Wild West

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We woke up early Sunday morning after a light drizzle and fairly cold night not far from Jenny Lake at Grand Teton National Park.  The morning was crisp, and we were excited to go for a short hike and drive before heading home to get ready for another grand week of work.

I was not feeling particularly well, so we took a short drive to scope out the morning wildlife (we saw big old mule deer and some elk in the sagebrush).

We made a quick stop at Leigh Lake where we were absolutely awed by the steam rising off the still lake with the grand peaks reflecting in the water.  Even with the beginnings of a cold leaving us sniffling and tired, it was hard to be anything but awed by our surroundings.

We made a token hike around the corner of Jenny Lake before realizing that we really weren’t up to hiking.  We snapped a few pictures and noted that we’ll have to plan a longer hike on our next trip.

After a while, we drove to the edge of the park and headed back on the same trail on which we’d seen the bear yesterday.  The morning was dead still except for a few other people we passed as we all silently filed down the ridge, enjoying the fresh air and listening to the elk bugling on the edge of the woods.  Although we spotted some berry-filled bear scat that was so fresh it was surely only a few hours old, there weren’t too many creatures out.  Assured that we’d seen the best light and that there was no wildlife to be spotted, we happily stopped to chat with couples from England and from Texas, giving us a gentle reminder that people travel from all over the world to visit national parks that are literally an evening’s drive from our home.  For as much as we complain about the dry air and the sometimes arid landscape, we’re lucky to be surrounded with so many beautiful places.

On our way home, we decided to take Moose Wilson road through Teton Village (a much prettier road than the one connecting straight to Jackson Hole).  As we navigated the twisting forest road, we came upon a dozen or so cars – each with a photographer and tripod lined up on the shoulder of the road against a farmer’s fence.  It took us a rather long time to spot the bird they were watching, but soon a nice photographer lady whom we had met yesterday on the bear trail informed us that the adolescent bird was awaiting a food delivery from her mother which usually arrives around noon.  Although the mother bird never made the routine delivery to the befuddlement of all, we were glad to have stopped and met such friendly people.

Our camera batteries died on us on our drive home, which was almost heartbreaking based on the beautiful route we took.  As we drove through the Monte Cristo forest in Utah, we gasped as we rounded corner after corner with glowing yellow orange aspens.  Our drive home with no working camera was the most scenic part of our entire trip!  We were both quite surprised at how beautiful and even lush the forest felt being so close to home.  It will definitely have to be on our list of repeat drives for fall foliage.



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