Another hot cup of coffee and a short road trip north of town. Fall is quickly starting to pass and winter is not far away. The weather was not the best for all these pictures but we found a few that we liked. Waiting for the first snow to get some shots of whats to come. Enjoy the slide show.
Some of you may be wondering what happened to our weekly posts and the truth be told is we have been enjoying the most amazing Fall weather. I can’t remember when the last time we saw such a beautiful, warm, completely awesome Fall in Jackson Hole. Weekends at the lakes with our kids, people still riding their bikes around town and on the trails and more tourists seemed to hang around longer than in years past. Simply a very nice surprise for those of us living in the Yellowstone Basin.
But as we all know the winds of change come quickly when mother nature decides that it is time. One of most unusual things I noticed this fall was the complete lack of snow on the Tetons. It seems that there is always snow somewhere on these majestic peaks but this fall snow was almost devoid of this precious white commodity.
One of the side effects of this wonderful warm weather was the total lack of water that we saw this summer. Jackson narrowly escaped one of the worst fire seasons on record and because of the heroic efforts of so many firemen and state and federal assets Jackson narrowly escape what could have been a tragedy. So with our rivers and streams down and our open spaces brown with thirst this warm fall season left many of the true locals lacking the very basic things they need to survive the upcoming winter. We saw a return of the Bison to the area north of town and it was clear to me that this past spring and summer was good to these herds as their young were everywhere. But the lack of tall grass like we saw last year seems to be on the thin side and so we ponder how they will fair this winter.
One clear sign that pickings are thin were the numerous bears we saw this fall all looking for something to eat. On the Moose Wilson road the Hawthorne bushes that are usually packed with life giving berries simply did not seem to materialize. The lack of water this summer showed clearly how devastating this could be when it came time for these animals to find food in preparation for winter. We watched bears climbing trees and pulling empty berry branches to their mouths eating what ever they could get their paws on (literally).
Another event that fall brings is the beginning of the hunting season. People are pulling permits for Elk, Bear, Antelope, Wolves (new this year), Bison and even birds. Especially for the elk, fall brings the double hazard of foraging for food while hiding from hunters doing the same. Small groups which to me look like little families run for cover after coming out of hiding for a well deserved drink and then it is quickly up the hill side to the safety of the trees. Although I enjoy a good elk steak I enjoy even more seeing these beautiful animals in the wild. Yes Jackson Hole and the surround area is a magical place to live. And with each change in the seasons you definitely know what time of the year it is.
My worry this year is that because of the amazing summer and warm fall weather we have enjoyed, this winter may bring a true struggle for life for all that inhabit the great Yellowstone Basin. Especially for the young, this first winter for them will be the test of how strong they are. Food is scarce and they need these calories to make it through the winter.
As of now they look strong to me, and I am sure the Great Spirit will lift her hand to comfort them and bring them through what is about to come. I leave you with a Native American Flute Song that shares with you a message of peace and hope. Written and produced by Nakoa Heavyrunner, Assiniboine Native American Music Artist, The Honoring is presented first in song, then by Native American Flute, then English and finally one more time in Northern Cree. We too wish all of you peace and good life this winter.
Click to Play “the Honoring”
Last winter we started posting several times per week to our blog what we called “Morning Coffee”. Simply put we drop our youngest daughter off at school and then head to the coffee shop for a cup and then we head out to see what we can find. We try to frequent our favorite coffee hangouts but we usually hit them all throughout the year. Summer has been absolutely spectacular here in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. But the summers here are too short and we try to make everyday count. But as quickly as summer rolls in – it rolls out and into Fall. Fall is actually one of my favorite times of the year. Cool crisp mornings and absolutely beautiful warm days.
Well school has started and we are back at it. This past weekend we purchased a new camera in Bozeman Montana. The new Nikon D3200 was our choice and so far we like it very much. This morning we headed north of town on the west bank side of the Snake River. Passing along the Moose Wilson Road we were met with a traffic jam as a Black Bear was foraging through the Hawthorne trees looking for berries. We decided to pass through the mayhem and onto Antelope Flats. There were almost no animals this morning with the exception of the bear but we did manage to find a small group of Pronghorn Antelope and shoot these shots. We are still trying to figure out how to use our new camera but I thought these pictures of a mother and her young were worth sharing.
