Yellowstone/Grand Teton Trip (picture intensive!)
After a lot of time looking at, sorting through, saving and uploading pictures I've managed to get them all uploaded (some really good, some not so but included for the documentation/narrative of the trip). I'm sure by the time that I complete this post, I'll have 20+ hours in looking through pics and typing this up but in the end, it will be worth it! So here we go for our week in Wyoming...
We arrived on Saturday night and found that most of Jackson, WY shuts down relatively early. Few restaurants server food much past 9PM and if they do they switch to a 'bar' menu. We first ate at Sidewinders in Jackson. The food 'bar' food (slice of pizza and their sidewinder pretzel) was delicious, especially the pretzel! Fresh baked and AMAZING!
Sundary started our first day of learning the area and we stayed in Grand Teton National Park after getting a late start. Fortunately the late start was what we needed as it was cloudy/foggy most mornings. By the time we got to Mormon Row near Antelope Flats the clouds and fog were starting to lift, albeit slowly. Here's our pics from Mormon Row:
The wife and I Grand Teton Turnout
Next we went for a hike on a trail around Jenny Lake to Hidden Falls. It was about a 3 mile hike and wasn't all that bad, at least for the one of us that has been going to the gym and is in 'mountain' shape still
iPhone pic on the drive through Grand Teton
Later in the day we made it by the Church of Transfiguration. This was one of my must sees on the trip
Later we saw this guy. It's a bit blurry but if you look close you'll see the elk to the left of the tree. He was MASSIVE and had a 2' drop tine! I just didn't have my SLR at my side like I should have (that was a learning lesson for me) but the wife snapped this
Monday we got a bit of an early start to make it to Lamar Valley at daylight...
We crossed Dunraven Pass at sunrise
Then ran across this guy that managed to hang tight for a nice silhouette photo
We managed to make to Lamar Valley right after sunrise (iPhone)
The bison were thick in Lamar Valley
I just like this old bull for some reason
Traffic must halt for a morning snack...
We left Lamar Valley for the Mammoth area. Along the way we ran into these gals
And this guy was in tow
Then we arrived at Mammoth. The first thing you see, other than all of the hot springs beside the town, were the handful of cow elk in the yards. More on that later; on to the hot springs first...
Wife and I (iPhone)
Looking back towards the town from atop one of the boardwalk lookouts
As I said, there were elk hanging out around town...
This guy went and blocked the dining hall for breakfast - Rangers wouldn't let you get anywhere close to him given it is currently the elk rut
He obviously had a long night with the ladies while the town was sleeping
We left Mammoth headed back toward Canyon Country and ran across these ladies
This gal let us get really close to capture this shot
And when it's cropped in to just her eye, it's pretty cool that 1) you can see the Jeep reflection in her eye and 2) you can actually see inside her eye
Some more of the Rocky Mountain Bighorn Ewes (never did see a ram)
Headed back to Canyon Country looking at Dunrave Pass - unfortunately I didn't realize there was trash on the lens causing artifacts in the overcast sky...
After lunch we climbed up to Mt. Washburn's summit. Started at 8,800' feet and climbed to 10,248'. The wife did it, but I'm not sure how happy she was with me afterwards (or the next mornings!)
We have to hike to the peak behind her, and beyond...
Some iPhone pics as we climb to the peak
A view back towards Hayden Valley - we're not to the summit yet...
Still hiking... (iPhone)
Size 11 boot - not sure how old that track is, but it can't be that old...!
Still working on getting to the top...
Still climbing - have to get to that peak and around and up a bit higher to the mountain you can't see
Just keep climbing, just keep climbing...
A [DSLR] pic from the summit. It was too windy and cold at the top to want to take the phone out of the pocket or get much more than this. I'd guess it was probably 28-30* with 40mph winds that would blow you, and the snow drifts, around a bit.
Later when we got to Hayden Valley, this is looking back to the top of Mt. Washburn with my 300mm DSLR lens
Hiking out we ran into a few white tailed ptarmigan. This is the only good pic that I got from that
After we got back down the mountain (2:45 hike up, 1:30 hike down) we went and sat at Hayden Valley where the grizzly and wolves were being seen recently. After about an hour sit I was the first to catch the grizzly coming out of the trees and everyone looked at me crazy as I was setting up the spotting scope, phoneskope and phone to get some pics. Unfortunately it was raining and I don't have many decent pics of this big bear
After that we decided to head back to the hotel as dark was closing in. But, along the way, the wife asked me about the dark spot on the side of one of the hills so I stopped. It was only this guy
But as we sit there, she spots a Cow/Calf elk pair up higher to the left. So I decided to start glassing the rest of the hills around. Ended up finding a bull elk and some cows that showed themselves momentarily before disappearing. I later found the lone bull leaving the cows shortly before the wife asked me what was up on top of that other hill...
