Monday, August 08, 2011

The Tetons

It rained, so no rodeo. We spent three nights at the campground just north of Grand Teton National Park. No bears in the campground this time, which is a good thing because a couple camped near us chose to ignore all of the “bear aware” warnings visitors are given. Basically, keep anything that may smell like food to a bear locked up. That means greasy grills, all of your food, trash, you get the idea. This couple set up a complete outdoor kitchen, and kept it out in the open the entire time they were there. The campground even provides bear proof steel containers at campsites for folks camping in tents or pop up trailers with canvas sides. As I said, its a good thing Yogi and friends didn’t stop by.

DSC_0229  Anyway, the last time we visited this park it rained every day and the magnificent mountains were sheathed in cloud and mist. This time, the sun was out, and light tends to make for better photographs. The Tetons range up to 13,000 feet or so, which doesn’t make them the tallest mountains in the Rockies, but because they sort of grow right out of the valley floor, they are among the most spectacular. This is actually our 4th visit to the park, and the views never get old.DSC_0221

This shot is just to prove that Penny was there too. I told her I didn’t think this was the best time to be wearing a tee shirt emblazoned with the logo of the United States Senate, but it’s her favorite shirt.

In addition to the bears, the park is home to moose, elk, bison, wolves and deer. We saw a moose at a great distance with binoculars, an elk near the road, several deer, including one that ran out in front of the truck (I’ve had lots of practice avoiding those), and what we think was a herd of bison, so far away they could have been cattle.

At one of the overlooks, everyone was looking at what seemed to be a moose in the far distance. Without binoculars it looked like a tiny brown spot. With binoculars, it looked like a slightly larger brown spot, maybe with a head. We went back to that overlook hours later and that brown spot hadn’t moved. We realized then that it was a pile of logs, or a building, or something that wasn’t a moose. This overlook is prime moose viewing territory, so pretty much everyone who stops there thinks they’ve seen a moose. By the way, we stopped there the next day and the thing still hadn’t moved. I can’t help but wonder if a Ranger put the object there just to give the tourists something to look at.

But there real attraction here is the mountains.DSC_0217

Everywhere we visit we pick up the local real estate guides just to get an idea of property values. The Jackson and Jackson Hole area is one of the most expensive in the country, and a lot of people use their homes here as vacation retreats. Anything with a view will start at around $900,000 and go up from there. Even the condos are in the seven figure range.

Right now we’re in Rock Springs, WY, which is considered high desert. Tomorrow we’re going to drive through a place called Flaming Gorge, and  take a self-guided drive through one of the Bureau of Land Management’s wild horse preserves. If we see any horses there will be pictures.


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