The Grand Tetons – Day One
Snowcatcher and I recently returned from a 5-day trip to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. The Bridger-Teton, Caribou-Targhee, Beaverhead-Deer Lodge, Gallatin and Shoshone National Forests encompass the parks and make up the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is one of the largest, close to intact, temperate-zone ecosystems on the planet. Yellowstone is at its center.
We enjoyed 2 full drive days and 3 play days. Forest fire haze was a daily constant, but not overwhelming. Normally, we see lots of animals, including black bear, grizzly bear and moose. Sadly, this trip did not yield any of the latter. You win some and lose some. On the weather front, it was quite comfortable. We enjoyed lots of sun and peaking fall colors. However, the morning of our return included snow sticking below 9,658-foot Togwotee Pass, which is cradled in the southern end of Wyoming's Absaroka Mountains.
Please excuse any photo replication; I'm kind of partial to the Teton Range, visually and historically. In the pic below, the Grand Teton and company pierce the sky from the vicinity of Jenny Lake.
Teton Range—I think I'm looking at Cascade Canyon (left) and Paintbrush Canyon.
View from Jenny Lake
Grand Teton from Jenny Lake
Jenny Lake morning reflection
Jenny Lake morning
Both black and grizzly bears thrive here. Campsites at many campgrounds now have steel, destroy-proof bear boxes at each campsite for safe storage of anything that smells, which is just about everything, including sweaty clothes. They bear boxes are large enough to store everything needing storage. Backcountry bear-proof food containers are now available for backpacking as well.
During the 1960s and 70s, as the Park Service was weening bears off human food, the grizzly population declined to less than 200 individuals. The current grizzly bear population in the GYE rebounded, and is estimated at between 600 and 800. I've read that the current population may be at the region's carrying capacity. Not bad after 20 or 30 years of having to learn how to be wild again. Park/Forest Service personel recommend hiking in groups of at least 3 people, each armed with bear spray.
Fall is in the air.
Sunset on the Teton Range