NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Grand Tetons Flashback - The Wildlife

See the baby in the grass in Oxbow Bend?  Bottom center

I thought it might be time for another Flashback post.  Right now the Grand Tetons are probably buried under mounds of snow, though today's forecast calls for highs of 31F and only 5 mph winds which is what they've had for the past week.  Sounds like pretty good winter hiking weather to me.  We hardly ever get days like that here.  Yesterday our high was 14 with fresh snow on the roads and nothing all week long but wind, wind, and more wind.   Is that the wind I hear outside my window right now?  You better believe it.  If I want to hike today I have to drive almost an hour to Kettle Moraine to duck into the woods and escape that wind.  I haven't gone for a walk outside yet for the month of January.

Speaking of hiking, when we arrived at the Colter Bay Campground in the Tetons I had Wayne drop me off for a hike at the Hermitage Point trailhead while he set up our campsite and relaxed.  (We have different ways to relax, obviously!)  There are a lot of different spurs to take on this trail, so be cautious at trail junctions and know which way you want to go.  When I went in 2009 the markers weren't that great, but perhaps they've made improvements since then.  I chose to keep it simple and make a 3 mile loop past Heron Pond and Swan Lake instead of going all the way out to Hermitage Point.  When I got to Heron Pond I came upon 3 deer grazing in the middle of the trail.

They were pretty accepting of my presence, and when one split off and went down to the pond I followed her.  Make sure to click on the pictures, for some reason they look grainy on the blog to me today, but super sharp when you click on them.

The rest of the hike was uneventful in comparison, but beautiful landscapes were around every turn.  I would definitely explore that trail over and over again.

Another day we checked out the National Park map and decided to get off the main road and took the dirt road to Cattleman's Bridge Site.  We didn't want to access the Snake River for rafting, we wanted to get a look at the wildlife.


bald eagle
There was only a handful of people back there, and we were all treated to a great show by a river otter.

There is also plenty of elk to be seen, usually right from the main road.  This bull elk was keeping an eye out for a couple of his ladies to return.  They had scampered across the road but the rest of the herd hung back because of all the traffic stalking them and making it hard for them to cross.  Rangers are are hand to keep the crowds back, but this poor herd kept moving along and trying to cross unsuccessfully so I got my shot and we moved on.

Watch out for the golden mantled ground squirrels, they're pesky about looking for handouts on the trails.  But, due to their familiarity with people I was able to get this great shot!

Antelope Flats Road is a great spot to see bison.  When we took a drive over there we also got to see a rainbow.  It was hard to know where to look!

When visiting the Tetons, May and September is best to avoid the crowds.  We were there in September 2009 and the weather was great, and traffic light.  Maybe next time May would be a good time to visit.  Lots of baby animals and spring flowers on the trails!  Anyone who's been there chime in with your suggestions in the comments section.


  1. Some great photos you took there especially the little ground squirrel

  2. You really got some terrific animal shots!