Thursday, 5 June 2008

Grand Teton, Wyoming

What an amazing state Wyoming has turned out to be. I think it may possibly be my favourite state so far, despite the cold weather and snow. I didn’t really know anything about Wyoming, other than that we’d be visiting Yellowstone there.

But our first stop was at the Grand Teton national park. The Grand Teton’s have been voted the best national park so far by every member of our family. The scenery is second to none, and we have seen more wildlife here than anywhere else. You just can’t miss it. We could have stayed there for weeks!

In all we spent 4 days at the Teton’s. We drove all over the park and stopped at many places. The first two days were spent driving around and stopping at the various points of interest. We discovered Leigh Lake, a small lake next to the larger Jenny Lake, with the most amazingly clear water, surrounded by mountains. It was just like finding paradise. I lay on the bench there for an hour and just watched the kids playing, whilst Dan took a walk around the lake. Jimmie tried to paddle in the water but it was ice cold, whilst little Barney played with a mound of snow with his bucket and spade.

The highlight for us, apart from the spectacular scenery was the amount of wildlife wandering about the place. On our first night dry camping at one of the campgrounds, Dan and Barney went for a walk, just in the woods behind our RV. Much to their surprise, as they were walking through, they almost trod on a moose! The moose was napping in the woodland, and Dan didn’t see it laying there. The moose saw Dan just in time and sprung up onto his feet and headed into the woods. Dan ran in to get me so that Barney could try to show me the moose. And right enough, there it was grazing in the woodlands, just behind our RV. We were all so excited to discover the moose so accidentally.

We saw moose a few times after that, although they seemed to like hiding in the woodlands. Dan also saw a grizzly bear and her cubs running off into the wetlands, but they were too far away to get a good photo. On our drives through the park we regularly saw deer and antelope grazing in herds. We were fortunate enough to be driving along one road just as a herd of wild bison (or buffalo) were making their way across the road. They wandered across the road, totally oblivious to the cars, taking their time as if they owned land, which they probably do. The kids and I watched them through the RV window whilst Dan was more adventurous and went outside to take some photos. He was very careful as we’d read all the park warnings about how dangerous bison can be, and how fast they can run at a man. But it was amazing to see how many incredibly stupid tourists got so close to them in order to get the perfect photo. There were about 5 or 6 buffalo in this herd, and they looked at us through the RV window as they wandered past. Later we saw more herds grazing in other fields too.

One of the highlights for wee Barney was his discovery of a mother fox and her cubs. We were sitting in the RV sorting out some laundry, whilst Barney was intently staring out of the window for about 10 minutes. Suddenly he yelled “there’s a coyote!” so we all ran over to the window. His discovery wasn’t a coyote, but in fact a fox. She had come out of her burrow and was checking out the area for predators, I think. She ran to various corners of the field, looking out for wild animals (although she didn’t seem to be at all bothered by us humans). As we got outside for a closer look we discovered she had three babies in her burrow. Once she was sure the area was safe, she let the babies out for a play. Barney was just overjoyed at his discovery. The three cubs were a joy to watch. They were so playful, bounding over each other, clawing at each other, just enjoying the fresh air and chance for exercise. Eventually the mother put the cubs back inside while she went off to hunt. By this time quite a crowd of people had formed to see the foxes. Typically some people just can’t respect the space animals need, and tried to climb down the bank for better photos of the cubs. I get so cross when humans invade animal territory like that, all for the best photo. One man was obviously cross as well and called out “there’s always someone who has to take it too far!” Good for him. But our Barney was pleased that he had discovered the foxes, and no one else would have had the joy of seeing them if it wasn’t for him. It made his day.

Another spectacular moment for us was the discovery of an Elk in the woodlands. We were driving along when I spotted what looked just like one of Santa’s reindeer in the hedges. We parked up and Dan went to venture off for a peek at the animal. The Elk was as interested in us as we were in him. He raised his head and antlers as if he was king of the forest and posed for a few photos. He looked so majestic with his new fury antlers. Later in the year the Elk sharpen their antlers against trees, and they become less reindeer looking. But this Elk had huge big furry antlers, and with the sun behind him they shone like an antler halo! What an awesome sight.

The Teton area is truly one of the most beautiful places on the planet. We were there just as the snow was melting. The roads were snow free, but the mountains were still snow capped, and there were mounds of snow about the place. Our campsite still had a lot of snow in it, and the kids had a great time sledging down it on the body board they had bought in Florida. All three of them came in with soaked shoes and feet. It was strange to be able to play in snow, but to be in the sunshine at the star of summer. The area wasn’t at all cold, unless you buried your feet in the snow like my kids. The area had a lot of woodlands, wetlands, lakes, mountains and meadows. Every type of scenery one could wish for really. I think if we ever had to move to America, we would chose Wyoming for a home.

The rest of the Grand Teton photos are here.

8 comments:

anaelle said...

hi there im an art student in dublin. Im just browsing through blogs and this one caught my attention, i really like the photography, please keep blogging.

Dav DiDi said...

Nice pictures .... I enjoy it ...

Wils said...

Fabulous leg of the trip folk! Am really sensing your excitement here and yes - will add it to the list of possible stopovers.

Anonymous said...

We travel to the Yellowstone-Jackson Hole area 3 to 4 times a year. I agree it is one of the most beautiful places on earth. The Fall is even more beautiful then the Spring. It all seems to take on a golden hue about September. You really should think of writing a book when you return home, you write beautifully, and I think a book about your families experience and you photos would be a wonderful book.
Safe Travels,
Yvonne

Anonymous said...

Well said Yvonne. I've mentioned to Bree before that she should write a book. I'd be happy to caption the photos.

Davy.

Bree said...

Lol Davy, youd turn it into a comedy.

Anonymous said...

There is a book in this trip i tell ya!

If you need someone to design the layout, cover etc...

Neil.

Travis said...

Great blog, and that is quite the trip in 2008, it took you a little bit of everywhere! I love the photos. Thanks--