The Pronghorn Antelope is a beautiful creature to see. They are the fastest animal in North American and can run at speeds that approach 60 miles per hour. They also migrate each year to and from the Yellowstone basin and their migration paths are some of the longest. This year the herds in our area have had a good year with offspring and they are growing in size. It won’t be long now before they start on their long journey south for the winter. When they do we will not see them again until next spring. The return of these awesome little guys marks the beginning of the coming summer which makes everyone around here happy. Stay tuned though as Fall and Winter approach we will be back at it again posting things we think are worth sharing about our home. We look forward to seeing some new and exciting events worthy of a post.
It has been several weeks since my last post – not sure where all the time has gone but the truth is winters can be long here in the Rockies. As we move from the depths of winter into the Spring season you can just feel the change happening. Not only with Mother Nature but with the people of this area. People attitudes start to change very quickly when Father Sun finally peaks out of the clouds.
So what have we been doing for the past several weeks? Good question – but I thought I would post just a couple of things that have happened. One of the sad notes in Jackson has been all the moose that have been killed by cars this winter. These big beautiful animals just do not understand the dangers of the highways. This morning after we dropped our daughter off at school in Wilson we headed for the Elevated Grounds coffee shop on the West Bank. As we approached the coffee shop a mother and her two calves decided to cross the road and as we slowed to a stop we almost witnessed another accident. Although this is not a good picture you can see the mother walking down the driveway just after crossing in front of our Jeep. Her two calves followed but almost did not make it across the road. If you visit this summer please be aware that you can be faced in a heart beat with this kind of interaction with these big beautiful animals.
A few weeks ago we made a visit to the north side of the Elk Refuge during a blustery winter day. We came upon an entire heard of elk all moving to the east trying to get out of the wind. This picture does not capture the enormity of this heard but we were really close. This picture was taken with a 50mm lens and this group was almost 3/4 of mile long. At one point we just parked on the road side and watched them. It is really cool to see how the stronger males take charge and keep an eye on you. To be able to experience this so close to home is really a treat. It won’t be long before they start to move back up into the high country. It looks like a warm Spring is about to arrive.
Our son Brock was asked to play a few of his songs at an event at the Jackson Hole Playhouse and Saddle Rock Saloon recently and it was really kind of a cool little event. For those of you who may be planning a visit here this summer you absolutely need to make time to go to the play this summer. The plays are really a must see event here in town. This summer the play is Cat Ballou and the season opens June 1st and runs through September 29th.
One of the cool things about the playhouse is that you can make reservations for dinner prior to the show. Having dinner at the Saddle Rock Saloon is a really fun family event. The casts are your waiters and they sing and perform during your meal. This is a really good way to get to know the cast prior to the show. The playhouse is one of the oldest building in Jackson Hole with a really interesting history. The cast will share with you all the things that have taken place over the last 100 years at this very location during the Pre-Show event. If you are looking for an opportunity to do something with your entire family that will stay in your memories for a lifetime then you must put the Play House on your bucket list.
Since our last post we had one of the better winter storms roll through the region leaving a solid blanket of snow. On these mornings when we wake up to heavy snow we like to cruise the town as it turns into a winter wonderland. The heavy snow creates such a beautiful atmosphere and one of our favorite things to do is just park and take a walk. If you have never taken a walk in the middle of heavy snowfall then make sure you make the effort to do it at least once in your life. Yes its cold but it is almost hard to put into words what the experience is like.
Finally I wanted to share with you that there are wonderful things to do outside of our valley. It is a good thing when you can take even a day trip to another place. Winters can be long and it helps if you can get away even if for just a few hours. One of our favorite day trips is to head to Bozeman Montana for the day. On this day which was just a week ago we found the town of Bozeman to be free of snow and almost 70 degrees. Brynn and her friend told us it was summer in Bozeman and how happy they were to see the sun. We stopped by the Museum of the Rockies which a very cool place to visit. The girls wanted to take a picture next to this big horse and just get out of the Jeep and run around. Look for more Morning Coffee Posts now that Spring has arrived and as we venture from our homes into God’s country this summer.
As we move ever closer to the start of the winter of 2011 we are blessed with a variety of beautiful days here in the Rockies. On this morning we were blessed with clear blue Wyoming skies and almost no one on the roads north of town.
Our plan was as it is most mornings, grab a cup of coffee and just drive. On this morning we decided to visit a different coffee shop that sits on the West Bank of the Snake River in the business center at the Pines . Elevated Grounds is a very cool eclectic place to visit. The coffee is good and HOT! If you are visiting or living in Jackson try a cup from Elevated Grounds.