At this point it's getting pretty dark. But there were 15 of the wolves from the Hayden Valley wolf pack, that I could count, sitting on the hill. Next thing I know the wife is telling me there are some elk running down low. Before we know it, the wolf pack is in hot pursuit of the 3 cows and a calf! They chased 3 of the 4 into the Yellowstone River and just say on the hill, maybe 150-200 yards from us, watching the elk. They never did catch them but it was a really cool experience to watch the wolves hunting the elk down!
When we got up on Tuesday, the weather was a bit worse and there was expected snow/rain so we took our time getting moving towards Yellowstone. We stopped for this foggy/cloudy mountain shot
However when we arrived at Yellowstone, the view changed drastically
The South entrance was closed until around noon so we took the time to take some pics along the Snake River close to the south gate while waiting on snow plows to finish clearing roads
The entrance finally opened around noon and we managed to get in and were greeted with scattered snow/sun throughout the day. We were first greeted by this group near Yellowstone Lake
This was a view at Yellowstone Lake. Sunny where we were, clear(ish) across the lake in the Absarokas and a bit snowy further north
Caught this heard crossing the Yellowstone River
The Yellowstone Grand Canyon
It was a bit snowy at the upper falls
We only did the Grand Canyon/Upper/Lower Falls as the snow was pretty bad. We decided to get out of there before they closed the roads and we were forced to do a 4 hour detour to get to where we were staying. On the way out, we stopped back by Hayden Valley, where the bear was the night before. A bit of a difference 19 hours later!
This is the same bison on the same knob that caused us to stop the night before and end up seeing the wolves.
The drive out was a bit...interesting...for a guy that's never driven in the snow before. It, honestly, wasn't as bad as I expected except when the person in fron slammed on the brakes to pull abruptly into a turnout!
Wednesday inside Yellowstone was a bit more of the same so we hit the National Elk Refuge while waiting on the park to open up. Started with the ducks. I need more practive with photographing the feathered variety. Most of these aren't that good...
Miller House inside the Elk Refuge looking back towards Grand Teton. Sunny in Jackson Hole, Snowy up north!
Found a few pronghorn while riding around
The Grand Tetons slowly clearing
We finally got into Yellowstone around Noon and went straight for Old Faithfull. A bit of a difficult thing to photograph with little to no contrast
The next thing I wanted to see was Grand Prismatic - a bit of a disappointment when the water is so hot and the air so cold...
A few other hot springs near there
Of course these guys are all over the park...
And the cause of Yellowstone traffic jams
On the way out we got a close up of this lady.
Then a few photos from the trip through Grand Teton back to the Moran Entrance
Then we found these guys at one of the pullouts. They were probably 1000+/- yards away
After we got moving back to the motel, we managed to spot an elk near the road. When I turned around, it wasn't just one, but two bulls! We got to watch for 15 or 20 minutes as they sparred with each other
Thursday was our last day and the weather was forcast to be garbage again so we decided to stick with just Grand Teton National Park.
I messed up earlier in the week when I didn't stop for the trumpeter swams when they were close
Everything inside Grand Teton was dusted from the night before, at the morning as we drove (while Jackson still only had rain). The Tetons were barely peaking through the clouds
The further north that we drove into Grand Teton, the worse it got
Although after we got through the Moran Entrance and close to Jackson Lake, the snow just turned to rain and quit for a little while
I drove up where I took the winding road / Aspen frame mountain photo hoping it would have been dusted in snow - but no luck as it was just rain through there being too close to the lake. After reaching that, we turned around and headed back out and stumbled across a new bull and his cows
Later while riding through the southern portion of the park we ended up finding this guy, with a park ranger close (crappy pic)
Then we found a couple others up in the trees eating berries(?) out of them
Finally, after dinner and just before dark, we found the one animal that we both wanted to see - an hour and a half before the end of the day
I tried my best to get back in front of him for better pictures but we were already behind him and he was hot on the trail of his girlfriend. While I was stopped trying to find him, we heard a couple of elk bugling. Much to my surprise, even the wife was excited about hearing the elk and we were in hot pursuit to get as close as possible to one of those two. We ended up listening to this guy bugle on the hill above us, maybe 100 yards at the closest, for the last 30 minutes of the day.
While the weather was cold and snowy, it was a great trip with the wife. We were both sad to see this view
Sadly it was back to home and work...
Restaurants we ate at while there were all good! Here are the ones that I can remember:
Mangy Moose (dinner - Thanks FamilyFisher)
Sidewinders (late dinner one night)
The Bunnery for breakfast (x2)
The Gun Barrel (dinner)
The Spur (dinner)
We either didn't eat lunch because of a late breakfast or we ate inside Yellowstone, which wasn't that big of a deal and not something that I remember to much.