About Simon and Sandra

We are a retired, married couple from the UK.

Day 17 – Las Vegas

Well, if you need something to help you sleep tonight, this post is probably just the ticket! It’s a little underwhelming compared to previous posts as we haven’t done much really.

Just as I predicted yesterday we’ve had a day of eating (breakfast) at the pool cafe, lounging round the pool, with occasional dipping/swimming to cool off, more eating (dinner) at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., cocktails at the Bellagio and then a little gambling!

Gosh, it was hot today, by 9.30 it was 90 and then rose to 101 degrees. We spent most of the time under our umbrella with dips in and out of the pool. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not complaining. From what I read and hear the weather home in the UK is rather poor, rain, rain and more rain so we need to appreciate the sun and heat while we can.

We met and talked with some very interesting people at the pool, lounging just like us and who will also be flying home tomorrow. A couple from Kingston in the UK and a couple from Australia.

This is one of the waitresses at the pool who kept us hydrated!

Tonight we decided to dine at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. (the restaurant dedicated to all things Forrest Gump, the film) as we missed it on our original stay here the week before last. We’ve dined at one of these before, in Tennessee, it was just the same. Si had his favourite coconut shrimp and I had the fish and chips. I’d been looking forward to that all day. Good job I only ordered the small portion!!

It’s a fun place to eat as they ask you questions about the film and it’s interesting to see just what you can remember …….. assuming you’ve seen it in the first place! 😀

Most of the drinks you order at the restaurant come with a free glass to take home. Yes, we now have two glasses to try and fit in the cases plus the other goodies we bought there too! Why oh why, can’t I ever just walk out passed the gift shop without buying anything!!?

The entrance to Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. on The Strip!

Si with his coconut shrimp

Sand with her small portion of fish and chips!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our drinks at Bubba Gump – these are the glasses we get to keep (well, they give us new ones!)

After dining we came back to the Petrossian Bar here at the Bellagio for cocktails before having a gamble. Mr. Monopoly seems to have gone on his own vacation as he was certainly absent tonight!!!

Si has a question ………………. when did it become the thing for men to wear their underwear under their swimming shorts????? It suddenly seems to be the thing to do, or it does here at least!

We’ve been coming to the Bellagio since it opened, 21 years ago, and for the first time we find ourselves in strange territory! They have dismantled the atrium exhibition and are setting up a new feature! What a shame for the people who come here and look forward to the display only to find it’s not there. These are the photos of what the new display will look like shortly, shame we won’t be here to enjoy it!

How the Bellagio Atrium will look when it’s finished!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh my, all this lazing, eating and drinking is no good for a girl or boy for that matter! I’m actually sat in bed writing this and I’ve just realised that I fell asleep over the laptop! 😂 😴

Dear, dear me! I need to be awake and on the ball as I’m now waiting for British Airways to say we can check-in on-line and I don’t want to get that wrong. 😱 (It’s okay, I’ve just completed check-in, all’s okay).

I think I’d better say “goodnight all” and get some shut-eye. See you tomorrow! 😀

PS: I told you I fell asleep, well I’ve just realised I’ve missed some of the photos off the post! Dear me, I think I need a holiday. Here are the ones I forgot to add!

In the restaurant there are all the popular sayings from the film. if you want your waiter to stop you turn over the red sign.

From Bubba Gump!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, on the way back from Bubba’s we came across another ‘big’ shoe just as we did on our first week here. Loving those shoes!

My goodness, now my alarm’s going off on my phone, it’s time to book my spin class for tomorrow week. How quickly things get back to normal and we are not even home yet!

Now I’m really off to sleep. Night all! 💤 Thanks for reading.

 

Day 16 – On the Road Again! Salt Lake City to Las Vegas

The day started sunny and 70 degrees. After a quick breakfast we were on the road by 8.45. It was a long 6.5 hour drive that was totally uneventful today! As we drove south the temperature started to rise and our ears started to pop. The temperature when we reached Vegas was 103 degrees and we were down from 7000 to 2000 feet above sea level.

