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Best of the Tetons

November 2014 Daily Updates & Photos for Grand Teton National Park & JH:

A monthly journal of wildlife reports, scenic opportunities, and tidbits for both photographers and Teton visitors!

Daily Updates Archives: ~
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2013: Dec: | Nov: Oct: | Sept: | Aug:

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November Overview:

November Header Image

November:  Some locals view November as a “shoulder season” month. That’s short for “not much going on”. Of course, those people are merchants, tour operators, skiers, and so forth. All you’d have to do is look over last year’s November Daily Updates and Photos pages to know that is far from accurate when speaking about viewing and photographing wildlife and landscapes in and around Grand Teton National Park. In many ways, November might be THE BEST month to capture wildlife images on a consistent basis. First off, days are much shorter and the sun stays low in the sky much of the day. The hours are compressed, but more importantly, the quality of the light is better for much longer.  Weather wise, November is a transitional month with winter storms blanketing the mountains and some snow starting to build on the valley floor—however not so much that you can’t get around. One of the major park road arteries, the Teton Park Road closes on November 1st, but there are still plenty of places to go to and see. Trumpeter Swans can be incredibly fun to photograph as they migrate into the valley, landing and taking off on Flat Creek. Later in the month, Bighorn Sheep move onto the National Elk Refuge as they gather to begin their rut. All of the ungulates still have their antlers and are usually active and visible. Lastly, when you do find something of interest, you’ll often be the only person there taking the shots. November might be considered the “locals little secret”. Variety is the hallmark of the month if you are willing to go out into the cold and enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer.

Streamlined Viewing Links

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Oldie But Goodie Post of the Day

Tetons Snow Fence Jan27Winter In the Tetons: Travel and Photography Tips. I wrote this post last year just before the beginning of Winter. I just read it over from top to bottom. If you are planning a trip here in the winter, I’d suggest it as a “must read”. It is loaded with winter images, so maybe you’d enjoy the page just to get a long distance “feel” of the area in the winter.

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Artists and Sculptors

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November 30

Corner Arch

Festive Elk Antler Arch: I went back to the square last night and took a few shots of the Christmas lights.

Ornaments

Ornaments: On the Square.

Tree Ornament

Tree Ornament taken through a store window.

Elk Arch

NE Antler Arch and shopper.

Blurred Lights

Abstract Lights: Shot in manual focus mode of lights wrapped around one of the antler arches. They were purposefully dialed to be out of focus.

Ram and Ewe

Lunch Time at Miller Butte: Bighorn Ram and Ewe on a rocky ledge.

Ram and Ewe

Rams Chasing a Ewe: Also at Miller Butte.

Side Swipe

Side Swipe: I don’t remember ever seeing a ram knocking another one completely off its feet like this. Click the image to see it much larger.

Swan Dual Stretch

Swan Dual Stretch: Taken late in the afternoon along Flat Creek.

Swans Taking Off

Trumpeter Swans Taking Off: Also along Flat Creek in the late evening.

Settling into Winter:

Most of the winter months offer similar opportunities for both wildlife and landscapes: Nov: 2013  | Dec: 2013Jan: 2014 .

Suggested “Opportunities”: Right now, here are my top spots to check out. Some will be a bit of a gamble, but they might also pay off in a big way if you hit it right:

  • Flat Creek Observation Deck: Look for Swans:, Geese, and Ducks.
  • Boyles Hill Swan Pond & Swans Along Flat Creek:
  • Miller Butte: Look for Bighorns and a herd of around 50 Pronghorns.
  • Ditch Creek Road: Look for Moose, elk and flying bullets. Wear orange!
  • Kelly Area: Look for Mule Deer at the edges of town and around the Shane Cabins.
  • Alpine Junction: Watch for Mountain Goats. near the mouth of the canyon.

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November 29

New Feature Post: Back Yard Birding in Jackson Hole:

Mountain Goats

Mountain Goats: This is a photo of a Billy and a Nanny taken in the Snake River Canyon today.

Nanny

Nanny: I made it to the canyon at what I figured was a good, early, safe time….10:30 am. A group of Mountain Goats were already fairly close to the road and were beginning to head on back up the mountain. You never know!

Billy

Billy: You should be able to see the difference in the diameter of the horns at the skull in these two shots.

Mtn Goat on a Rock

Mtn. Goat on a Rock: Today, I used a 35 mpx D800 and a Nikon 200-400mm lens. This one is cropped considerably.

Two Rams

Two Rams: I hung around in the Canyon until close to 1:00 pm and headed back to Jackson. None of the other Mountain Goats appeared to be coming down today. I went to Miller Butte on the National Elk Refuge anf found a few Rams near the rocks.

Lip Curl

Lip Curl: The Winter storm we have been hearing about finally rolled into the valley around 3:00.

