Sunday, June 30, 2013

Laughing at myself (again)

In the Tetons I have seen moose, elk, deer, antelope, bison, a bald eagle, a fox, and various smaller critters.  In spite of the fact that I am getting farther back country than ever before, and going there often, I have yet to see any wolves or bears.

I heard that there was considerable grizzly activity in the Oxbow Bend/Willow Flats area, so off I went.  On getting there, this sign seemed to confirm the rumors.

I set up on the edge of the closed area and began searching with my binoculars.  Nothing.

I returned the next day and resumed my search.  After a while I spotted a brown shape waaaay off across the flats. (Dead center in the photo)

It was moving.  It was definitely... something.  I shot a number of photos, knowing that the distance was so great that even with my 500mm lens and the most sharpening that I could get out of photoshop, the odds of a clear photo were very low.  But it was still there, and still moving!  Was I finally seeing a grizzly?  The color looked right...

When I got back to the computer I blew up the image 400% and cleaned it up as much as possible.  I finally was able to identify it.

Here is a shot from much closer range. 

It is a Sandhill Crane.  Not a bear.  Oh well...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Where Have All The Flowers Gone...

Some are at the Tetons.

You can focus on individual blooms,

... or on fields spread with colors other than green.

Either way, though I am not a "flower" person, they are pretty.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Let's take a hike...

The Tetons are a relatively short, narrow range of peaks that rise precipitously from the plain in front of them.  Almost all the hikes here begin near the base of the peaks on the eastern edge.  The hike into Cascade Canyon differs in one small respect.  Instead of plains at the base, there is Jenny Lake, and instead of driving to a trailhead, you take a boat.
See that notch in the peaks?  That is Cascade Canyon - our destination.

After getting off the boat, we begin to climb.  The trail parallels the Cascade Creek.  Look again at the first photo.  The Cascade Creek flows along the bottom of Cascade Canyon, gathering rainfall runoff, spring flow and snow melt into the relatively flat bottom of the Canyon before coming to the Canyon's eastern terminus and the rather abrupt drop to Jenny Lake.  Dropping through this area, Cascade Creek is a roaring, frothing tumult of unrelenting white water.
Cascade Creek is the source of Hidden Falls, a waterfall about half way up to Inspiration Point.
Continuing the climb, about 3/4 of the way up to Inspiration Point is a rock outcrop.  Lots of hikers think this is the Point; it's not. 
The steepest part is ahead.  If you want to see Inspiration Point, check out my post from a year ago.  I had better light for photographing the view over Jenny Lake then.

The trail flattens out a bit after Inspiration Point as it moves into Cascade Canyon.

As the trail flattens, the streamfall becomes less violent and it begins to broaden and slow, presenting more tranquil and absolutely captivating views.
Notice how the slies to the west are getting dark?  Yep, we're going to get wet.

The dark skies and freshly wet vegetation gave the scenery an intensely green appearance.

Our turnaround is at a pair of waterfalls dropping off the cliff face to our south.  The larger drop on the left is probably 150' high or more.  To the right is a feathery falls that is almost invisible at this distance.
Stopping for a rest and a snack just behind Inspiration Point, I was not the only one nibbling.  A marmot, almost black in coloration, was doing a bit of browsing.
Thanks for sharing the walk with me.  For a final shot, here is a 3-D image of the Canyon.  Click on it to enlarge it.  Then look PAST it so that it forms a double image.  Adjust how far past it you are looking so that the two sides of the image merge or superimpose to create one center image.


Monday, June 10, 2013

What - again?

Yesterday I found myself once again on the trail to Taggert Lake.  It was a hot day, with a crystal clear sunny sky.  I repeated a few photos, knowing that clouds in the background had diminished the majesty of the peaks in earlier photos.

First, the stream crossing -

The warm weather meant increased snowmelt, which translated into high streamflow.  I like this shot much more than the first one I posted.  The peak that seems to be the source of the flow is much more present.

Beginning the uphill grind, about 1/3 of the way up, I met some folks coming down.  They stopped and visited briefly and the man mentioned that there was a lot of uphill to go.  I agreed, and said this would be my third time up there this spring.

He got a puzzled look on his face and asked, "why?"

This is why.

This is taken within a few feet of a shot I posted last time, yet it looks quite different.
Follow the yellow brick - er, um, dirt - road...
Or - "The long and winding road..."

 How could you look at this and be satisfied with seeing it only once?
 Flowers are different every day.
Light and wind make the lake different every time you see it.
Flowers in the foreground are like golden ornaments decorating the far views.
The views don't stop, and are different at each point along the trail.
How could once possibly be enough?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Close Encounters of the Best Kind

I have been hiking the shorter trails in the Tetons since the snow cleared enough to make that comfortable.  Although it is very much bear habitat, I have yet to see any bears.  I guess that is due in part to my following the recommended practice of making lots of noise on the trail.  That's ok - the trails are rewarding in themselves.

Phelps Lake's overlook is reached from a trailhead that leads to a place called Death Canyon.  I didn't go that far...

Taggert Lake Trail is shorter with less elevation change.  Near the start you cross a stream carrying the lake's outflow, with a Teton peak in the background.

Further along, you reach the trail's high point and a vista opens in front of you.

This morning, I woke, sat up and looked out my back window.  There were 5 people, about 100 feet away, looking back at me.  I turned and looked out the side window, to see a bull moose grazing along.

He passed within 8 feet of me as I sat at my dinette with the window open.

Every now and then, you have to stop and smell the flowers...

The bison herd can be seen almost every day.  They seem quite complacent about cars, but when they are this close, I do not get out...

If you look closely at this very young calf, you can see buttons where its horns have already started to grow.

Meanwhile, back in the campground, a very shy momma peers at me as I peer at her.

She is so cautious because she has two calves with her.  Several days of familiarizing her with me meant that I could get fairly close without disturbing her. 

As I shot photos with my big lens, she checked me out, then looked around, then did a bit of grooming.

I think she was just fine with having me there, but I didn't want to push it.  A few photos, and I backed away and left her in solitude.