So, the events of the day so far! This is going to be a very long read and as I can’t promise what I’ll have to post about tomorrow as it will probably be just a day of breakfast, sitting round the pool, eating again and gambling, you may want to read this post in two halves, today and tomorrow! 😂

Britney (sat nav), I always knew she was trouble from the moment she started speaking! Today of all days she decides she’s going to have a strop. At least three times during our trip she decided to have a sulk and stopped working. 😠 We actually knew the way anyway, straight down I15 South but that’s not the point! The good thing is that when we reached the Hertz Returns facility and were asked if everything had been okay, Si told them about Britney and they very kindly deducted the cost of the sat nav, $170 (£136) off the bill. Thank you very much Hertz. 😀

We arrived at the Bellagio rather earlier than planned. They’ve now introduced an on-line check-in system, so instead of standing in the queue of thousands (we can remember a time when one didn’t have to queue at all here to check-in but how things have changed!). This means that you tell them when you expect to arrive and they email you your room number and you just go to the Mobile Check-in Lounge, pick up your key and off you go to your room.

Bellagio Reception (check-in queue)

We told them we expected to arrive around 4.00 p.m. but instead arrived at 2.00 so our room wasn’t quite ready. So, what are two weary travellers meant to do? Um, let me think! 🤔Well, we could go to the Petrossian Bar and maybe have my favourite cheese plate and a cocktail or two ………… so that’s exactly what we did. We hadn’t been there twenty minutes when the email came through telling us our room number.

Sand enjoying the cheese plate …. again!

Si enjoying a beverage!

So, here we are in our delightful room overlooking the famous Strip and Bellagio fountains. As I’ve already packed the cases ready for our flight home there will be no unpacking to do. Just take out what we need for the next couple of days.

We had a very interesting conversation with the Bellman who has worked here since it opened 21 years ago. It was privately owned then by Steve Wynn but is now part of the MGM Group. We discussed how things have changed since the early days. It’s still a lovely hotel but there are one or two things that regular guests would notice. Hey ho, nothing ever stays the same.

Welcome to Arizona

FedEx times three!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, as today’s been a day rather short of adventure I’ve decided to fill the post with photos and musings, in no particular order!

  1. When we had dinner last night at The Texas Roadhouse in Salt Lake City (SLC) we chatted to the waiter and he asked us what we were doing there and we explained we were on our way to Las Vegas before returning home to the UK. It so happens that he and his girlfriend’s family are all flying to Las Vegas on Thursday and staying over the weekend. “After all” he said, “who goes to Vegas on a Wednesday?” We replied, “well we do actually!” to which he replied “yes, but I’m young!” What the ….! Cheeky blighter. All the same, he was rather charming. 😀
  2. The last 100 miles on the road to Vegas is very boring! 😴
  3. We are, once again, eight hours behind the UK (what happened today with regards to the voting of the next PM?) 😱
  4. Why doesn’t the UK have Express driving lanes? Here, if you have two or more people in the vehicle you can drive in a special fast lane.

    Just a train we saw along the way

  5. As we left SLC this morning I remembered the last time we were there (not on this visit but in 2013 …. our retirement trip) when we visited the Great Salt Lake and even though I was wearing a cap I was bitten very badly on the head by something that was never identified. The resulting bumps on my head were so bad that when we arrived at Yellowstone National Park I had to see a doctor who told me I couldn’t wash my hair for a week! What!? I have to say that at the end of the seven days my hair looked rather gorgeous and not at all as bad as I imagined it would. I will not mention here what happened next when

    Double Coca-Cola truck – double the fun!

    we arrived in the Tetons and was attributed to those bites on my head, but my nearest and dearest will know what I’m talking about and what Si lovingly refers to as “Sand’s meltdown!” 😂 We laugh about it now but it wasn’t funny at the time.

  6. Si noticed on our drive today the various advertisements for different hospitals and how they said there was only a six-minute waiting time for Accident and Emergency. Wow, makes you kind of envious!

    Saw this on the back of a lorry!

  7. Yesterday, I lost an item of ‘ladies apparel’, couldn’t find the particular item anywhere and was convinced I’d either left it behind somewhere or someone had taken a fancy to it. Well, pleased to say I found it this morning tucked away in the small spare suitcase I brought with us specifically for all those goodies I didn’t intend to buy…… but did!!!
  8. We saw a lighthouse on the side of the highway today and it was my intention to post a pic but the photographer was flying along so fast that the photographer’s assistant only managed to photograph half of it. So, you won’t be seeing that little treat this evening!
  9. We passed by a town called Panguitch today and reminisced how we stayed their during our 2013 trip. We had booked a lovely little B&B where check-in was 3 p.m. We arrived at 2.50 p.m. and the hostess asked us to “wait in the parlour as you are ten minutes early.” Um, you can imagine what we thought about that. I have to say that it turned out to be a rather lovely place to spend a few days and the hostess was a very pleasant lady.

