Category Archives: National Elk Refuge

Morning Coffee At -15 At The Flats

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As I peaked out my bedroom window last night I could see stars.  Mother Earth had just sent Jackson a small storm during the day and she left the valley with a new coating of snow.  Although it was just a few inches it was a welcomed event as we have been lacking in the snow department lately.  But when I saw the stars I knew it was going to be a beautiful morning so I made my plans to head to Antelope Flats for a few pics – along with my hot cup of coffee.

As I was hoping it was absolutely clear blue skies this morning and even though the temperature in my Jeep was showing -15 degrees It was one of those clear blue sky mornings.  I snapped a few pictures throughout my short trip but as usual there were plenty of opportunities to take some fun shots.  Antelope flats is simply a great place to visit as it is close to town and on most mornings you will find something worth taking a picture of.

This was another moose morning and I arrived early and picked a spot to stop and wait for one of the many moose in the area to cross the road in front of me.  These shots are not what I was hoping for as a visitor came roaring through in their truck just before the were to cross in front of me and a couple of other waiting photographer.  The moose got spooked and the shots we were all hoping for did not materialize.  It happens but all in all still a great morning.  Enjoy!

Morning Coffee December 20th, 2011

Mountain Sheep & Tourists Are Back In Town…

We grabbed our coffee this morning at Pearl Street Bagels and headed for another morning adventure.  First let me give props to the girls at Pearl Street Bagels as they are so nice to deal with.  They are always friendly, and these girls can crank out the coffee and bagels.  On the east side of the Snake River they are our favorite!

As we left the coffee shop we just found ourselves heading out towards Miller’s Butte to see if the mountain sheep had returned.  And, yes they have, along with the tourists.  It is a very cool thing to be able to travel such a short distance from our home and see so much wildlife.  Miller’s Butte for those of you who are not familiar with our town sits on the east side of the National Elk Refuge and you access the road just north-east of the hospital on Broadway.

This morning the fog was hovering over the valley but not too bad – just cold.  The trees again had a fresh coating of powdery ice crystals on their branches making it a real Christmas like feel.  If you like to take pictures these kinds of mornings make a great background to shoot away.  So many opportunities for beautiful shots of the trees loaded with powder and the rivers with a steamy fog hovering over the water.  The ice and the river flows squeeze through frozen banks making for some really incredible scenery.

On this morning though it was all about the mountain sheep.  The east side of the butte is all rocks and cliffs and the sheep meander around as if they are on flat land.  But on some days you will find them right on the road side and this morning was no exception.  About a dozen or so sheep traveled from their safety high in the rock to the road side in order to access the grass hiding under the snow.  A couple even are so bold as to come right up to your car and they lick the side of the cars for any salts that are deposited from the roads.  Pretty cool for sure.  They are cautious  but not too friendly making sure they keep their distance when someone tries to approach.

On the other side of the road we found dozens of elk just lying around at the base of the pine trees that start about a few hundred yards off the east side of the road.  Although I love the elk we decided to focus on the sheep and just sit and watch them interact with the public.  The tourists are returning for the holidays and this morning some of them got to see something really special.  It never gets old up here as long as you take the time to leave you home and see some of God’s wonders.  Enjoy!