does that???  I’ve seen all kinds of things over the years, but I think that this is the thing that bothers me most.  Spending a lot of time in various locations photographing brown bears (grizzlies), I sure hope that whatever IDIOT person was responsible for giving this bear HOT DOGS! or any other kind of human food, will be caught and fined.  I mean, come on!!!

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This is clearly not the case of a bear who raided a BBQ grill, took the hot dogs to his own little picnic area, to sniff and roll around in.  This was deliberate!  I can’t even imagine why anyone would do this.  The reason that I will not disclose this location, and put this post out of order of our travels, is that this is not the fault of this bear.  Happy to report that he didn’t even eat them.

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When a wild bear is TAUGHT things that aren’t natural for them – like eating hot dogs provided by a human (no, make that spectator(s) standing within close vicinity – closer than regulations mandate), it can only lead to bad things for this poor bear.

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As I mentioned, this grizzly bear didn’t eat the hot dogs and eventually got annoyed with the onlookers, who were slowly, but surely, invaded its personal space, so it left the area and went off into the brush.  After we hadn’t seen the bear for about 5 minutes, Tom & I took a plastic bag and picked them up.  I didn’t want this bear – or another – to come back for it.

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Please remember that a FED BEAR is a DEAD BEAR !!!

After I wrote this post, I thought to myself, I could call this shot of the bear … Dead Bear Walking!  I know that this is not the norm for human behaviors and that especially anyone who is reading this post, would never do something like this, but I felt that I had to share this with everyone.  Let’s all get a dose of COMMON SENSE out there PLEASE!!!

More from our trip to come … so stay tuned!

© 2014 Debbie Tubridy / TNWA Photography