A rather bad ‘Welcome to Nevada’ sign but a good pic of our car mirror!

The Trading Post of yesteryear!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One last thing I thought we should share with you all, just in case anyone’s planning a long road trip in the future, are our ‘Rules of the Road’ (or our ‘must haves’ in the car) that have served us well for many a year! In no particular order:

  1. Snacks (must always includes Cheetos)
  2. Drinks (water and soft)
  3. Hand wipes
  4. Trash bag
  5. Lead for iPhone so you can play music

    Now that’s what you call an oil tanker – two together!

  6. Note pad and pen (because there’s always a time when you will say “remind me” and then you get to your destination and can’t remember what the “remind me” was for!
  7. Headache pills (the long trips can be stressful!)
  8. Lip balm for the lady and gent, if he’s inclined
  9. Nail file because all the lifting of the cases in and out of the car always results in broken nails for someone
  10. Always do hourly exercises to keep the blood flowing. This can include butt clenching, foot wiggling and shoulder lifts – 20 reps of each
  11. Always acknowledge the Cracker Barrel and Chick-fil-A signs with arms raised to the

    Cracker Barrel

    heavens and saying their names out loud. Cracker Barrel as it’s one of my ‘on the road’ places to pop in and have a meal. Good ol’ American fare, and very popular and Chick-fil-A (we’ve never eaten there) but, the founder, Truett Cathy (1921-2014), seems as though he was a great employer. He made the decision to close on Sundays in 1946 when he opened his first restaurant in Hapeville, Georgia. Having worked seven days a week in restaurants open 24 hours, Truett saw the importance of closing on Sundays so that he and his employees

    Chick-fil-A

    could set aside one day to rest and worship if they choose – a practice they uphold today.

Having had the cheese plate earlier I don’t think we’ll be eating again tonight so instead, perhaps a visit to Mr. Monopoly is in order. I received a message this morning from the Postcode Lottery to say we had won £20 so perhaps luck is with us today! Fingers crossed.🤞😉

As always, thanks for reading! 😀

 

Day 15 – On the Road Again! The Tetons to Salt Lake City

So, today we’ve been ‘back on the road again!’ The day started sunny and warm, about 70 degrees and the trip was uneventful until we reached about the half-way point and the black clouds rolled in and ‘boom’, very heavy rain. I’m pleased to say it didn’t last long and were soon enjoying the sunshine again. 🌞 The trip took about 4 hrs 30 minutes, so not too bad and once we had checked-in to the hotel (it’s the same one we stayed at on our trip north to the Tetons) we went and enjoyed a meal, once again at The Texas Road House with the fantastic buttery rolls.

One thing that rather puzzled us was when we ordered our drinks and were asked for proof of age!! What, I didn’t know we looked so young. 😂 Our waiter told us it’s because Utah has got the strictest drinking laws and because they are just a restaurant rather then a pub then they have to ask for proof of age. However, you’ll remember we went into the same restaurant last week and no one asked us then for proof of age! Perhaps our stay in the Teton range has made us look younger!!!!!!

As we were driving along today I asked Si what his favourite food had been during our stay in the Tetons. He said he had liked everything but for me, I will always remember the Tetons for the petite bison fillet with huckleberry sauce ………… more than fabulous, hevenly!  I wonder if I can buy that in the UK, I need to check out Amazon!! 😉

Here are a few photos of things we saw today!

As we left Dornans this morning the Coca-Cola lorry pulled up. I just love to see these, we don’t see them very often, if at all, in the UK.

The Coca-Cola lorry

Not even going to comment on this sign I saw in a ‘facility’ in Jackson!

Not a lot to say really!

Saw this RV and immediately thought of one of our favourite songs!

Four Winds!

This video, courtesy of YouTube, is not of the best quality, but the tune’s still great! Four Strong Winds sung by Neil Young and Friends. Sing along if you know the song!  La, la, la, la. 🎸

As we flew along the road in Etna, Stary Valley we saw this wonderful small cabin on the side of the road. I just knew I had to take a better look so we did a U turn in the road and went back. Sadly it wasn’t open but I’ve managed to find out some of the history, you know I love a little piece of history! So …………… here’s today’s lesson!

