Thursday, September 24, 2015

A Short Visit to Grand Teton National Park

After living in Idaho for 27 years, I finally made it over to visit Grand Teton National Park in neighboring Wyoming. Karyn and I visit Yellowstone National Park almost annually and I manage a woodpecker survey project which borders the park, yet this was my first time there! It was a short and rewarding trip.

Grand Teton and surrounding mountains.

Our trip consisted of a quick four day visit to the park. Our goal was for general sightseeing,  hiking the trails and watching the wildlife. The landscape was stunning, highlighted by the fantastic fall weather. We were also very successful in the hiking department, but a little disappointed in the abundance of wildlife. We had expected viewing opportunities more similar to Yellowstone, but our lack of observations may be related to lack of knowledge of where to go to have the best observations. Regardless, it was still a fantastic trip.

Mount Moran and Jackson Lake from Hermitage Trail.

Morning reflection, Leigh Lake.

Morning reflection, Leigh Lake.

The signature wildlife for Grand Teton National Park is the Shiras Moose. The only place we would see them was within our campground where there were near permanent fixtures. I was even trapped in the restroom by this bull that was standing a mere 10 meters away (facing me at the time…)!

Bull Shiras Moose, Gros Ventre Campground.

Shiras Moose, Gros Ventre Campground.

Bird watching was good. There were an unbelievable number of Mountain Chickadees. My favorite birds of the trip were the abundant and gregarious Gray Jays. They were mostly unafraid, approaching us closely, and putting on quite a show.

Gray Jay drinking water, Leigh Lake.

Gray Jay drinking water, Leigh Lake.

Gray Jay blocking our trail, String Lake.

Another wildlife viewing highlight was watching a pair of American Beaver along the Snake River just before sunset.

American Beaver adult and juvenile, Snake River.

American Beaver adult and juvenile, Snake River.

American Beaver adult and juvenile, Snake River.

And who doesn’t love American Pikas?

American Pika, Hidden Falls, near Jenny Lake.

Double-crested Cormorant, Oxbow Bend.

Ruffed Grouse, Moose Ponds Trail.

It was a great trip. Next time we will plan to spend more time, take our bikes (there is more than a 100 miles of bike paths) and our inflatable kayak to paddle the lakes and rivers.

1 comment:

allan said...

Nice, we used to live in Idaho Falls where we were closer to the Yellowstone ecosystem.