As we left our daughter at school and turned onto the Village Road (heads to ski resort) we passed a mother and her two calves helping themselves to some tall grass right on the road. We turned around as went back to take this quick shot of the young family. As the temperatures drop the moose move to any place they can find food to fatten up.
This time of year the Moose Wilson Road closes just north of the resort so the only way to the north part of the town is that you have to travel back through Jackson and back north alone the East Bank of the Snake. It was absolutely gorgeous this morning and as we turned onto the road that takes you to Kelly, Wyoming I took these next two pictures. This area is a favorite spot for us to view antelope, bison, deer, moose, coyotes and birds of prey.
I usually don’t find any compelling reason to take pictures of the Tetons from here but on this day the Grand seemed to be barking at me. So I stopped and took a couple a pics. I think the contrast between the browning grass and the fresh powdering of snow on the Grand against the blue sky is what grabbed me. These smaller pics do not even grab the brilliant colors that existed this morning nor do they show how really blue the sky was but they should give you a feeling of the beautiful solitude that exists just north of Jackson Hole. Morning coffee in Jackson Hole can be a really fun adventure you can take when you visit. Almost any day and any time of year you will find something you will want to snap a picture of. Enjoy…
Not more than a week ago I posted some pictures that I took while up at Oxbow bend and then a few days later I post some pics from the Moose Wilson Road. I was trying to share some of what we experience here in Jackson during the Fall colors. The word on the street that we were hearing was that you needed to get your shots taken as the first storm of the season was moving in from the west.
Well the storm arrived yesterday in the form of a pretty solid rain. Kind of nice since we had not seen much rain this summer. But rain quickly turned to snow and for the past 24 hours it has been a mix of both rain and snow here in the valley. This morning we took another drive out to the Moose Wilson Road in Teton National Park with hopes if showing the contrast from earlier posts.
This morning was cool as there were 3 black bears roaming around, 1 sow and her two cubs. But the Park Rangers were closing the road and asking everyone to leave and let the bears feed alone. Then this afternoon we heard that a Grizzly Sow and her cub made a visit to this same area. Although this could be a rumor it would not surprise me with the snow fall. They get pushed down looking for food. You never know what you will see on one of your morning adventures. Enjoy!
It is that time a year again when those of us who live in Jackson Hole have mixed emotions. Summer has come and gone and the fall weather is upon us. The beautiful colors that we all look forward to have changed and are quickly disappearing. But if you keep a sharp look out you will see things here that can stir a man’s (or woman’s) heart.
On this morning after we dropped off our daughter at school we headed once again for the coffee shop and on the way we passed a typical fall morning where we passed some of the local cowboys moving their cattle from one pasture to another. What better way than to just run the heard right down the highway. It is kind of nice to have to stop on the road side as part of the American West passes you by. Unfortunately for some of these cattle they are heading to the pasture to fatten them up before they hit your plate. But for those in the city – this is a real as it gets.
After passing our bovine friends we headed again north of town for one of our morning coffee drives. One of the incredible things about living up here is you never know what is going to jump out at you and speak to your heart. As we headed north of town we turned into Moose Junction and made our way to one of our favorite morning drives, the Moose Wilson road. Like I said you never know what to expect and as we made our way to the turn off – BAM! We pass this spot all the time but for some reason I felt the need to stop and take this picture. All alone on the road, just after a brief morning sprinkle, and the leaves starting to fall we stopped and gazed at one of God’s most spectacular works, the Grand Tetons. Truthfully there are no bad views and all are worthy of taking a picture or two. This picture does not do a good job of conveying how absolutely beautiful this morning was. We are blessed to be able to see this on any given morning and we never tire of the views.
As we got back in the car we headed down the road a bit and we came to this place only to see the clouds break open and heaven shined upon the Grand as you see it here. The weather has certainly changed in the past few days and it is clear what Mother Nature has in mind for us in the coming months. But for a few more weeks we will have days like this where we only need a light jacket to help ward of the chill, a hot cup of coffee to keep our insides warm. And, more important to share a moment with our creator that has blessed this valley with some of the most spectacular scenery in North America. Every day we see a new painting on the canvas set before us. It is our hope that by sharing some of our mornings with you it will inspire you to come visit Jackson Hole Wyoming and come see for yourself what a simple morning drive with a cup of coffee in hand can do for you well-being. Enjoy!