The Baker Cabin

The Baker Cabin

Anna Eliza Telford was born in Bountiful, Davis County, Utah, on 7 August 1856, the daughter of John Dodds Telford and Sarah Matilda Coltrin. She married Alonzo Baker on 29 January 1876. They first made their home in Richmond, Cache County, Utah, where they had six children: Harriet May, William Alonzo, Anna Eliza, Sarah Lavinia, Elcie Camelia, and John Lorenzo.

They moved to Star Valley, Wyoming, in the spring of 1888. Son George Tyler was born in May 1888 after they got to Star Valley. They spent the winter in a tent with a lean-to which was an overturned wagon box. In the spring of 1889, Alonzo Baker and other family members contracted to build a roadbed for the railroad south of Deer Lodge, Montana. The oldest boy William, who was 10 years old, went along to help.

Meanwhile, Anna Eliza, who has spent the harsh winter in the tent and wagon box, and vowed not to do it again, decided to build her own home. She and her oldest daughter May, apparently went to Prater Canyon to get logs. This was the nearest place to get logs. She brought the logs out, trimmed them, and carved the notches so the logs would fit together snugly. Her father was a carpenter and she must have learned carpentry from watching him. The home she built was 16 ft by 30 ft and had two rooms. It was strong enough to last more than a century. Long after the family had abandoned the home, it stood while it was used for storage, for animal shelters and other uses. It was only when the last owner was about to tear it down for firewood that it was revealed as the sturdy pioneer home that it was. It was relocated to Etna where it now stands as the oldest home in Star Valley. It is identified as the Baker Cabin. It was built by a pioneer woman with the help of a 13 year old girl and several small children.

Her daughter May went to Logan in the fall of 1889 to go to school. She contracted diptheria and died at the age of 13. Anna had four more children: Ruby Eleanor, Eather Cyral, Leroy, Mary Vella and James Telford. Anna died two days after the birth of her last child, James Telford.

Alonzo Baker remarried in 1902 and subsequently moved to California with his family.

What a great story that is! To read more on this story and to see one of Anna Eliza and Alfonso’s grandchildren, Lloyd Baker, who was actually born in the cabin, then just click on Lloyd Baker’s name above.

Meanwhile further along the road ………… some creatures just have no respect! These cows thought it was okay to walk on the road.

Cows blocking our path!

Welcome to Idaho

We thought this cloud looked like a laughing man!

Can you see the laughing man?

 

 

 

 

 

We just knew the rain was gonna fall!

Here comes the rain!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reminded us of the spin classes I’m missing and Si his road cycling back home!

Reminded us of home!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We drove past this trailer pretty quickly, it didn’t look very safe!

Hay trailer – it looked a little unsafe!

 

 

 

 

 

 

and finally ………………….

Welcome to Utah and Salt Lake City!

Tomorrow we have a long six-hour drive back to Las Vegas to return our ‘trusty steed’ and Britney (sat nav) to their rightful owners, then it’s in a cab and back to the Bellagio for our last couple of days before our flight on Thursday. ✈️

Hope you’ll join us again tomorrow to see what interesting sights we see along the way!

As always, thanks for joining us along our ‘holiday road!’ More tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

 

Day 14 – Out Hiking Again!

As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, it was our intention today to hike to Taggart Lake and that’s just what we did! We hiked 5.5 miles in 3 hrs 47 minutes. It was rocky, mountainous with some steep gradients.

Sand ready to hike up to Taggart Lake

The natural lake is located at the terminus of Avalanche Canyon. There are a number of hiking trails can be found near the lake including a three miles roundtrip hike that commences from the trailhead parking area The lake is approximately one mile south of Bradley Lake reckoned by trail distance. A 2005 study of the water quality of the lakes in Grand Teton National Park indicated that the lakes in the park were still considered pristine and that they had not been impacted by air or water pollution.

Here are two videos of Taggart Stream in full flow from snow melt. The second one shows the photographer at work and yes, that’s my thumb too! 😉

We’ve visited Taggart Lake before and it was still as beautiful as we remembered it. The last time we visited in 2014 we were greeted on the trail by rather a lot of deep snow but not this time, the trail was clear.

We were glad we remembered to take our poles today, they certainly helped with the steep inclines.

