Day 19 – London Heathrow and Home!

So, here we are, it’s Friday and we are home once again! 🏡

We left the hotel at 5.00 p.m., got a taxi 🚕to the airport and once again we had a really friendly driver who moved to Las Vegas from Los Angeles about nine years ago. He felt LA had just gotten too busy. He was originally from Ukraine and told us the most amazing story of how he and his family left and began a new live in the US.

The roads to the airport were very busy so it took longer than anticipated but we still arrived in good time to drop (not literally, they were much too heavy for that) our bags and then went off to wait in the lounge.

Both our bags were overweight, just as I knew they would be, mine 4kgs and Si’s by 3kgs. I don’t know how that happened, no really!, because I had most of our purchases in my small carry-on suitcase and I even made a list of what extras things we’d packed in the large suitcases and none of it seemed to weigh that heavy! Anyway, the young lady at the bag drop didn’t make any comment, she just put ‘Heavy’ orange stickers on both and let them pass right on to the conveyor belt. Bless! 🧳

We went through Security and once again, Si was body-searched! I don’t know, I think he must look shifty or something. Then, they wanted me to open my small carry-on suitcase. I  duly obliged and it turns out they didn’t like the way I had packed the charger leads! 😦

Our flight was good, apart from a little turbulence, but nothing to worry about ……….. well, I suppose something to worry about if you’re a nervous flyer!! 😱

The inbound flight from Heathrow to Vegas actually arrived early and we thought to ourselves, that that boded well for getting away on time …………. no, no, no, why would we think that, we know better!

They say it all happens in Vegas and that is so true. The inbound flight arrived and before anyone started disembarking along came five policemen 👮‍♀️👮‍♀️👮‍♀️👮‍♀️👮‍♀️ who proceeded to board. They were on the plane quite a while before two of them came off escorting a young gentlemen in handcuffs!!! 😱 Well, you can imagine what happened, everyone waiting in the lounge were just staring in disbelief. Then two more officers escorted two young women off, not in handcuffs though. We all assumed they must be the travelling companions of the arrested.

We never got to find out what happened. We did ask one of the stewards on our flight but he had heard nothing about the incident. What! You’d think that the British Airways (BA) staff would at least talk to each other.

So, in the end we were 40 minutes late leaving but because of good tail winds the flight back to Blighty only took 9.5 hours instead of the usual 10. Apart from the turbulence it was uneventful ………… or at least I think it was, I was asleep 😴 for about seven of those hours. Poor old Si, as usual, was wide awake the whole flight back. I’d booked us two great seats in the front of our section of the plane, next to the emergency exit, so we were able to stretch right out.

BA are celebrating 100 years this year and one of the things they are selling are small jars of Marmite with a special label on the front. I didn’t realise but you cannot take the large jars of Marmite into the US but these are only 70g so that size is okay! I had wanted to buy some on our flight out to Las Vegas, I thought it would be nice to have some on my toast once we were at Dornans, but they couldn’t get the Duty Free trolley unlocked so I had to wait until today.

For those who do not know what Marmite is, it is made from yeast extract, a by-product of  brewing beer. It’s a sticky, dark brown food paste with a distinctive, powerful flavour, which is extremely salty. This distinctive taste is represented in the marketing slogan: “Love it or hate it.” Such is its prominence in our popular culture that the product’s name is often used as a metaphor for something that is an acquired taste or tends to polarise opinions. When talking to people who have never been to Las Vegas I always say it’ss like Marmite, you either love it or hate it!

BA Marmite

So, today ends another great holiday. 😢 We’ve had a fabulous time, seen so many beautiful things and met some very friendly and interesting people.

We drove 2041 miles in our ‘trusty steed’, low mileage for us I guess!

We would like to thank you all for journeying with us down our ‘holiday road’ and for all the comments you posted, 👏 they really are appreciated and we look forward to sharing our next ‘adventure’ with you all.

We usually finish with a little music so here’s a song by the lovely Alison Krauss and the Jerry Douglas Band that will get your feet tapping! I’ve also just found another video of Four Strong Winds by Neil Young. The scenery of Alberta, Canada is so beautiful I thought it was worth sharing with you.

So, for now, as usual it’s ………. “goodbye again!”

arrivederci, adeus, hejdå, 再见, zoi geen, zai jian, tot ziens, au revoir, tschüss, shalom, ciao, じゃね, anyeonghi gasyeo, poka/Пока, adios, hejdå, tạm biệt, vΘleft, farvel, ya sas, tókša akhé

and see you all next time. Bye! 👋 🇬🇧 🇺🇸

Si and Sand in the Grand Tetons National Park

 

 

Day 18 – Las Vegas to London Heathrow!

Well, I’m wide awake this morning!

The first thing I did was to email the car company who will be collecting us from Heathrow. If you remember on the day they were supposed to collect us from home to take us to Heathrow they had a computer problem and no-one turned up until we contacted them. I’m pleased to confirm we are on their books for tomorrow, Friday, afternoon. 🚗

Then I double-checked that our room was down for late check-out. I originally booked to leave at 3.00 p.m. but when I spoke to Customer Services they said we could extend until 6.00 p.m. if we wished for just an extra $34, well it seemed rude not to accept. So, we have a comfy place to eek out some of the waiting time instead of the hard chairs at the airport. Our plan is to leave here about 5.00 p.m., we are already checked in so it should just be a case of dropping off the bags ………………. and paying the excess charges. I just know the bags are going to be overweight! Hey ho! 🧳

We had breakfast at the pool cafe again and our waiter was the same guy we had when we first arrived. He remembered us (is that a good or a bad thing!?) and when we ordered two mimosas (thought it would be a nice end to the holiday!) he actually paid for them! How kind was that!

Our two Mimosas!

One funny thing happened at breakfast. The pool cafe is open-air so there are always a few sparrows flying around looking for their own breakfast. Well, Si was sat there enjoying his breakfast when something appeared overhead and hit him on his head! He was so shocked but boy was it funny. It was a single French fry that a little sparrow had picked up but it was so heavy he dropped it just as he flew past Si.

That naughty sparrow with his French fry!

Si had his All American breakfast while I decided on the Fruit Parfait. Si always has his without the fried potatoes so our waiter decided he should have fresh fruit instead!

Sand enjoy her parfait this morning!

Si with his All American, minus potatoes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our waiter thought Si should have some fruit as he didn’t want potatoes with his All American breakfast!

Si had grabbed us a good spot by the pool and we found ourselves between two couples, one from near Denver and the other from somewhere I’d never heard of in Minnesota. We spent a few hours discussing this and that …………… and politics!! ☹️

It was very hot again this morning so we had our umbrella up straight away. Unfortunately, the wind started to blow very strongly and we were all asked to put them down, for safety reasons. We didn’t stay long after that because of the heat.

As I’m not one for eating on a night flight (I like to get my head down as soon as we board) we decided on room service and have just had a fabulous turkey club and french fries with a great pot of camomile tea for me and coffee for Si. I’m sure poor Si will spend the whole flight awake like he usually does!

Thought I’d finish the post today with a photo of one of the very lovely flower displays they have here at the Bellagio.

Just one of the Bellagio flower displays

Our next post will be from good ol’ Blighty, 🇬🇧 hopefully late Friday if I can stay awake! 😂 😴 So please join us then. In the meantime, thank you once again for reading. 😀

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 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.

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