If Indiana is God’s Country … Wyoming must be God’s Vacation Country. I think my idea of beauty has been transformed after visiting this place … and my idea of ‘vast’ was also wrong because this place is truly unending. When you look out to the horizon it seems to go on forever and LARGE items look sooo tiny. It is just such an immensely open area that it is seemingly unending. We saw an innumerable herd of elk and it looked like a group of scrub bushes on the plain because the space was just so expansive. The National Elk Refuge is in Jackson, Wyoming and consists of nearly 25,000 acres of winter range for the Elk as well as many other species of animals. When I was there I saw moose, bison, mountain goats, various waterfowl and the elk. You can take a wagon, or sleigh, ride out to get up-close-and-personal with the elk or whatever other animal happens to be around. I didn’t do this, but we would have if Sydney was with us.
My favorite piece of Wyoming to take photographs of this time was the mountains. The photo above is from a university website – if you click the photo you can go to the site that has some further information, but I thought it was cool to have the photo to reference with mine so you could tell which peak was which. This is a view similar to Ansel Adams photograph of Grand Teton in the early 1940s. The landscape doesn’t look terribly different, but there have been some changes and there was a deep snowpack at this time of year, so I couldn’t wander around too much to find other spots. Oh .. and did I mention that the week before we got there is when they started recommending hikers carry bear spray … ummm … I think I’ll just skip the hike, thank you. Anyway, I enjoyed the mountains from all kinds of different angles and will be hanging one similar to the one above over our mantel in the family room. I’ve been asked if it is for sale … and the answer is YES .. I’d be happy to print and sell one to you. just let me know if you would like one
Rob and I were excited to go to Jackson Hole for differing reasons, but both of us were very much looking forward to our own agendas! Rob went skiing and since it was deemed to difficult for this green-lovin’ momma he went alone. I packed up my camera gear, grabbed some snacks and headed our for a day – or two – of landscape shooting. My pièce de résistance was the Bald Eagle. I went looking with crossed fingers that I would see a Bald Eagle in flight … I’ve never seen one in the wild before … the one endlessly sitting in an enclosure at the zoo doesn’t count. I had to go a couple of different places at different times, but I was able to see several. One afternoon I caught three riding the thermals in a riverbed and swooping up and down. Then another day I caught one flying up and down the Snake River Canyon in the Grand Targhee National Forest. I took Rob back when it was snowing and he got to see one in the wild too! I only wish I was better prepared and knew where they would be and when so I could do a better job capturing them. I guess I’ll just have to move to Wyoming …
I learned that people in Wyoming don’t say ‘hi’ .. they say ‘howdy’. All. of. them. The word ‘hi’ tells them you aren’t from around these here parts They knew I was a tourist … well, they probably could tell since my rental SUV was parked all along the road at random places so I could capture wildlife. I know it must make the locals crazy .. but then again, it’s more money for their local economy. I drove up while these guys were getting ready to go fishing and asked them if I could snap a few photos. They indulged me and looked super cool doing their fisherman thing. I’m sure they thought I was totally clueless. I also happened upon a guy panning for something .. I’m guessing gold, but who knows. I didn’t take his photo … I’m pretty sure he would not have been nearly as understanding
Here is a Bald Eagle on a clear day … he is just above the ‘TO’ in photography in case his camouflage is helping him blend in too much … I found myself smiling when I first saw him (this was my first Baldy find). There were several nests in the area high up on the telephone poles, so I figured I would find one if I was patient. The cliff where I am standing for this photograph is littered with bones that I am assuming were left by the eagles. There were so many … large leg bones, a backbone of a large animal, a scapula and several caches of rib bones. One set had some meat and blood left on it that I’m sure will be a snack at a later date. Ewww …
The Snake River flows through Wyoming, including Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park and continues into Idaho and eventually empties into the Columbia River. This particular photo is of a portion of the Snake in Grand Teton National Park.
Driving in Jackson is always interesting … there is always something to look for in the fields along the road. There is a 6 foot fence along the National Elk Refuge … not to keep the animals in (because it isn’t continuous) but to keep the off of the road in busy areas. The moose above was in a field right across the street from the airport. Just munching away on the sagebrush. That is what they do … all. the. day. The one below is at least in an area that is not as full of people. This one is in the river flats along the road just outside of the Elk Refuge.
I thought this looked like a pretty cool place to make a home. I was thinking of adding a few horses … a house with HUGE West facing windows to take in the Teton view and sunset every evening … and one little Green Family … sounds good, huh! The huge heap of snow on either side of the driveway is a *little* bit of a concern, but I suppose a snowmobile or two and we’d be golden. I think the fact that they don’t use traditional snow plows (except in the city) for the roads is funny. I’m guessing that a typical plow truck would leave it too close to the road and cause it to tower above the road and be a hazard. Just a guess though … There are still A LOT of roads closed in Wyoming. They are just starting to clear them and the snow blower in the photo below is removing about 4 feet of snow from the road it is clearing. I left the highway visible so that you could see the depth on the side of the road in the foreground. The average depth along the highway was about 4 feet .. some places where drifts occurred were higher. We looked when a Ford F150 pickup truck was passing the area and it was up past the windowsill on the passenger side .. they aren’t messin’ around here! This driveway is about four feet on either side and the large chunk on the left of the photo is about 6+ feet. I think the weather and the snow would be TOTALLY worth it to live in such a gorgeous place. Who’s ready to move with us???
I can’t wait to go back. I can’t wait to take Sydney out so that she can see the animals .. there are SOOO many! She will love it! We are thinking next summer .. not this coming one, but 2013 will be the Green Family Western trip. We can experience a dude ranch .. ghost towns .. a real western rodeo .. wild animal sightings .. National Parks .. the list is endless. Better start saving up my money now …
From behind my lens,