We are told to be ‘Bear Aware’ and we like to think that we are. This morning, as we walked through a particularly dense area of trail I looked behind me and around, saw nothing, then suddenly seconds later, a dark shadow appeared from behind me, I jumped out of my skin, turned round not knowing what to expect and a young woman was behind me! She apologised for making me jump …… I would much rather she had made some kind of noise so that I knew she was there!! 😱 That’s one more of my nine lives gone! 😂

Taggart Lake

We met two very nice young ladies, friends from Wisconsin, who are on a two-week holiday having recently graduated. They are camping! How brave the young are with the possibility of bears comin’ a knockin’ in the night! One of them will be studying political science when she goes to college so she was very aware of UK politics and Brexit. We spent a very interesting 20 minutes chatting with them.

Si at Taggart Lake

Sand at Taggart Lake

 

We then decided to hike further on to the glacially formed Bradley Lake which is less than one and a half miles north of Taggart Lake. While still walking along by Taggart Lake we came across two young people who asked if we would take a photo of them. The photographer duly obliged and then the four of us walked the trail to Bradley Lake together.

The two young people were Dottie and Nate (sister and brother) from Texas. We spent the next 45 minutes or so in very pleasant conversation talking about all kinds of things. They are on holiday enjoying time together before Nate, who has just graduated, goes off to Florida to join the Navy. His ambition is to become a Navy pilot (he already has his own private pilot’s licence) and once Dottie graduates, her ambition is to become a Veterinarian, possibly with exotic animals.

Dottie and Nate

I told them I would mention them in the blog today. So, a big ‘shout-out’ to Dottie and Nate. It was our pleasure to spend time with you today. You made our walk to Bradley Lake a pleasurable experience. Hope you made it to Jenny Lake okay. Have a safe onward journey.

Just a few photos of other things we saw on the way up and down from Taggart Lake today.

Saw this Swallowtail Butterfly sitting on a Balsamroot on the hike

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baalsamroot

Butterfly that landed on man’s hand, flew away and came back!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sand on the hike with Taggart Lake in the distance

Sadly, this is our last full day in the Tetons so it’s time to pack up once again before we leave for Salt Lake City tomorrow, where we will overnight before driving back to Las Vegas for our final few days, before flying back to good ol’ Blighty on Thursday.

Our blog tomorrow will be all about our road trip to Salt Lake City. Not quite like being in  the Tetons but I’ll try and make it as interesting as possible! 😀

Thanks for reading folks. Back tomorrow!

Day 13 – Out Hiking!

So today we decided to ‘get back on the road’ and do some hiking. We started off at Jenny Lake to view Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. Covering roughly 1191 acres, glacially-carved Jenny Lake is the second largest lake in the Grand Tetons. At 423 feet it’s also one of the deepest. The lake was named for a Shoshone Indian named Jenny who assisted with camp logistics during the Hayden Geological Survey of 1872. Nearby Leigh Lake is named for her husband, Richard “Beaver Dick” Leigh, an itinerant trapper and early tour guide who helped guide the Hayden Expedition through the area. In 1876 Jenny and their six children died of smallpox. Jenny Lake and Leigh Lake are either side of String Lake so they do in fact remain joined together forever. How romantic! 😢

The easiest way to access Hidden Falls is by way of the Jenny Lake boat shuttle to the entrance of Cascade Canyon. From there it is a 1.2 mile roundtrip hike or another option is to hike 5.2 miles roundtrip from South Jenny Lake on the Jenny Lake Trail. During the summer vacation period, Hidden Falls is one of the busiest tourist attractions in Grand Teton National Park.

Jenny Lake Ferry

We started to see the water from Hidden Falls as soon as we started on the trail. The noise and the speed of the water was truly amazing. It’s basically snow melt from up in the mountains. The captain of our ferry was telling us that further up the mountain there is still waist-high snow! We thought that we had better give that hike a miss today.

Sand on hike to Hidden Falls

San and Si at Hidden Falls

We then walked on to Lower Inspiration Point. This granite-carved segment of trail that gains access to Inspiration Point was built by Civilian Conservation Corps workers in the 1930s.

Sand and Si at Inspiration Point

We also did a short hikes along Leigh Lake and then String Lake. Both very beautiful areas.

String Lake

On the way back down we saw this American Robin and loads of Balsam Root. Balsam Root is a big favourite with bears so always best to be alert when there’s a lot of that around!

An American Robin

Balsamroot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we left we saw a ranger with moose and elk horns and two bear pelts! We went over to see what it was all about and he told us what happened to the two bears, one black and one grizzly. The poor grizzly was knocked down and killed by a car driving too fast. We’ve noticed here that there is often no patience by car drivers. The speed limits go from 25 to 55 but mostly people want to travel at 55 with no thought of the animals that can suddenly cross the road.

The poor black bear, a mother of two cubs, became attached to humans after they starting feeding her and the cubs and eventually she had to be euthanised and the cubs went off to sanctuaries. When they first arrived they refused bear ‘food’ instead preferring to eat apples from people’s hands and then lick them. How sad it is we can’t train humans to be more thoughtful of wildlife.

Si was amazed when he lifted up the moose horns as they were so heavy. Each spring, usually in April, antler bone begins to grow inside a nourishing skin covering on the moose’s head, called velvet due to its short, soft hairs. Antlers are one of the fastest-growing tissues of an animal, and can grow up to eight inches of antler growth in a span of nine days and can weigh as much as 60 pounds! Around September, the velvet will shed and the antler bone hardens. As males age, their antlers grow in bigger each year.

Bear pelt head!

Bear pelt claws!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Si with moose horns!

While we were up at Lower Inspiration Point a family were having a snack when a Chipmunk suddenly appeared, quite frantic, and was trying to get at the food. He had obviously been fed by humans in the past too.

Chipmunk at Inspiration point

To finish off the day we drove the very bendy road to Signal Mountain. It is an isolated summit standing 7,720 feet above sea level. The next closest higher summit is more than 10 miles away, and this isolation provides sweeping views of the Teton Range, much of the northern Jackson Hole area as well as the Snake River. Though located adjacent to the Tetons, Signal Mountain was not formed in the same manner or period. The mountain originally was formed by volcanic ashfall from one of the eruptions of the Yellowstone hotspot. The peak is also partially a glacial moraine formed by a receding glacier that came south out of the Yellowstone icecap. This same glacier also created neighbouring Jackson Lake.

There were a couple of things I forgot to mention yesterday ……. the first thing is that we’ve noticed on this trip particularly is young boys on walkie-talkies! It seems families have decided that that is a great way of keeping track of their youngsters rather than by mobile phones!

The second was …………….. mosquitoes! When we went to Oxbow Bend at sunset last night, they were swarming. It was a truly horrible experience for the photographer ……………… he insisted that his assistant stay in the car, so that’s just what she did!!😂 Here’s another photo of our evening visit yesterday to Schwabacher Landing.

Oxbow Bend at sunset

 

Schwabacher Landing in the evening

Also, on our Eco Tour I told you about the herd of bison who crossed the road right in front of us. Well, I’ve managed to load a small video of the event. Sadly, I wasn’t able to load the full video as it was too long so you only a small portion of the whole herd. Still, better than none at all I guess!

It’s been a while since we’ve had a history lesson so here’s one now on the American Bison courtesy of The Nature Conservancy‘s ‘Bison History and Facts’.

Great herds of bison once roamed North America between the Appalachian Mountains on the east and the Rockies on the west. It is estimated that around 30 million bison roamed the continent when Columbus landed. The herds were so large that the bison became a symbol of the seemingly endless resources of the continent.

In the late 1800s, the bison were almost entirely eliminated, with less than 1,000 individuals left at the lowest point. A 1905 a census indicated there were 835 wild bison and 256 bison in captivity at that time. Sanctuaries, zoos, and parks were safe havens for bison and helped to increase their numbers. The first national preserve for bison was founded in 1907 near Cache, OK and later became the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Reserve. Subsequent game laws and other protective measures allowed the surviving bison to live and multiply.

Today their numbers have rebounded to about 350,000 – only about 1% of their original numbers, but enough so that the bison are no longer in danger of extinction. About 15,000 reside on public lands in the US, the rest are private herds, such as those maintained by The Nature Conservancy.

Historically, the bison’s most important predators were wolves. Wolves constantly followed the large herds, culling the old, incapacitated, and very young animals. Even solitary adult bulls were not immune to attack. To a lesser extent, native human Americans were predators of the bison. Grizzlies occasionally killed bison, and mountain lions and coyotes were also occasional opportunistic predators of young calves.

But one of the primary killers, before the slaughter by humans in the late 1800s, were iced-over rivers. Thousands of bison drowned, particularly in the northern U.S., when the enormous weight of crossing herds caused the ice to give way.

Here ends the lesson for today!

For dinner tonight we decided to ‘stay local’ and ate here at Dornans at the Chuckwagon Grill. Good ol’ American food!  A slightly different setting to what we’ve been used to but look at that view! The food was good too. It only stays open until 9 p.m. and each evening a country singer entertains the diners. Si had his usual ribs and as I wasn’t particularly hungry I just had the mac ‘n cheese.

View from the Grill

 

 

 

At the Chuckwagon Grill with the entertainer in the background

The food!

 

 

 

Tomorrow is our last full day here in Jackson 😢so it’s our intention to hike to Taggart Lake. We’ve been there before but it is so beautiful it deserves another visit!

Once again thanks for reading and your comments. More tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 12 – Day of Leisure plus Shopping!

After the past few hectic days we decided today should be a leisurely one so we set off to Jackson to take a look around the shops and have lunch. It was about 75 degrees and very pleasant. It was a chance to leave off the hiking gear and get back into shorts and t-shirts.

Jackson still has that old cowboy feel about. Lots of lovely shops, great eateries and free parking!

Stagecoach in Jackson

We managed to buy quite a few things! Well, when the shops are so lovely it seems rude not to.

The boardwalk in Jackson

We went into one store the sun was ablaze, when we came out it was bucketing down. Of course, we’d left our wet coats and hats in the car. I asked Si as we drove into Jackson if he’s checked the weather forecast but of course he hadn’t! So, we made a quick dash, along with most of the other visitors to the nearest eatery which was the Roadhouse Brewing Company, a pub/eatery. We couldn’t have chosen anywhere better. Great atmosphere, with about eight TV screens all showing something different. There’s an upstairs terrace to sit out on and eat but unfortunately due to the rain, everyone came running inside so it was quite packed.

Roadhouse Brewing Company

Roadhouse Brewing Company

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had the Petite Bison Fillet, again, with huckleberry sauce and caramelised carrots (fabulous) and Si had the Bovine & Swine Bratwurst, bovine and swine garlic knackwurst, sauerkraut, stour mustard and Hoagie Roll. He said that was fabulous too. For dessert we ordered the Strawberry Bunuelos consisting of strawberries, whipped cream, vanilla ice cream and fried Bunuelos but sadly the Bunuelos (fried dough balls) were stale so we couldn’t have them! Instead we were offered Ice Cream Sandwiches that consisted of ice cream sandwiched between two biscuits and rolled in hundreds and thousands. I had the huckleberry ice-cream (I’m very heavily into anything huckleberry at the moment!) and Si had the salted caramel. They were both delicious and as our original choice was not available we didn’t have to pay for them either!

Sand on Jackson Town Square

There were some beautiful bronze statues on show. Here are a few:

This is probably the closest Si will get to a bear!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Si with Mark Twain and friends!

Sand sitting with the Wright Brothers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This evening we’ve been back to Schwabacher Landing to see if we could see any wildlife and to photograph it in different light. We did see a beaver but that’s all. The view was very different this afternoon to the morning view. The morning view was much better.

Beaver at Schwabacher Landing

We also went back to Oxbow Bend again to photograph it as the sun sets. Here’s just one of the photos Si took, I’ll post the rest tomorrow.

On the way back we nearly had our closest encounter with a bear yet! As we were driving past a wooded area a fast moving bear ran behind our car. We turned around and went back but he had fled!

As it’s been a slow day I thought I’d post a few photos of our current abode …..

Our des res!

Our cabin, Willow

Spur Ranch sign (that’s the name of where we are staying!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dornans Reception

When I’ve finished the post for the day and publish it, I always manage to think of something I missed off. I did that with yesterday’s post. I meant to say that here in the Tetons, they get approximately 500 inches of snow in the winter! ❄️😱Thought that was quite an interesting fact!

Hope you’ll join us again tomorrow for our next adventure. We are hiking round Jenny Lake.

 

 

 

Day 11 – Our Eco Wildlife Adventure! (Part 2)

Hi everyone, the photographer’s assistant is up bright and bushy tailed this morning (Friday). All these early starts and long days are playing havoc with these old bones! Mind you, I don’t think it helps that we up at 7000 feet above sea level either! 😂😉

So, to continue yesterday’s (Thursday) activities:

We were up early again this morning and in Jackson by 6.00 a.m., the temperature was a balmy 59 degrees, to meet our guide for the day, Kirk, for the Eco Tour Wildlife Adventure here in Teton National Park. There were just seven of us, including Kirk, the other four people were all from New Jersey, USA. They were all lovely travelling companions and we had a great day. Kirk bought breakfast, snacks, drinks (including tea and coffee) and a lovely picnic lunch with sandwiches that had been specially made to our order, crisps, pasta and fruit and chocolate brownies. We were all well catered for. Binoculars and spotting scopes were also provided and definitely added a further dimension to our day. We had never used scopes before but wow they are well worth the cost, the ones we were using cost about $3000 (£2400)!

The Eco Tour Bus

It was an early start as that’s the best time of day to catch sight of all the wildlife, they mostly go to ground later as it becomes warmer. We were not disappointed and even Kirk was amazed at how many species we were able to cross off our list so quickly. We saw two young moose playing together, bison, pronghorns, elk including a baby newly born and still being cleaned by its mother, a coyote, a fox with a huge bushy tail looking for food (Kirk thought it would have had cubs nearby) a brown bear and two grizzly bears (they were two-year old twins) who had recently been ‘put out’ by their mother (so we were reliably informed by the Ranger). That happens so that Mum can have more babies without having to look after her previous cubs. The difference between a brown bear and a grizzly is that the grizzly has a hump on its back!

Young Moose playing!

Pronghorn

Fox

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, that’s a grizzly in the distance!

While we were all stood on the side of the road admiring the bears there was one car with a young boy sat inside with his earbuds in playing on his phone!!!!  I made a comment (of course!) and his mother heard me and turned to him and asked him why he wasn’t outside and he just shrugged!! What can you say!?

It’s very obvious when there’s wildlife nearby as the road becomes a car park! People literally stop in the middle of the road get out of their cars, often leaving the doors open, so that they can catch a glimpse of whatever animal is nearby! The park Rangers are always on the look out for sightings of bears as they know just what that means and are on hand to control the crowds, especially those who do stupid things like trying to get up close for the ‘one great photo’.

Moose Pond

We stopped for lunch earlier than normal, about 11.30, as we had all been up since about 5.00 and also some rain was forecast for early afternoon. Kirk took us to a great spot right on the Snake River, Jackson Lake. It was beautiful. In fact the whole of the Tetons is the most wonderful place to be with magnificent views and crystal clear rivers and lakes. In the winter there’s great skiing too, although we’ve never tried that and looking at some of the slopes I don’t think we’ll be trying that anytime soon! 😱

Jackson Lake

San and Si at Jackson Lake Lodge

After lunch we went onto one of the backroads that most tourists wouldn’t know was there. It was a rather bumpy ride but well worth it as when we rounded one corner a herd of bison were just coming down a hill and across the road in front of us to a new grazing pasture. It was amazing to witness. Luckily, the roof of the bus opened up and we could stand and watch it all happening without being in danger of attack. I have a video to post of this but at the moment it’s ‘not playing ball’ so I’ll have to add that later but in the meantime I do have one of a bear!

 

 

Bison Herd on the move!

It’s great to stand and watch the wildlife living their natural lives. It’s difficult to take photographs, unless you have a huge lens, that really capture the magic of it as we are not allowed to get too close but I hope these allow you to enjoy what we are enjoying!

The tour was supposed to end at 2.00 but unfortunately on the way back we encountered road works (there’s always roadworks somewhere!) and we queued for 45 minutes. By this time we were all rather weary after a fantastic day. Kirk was an excellent tour guide, so knowledgable about the Tetons and how they were formed, flora and fauna and the eco system.

Lupins

San and Kirk out tour guide at the end of the trip

We are still trying to find the name of this beautiful butterfly!

While the Teton Range dominates the landscape, it is the interplay of mountains, faults, glaciers, forests, rivers, lakes, wetlands, and geologic features that create the overal grandeur of Grand Teton National Park. Taken individually, each feature is fascinating and worthy of protection, but when combined as they are in Grand Teton, they create a mosaic that is inspiring beyond compare.

Oh, while I think of it, I need to make a correction about a photo I put on yesterday. I told you about the prairie dogs under the cabins well, Kirk corrected us, they are in fact uinta ground squirrels. In our defence they look very similar just one is bigger than the other!

So ends another great day here in the Tetons.

Thanks for taking the time to read our blog and for your comments.