Ewe in Snow

Ewe in Snow: Blow snow shows up fairly well against dark rocks or evergreens. Snow was coming down sideways today.

Hillside Ram

Hillside Ram: There isn’t a lot of detail in an image like this when shooting through a wall of snow, but I still like the simplicity of the capture.

Snow Coated Ram

Snow Coated Ram: With a stiff wind blowing snow in from the southwest, this ram was coated on one side.

Ram in the Headlights

Ram in the Headlights: This shot tells several stories without me having to explain them.

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November 28

Young Moose

Young Moose crossing in front of the Teton Range north of Kelly.

Pine Grosbeak

Pine Grosbeak: I found a few Pine Grosbeaks in the “S” curves when heading up to the Shane Cabin.

Wagons

Wagons: Taken at the edge of Kelly.

Buck Mule Deer

Buck Mule Deer at the edge of Kelly. I hope to find this one with beautiful light and a great background someday.

Bighorn Lamb

Bighorn Lamb on Miller Butte: These animals blend in well with the rocks.

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November 27

November 27, 2014| 7:00 AM: 37°F : Sunrise 7:31 AM, Sunset 4:49 PM :  High Temp Forecast 41° (Throwback Thursday weather report)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Bison

Bison are back in the south end of the valley. I drove up just as the last of the herd was leaving the ridge line.

Hunter Off the Road

Hunter Off the Road: The “hunt” is still going on in the Park. This guy was off the Gros Ventre road, aiming into the Gros Ventre river bottom. There’s a related story in the current weekly JH News & Guide. I didn’t see a link to the story, but found these. Using my kids terminology, other hunters saw me taking a photo of this hunter and gave me the “stink eye“.

Hunter Orange

This Hunter might have been off the road far enough, but I don’t think he has the necessary amounts of hunter orange for hunting in Grand Teton National Park. (I blurred his face)

Moulton Barn

Moulton Barn: I shot this from Antelope Flats Road with a 70-200mm lens. A few photographers walked out to it.

Mormon Row

The road south on Mormon Row is now closed.

National Elk Refuge

National Elk Refuge: There were four or five clusters with around 100 elk each, plus another 600 or so at the far south end of the Refuge. I took this from one of the official pull outs along the highway. The National Elk Refuge is telling us this year it is illegal to walk to the fence.

This Morning’s Outing: Skies had a violet/gray cast to them today. I did the Kelly loop and saw a few moose near Ditch Creek. There were less hunters, yet plenty of rangers out today. Bison have been north for a while, but are back. I haven’t been going into the park much lately, so I can’t say exactly when they returned. I didn’t see it myself, but a couple from California had been watching a Grizzly in the sagebrush between Ditch Creek and Ditch Creek Road towards west side of the north/south road (East Boundary Road). They told me one of the rangers pointed it out to them, so I will assume the story is credible. On the way home, I stopped at Flat Creek. It was quiet. I went to Miller Butte and only saw three Bighorns on the top of the ridge. The pond as Boyle’s Hill had only a few wild swans.

Swans in Flight

Swans in Flight: Taken along Flat Creek in the afternoon.

Immature Eagle

Overhead Immature Eagle:

Passing Ducks

Two pairs of Barrow’s Golden-eyes and a lone male Bufflehead.

Stretching Trumpeter Swan

Stretching Trumpeter Swan:

JH Tidbits: The Jackson Hole Mountain Resort at Teton Village opens today. Click the Ski Report link in the navigation bar for reports. The Jackson Town Square lighting ceremony is on Friday night. Gasoline is $2.99 at several stations now. Weather report: Cloudy all day with snow in the forecast for Friday and Saturday.

Elk RunningElk on the Refuge: I posted this image on Facebook a couple of days ago. It must have hit a nerve. It was shared 182 times that day prompting an unusual amount of Friend requests. The Refuge doesn’t like people parking on the road, but there wasn’t a pull out anywhere near, nor any traffic at that time. I jumped out long enough to take about 50 shots, then quickly returned to the vehicle. No harm, no fowl, I guess!

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November 26

Today in Jackson Hole: It was 39°F at 7:00 am this morning. The warm overnight temps melted a lot of snow and made getting around “sloppy”. Skies were dull and gray all day. I checked Miller Butte, then Flat Creek but didn’t find much before lunch. Earlier in the morning, I stocked the feeders and decided to see if any birds were out. Most of the best action I got today was later in the afternoon. I tried Miller Butte one more time but didn’t take any shots. On the way back, I took a few shots of a Muskrat. With the dull skies, I decided to set up a remote strobe for the back yard birds. A Northern Flicker came in and posed for me with the nice lights. A Spotted Towhee is hanging around, but is not cooperating with me on the shots. They are primarily ground feeders, so getting images is not an easy task.

Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee:

Muskrat

Muskrat: Taken from the observation platform along Flat Creek. I saw a few Buffleheads there today, too.

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel: One of my back yard critters.

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel:

Clark's Nutcracker

Clark’s Nutcrackers magically appear within ten minutes or so of putting out a few peanuts. Only two showed up today.

Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker: Males have the orange cheeks.

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November 25

Winter Storm Passing Through:

Nervous Elk Herd

Nervous Elk Herd: I drove out to the National Elk Refuge just before noon and saw this large herd of around 300 elk huddled against a hillside. They didn’t roam too far up into the tree line where hunters on the National Forest might be able to shoot them. They moved around nervously.

Elk Running

Running Elk on the National Elk Refuge.

Elk on Parade

Elk on Parade: The grainy look to both of the images above is caused by the millions of snow flakes between me and the elk.

Ghostly Swans

Ghostly Swans: This group of Trumpeter Swans were getting ready to take off at Flat Creek as I drove into the parking area. I jumped out, grabbed the same camera I used on the elk and snapped off four shots.

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November 24

Bighorn Ram on Rocks

Bighorn Ram on Rocks: At Miller Butte on the National Elk Refuge

Approaching Ram

Approaching Ram:

Miller House at Last Light

Miller House at Last Light: Taken from the observation platform on Flat Creek.

Lucky Elk

Lucky Elk: Also taken from the observation platform. The elk made it through the hunters and are feeding on the Refuge.

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November 23

Canyon Sentinel

Snake River Sentinel: Taken near Alpine Junction in the Snake River Canyon.

Running Ram

Running Ram: Taken on Miller Butte in the National Elk Refuge.

Today around Jackson Hole: I went to Alpine Junction early today. I arrived at 10:00 am and looked in all of the normal spots.  A herd of 16 were working their way down, then stalled half way. I found three up the canyon and got a few nice shots. I made it back to Jackson by around 12:30 and headed to the Refuge. A few rams were chasing various ewes. I didn’t see any head butting. Thick clouds rolled in and I headed on home. I move my Grill Gazebo out to use as a bird blind for the wintering back yard birds.\

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November 22

New Feature Post: Bighorns of Miller Butte. This post is LOADED with photos. Maybe too many!…but I think each one needs to be there. If you come to Jackson Hole in the Winter, Miller Butte will likely be on your agenda and hopefully this page will help you enjoy the trip even more.

We are getting a big blast of Winter weather today.

The Chase

Driving Snow Storm

Bighorns at Miller Butte shot through a wall of snow. A large group of Bighorns were near the pond, identified on the map as Miller Springs. I could see them bashing heads, but they were way too far out for me. A single ewe ran by with four rams chasing her. Two other rams magically showed up and followed their path, up and over the top of the mountain.

JH Tidbits: Crafting Season is upon us! It has nothing to do with photography, but is giving the locals something to do on a snowy day. Gasoline finally dropped below $3 gal. at Smith’s. $2.99 per gallon for self-serv unleaded.

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November 21

Quick Comments about the GTNP Elk Reduction Program (Hunt): The last time I was out in GTNP, I made the Kelly “loop”. I saw dozens of hunter’s vehicles and lots of rangers, a county sheriff, and numerous Game & Fish vehicles. In the middle of the “hay fields”, there were around 200 elk huddled together in a safe zone. The whole scene looked uncomfortable to me with possible disaster written all over it. I didn’t want to witness it if it happened, so I left and haven’t been back. Here are two news stories about a recent incident in which my fears for the elk came true. Elk-herding hunters rack up citations : Onlookers dismayed by elk-herding hunters . I didn’t witness the event, so I will only link to the published stories. A few years back, I witnessed a mass shooting event along Antelope Flats road which had me cowering in the lower part of my truck as bullets were flying around. I’ve also witnessed how the gun shots in the Park affect other big game animals like Bison, Moose, Deer, and Pronghorns. I hope the days of hunting in GTNP are numbered and the agencies can figure out a better way of thinning the elk herd.

Mtn. Goat in Snake River Canyon

Mtn. Goat in Snake River Canyon: I headed down the Snake River Canyon towards Alpine Junction this morning. About a dozen were near the road about half a mile from the mouth.

Nanny on Hillside

Nanny on Hillside: Some of the snow has melted down there but, plenty remains for good shots.

Nanny Head Downhill:

Nanny Head Downhill: The Game and Fish Ranger was in the canyon. He told me the goats are attracted to something the Highway Department has added to their winter salting. They are having problems with the goats going onto the highway with so many big trucks screaming through.

Goats on Rocks

Goats on Rocks: The Ranger also told me they had counted 170 Mountain Goats during an aerial count by helicopter during the summer.

Portrait

Portrait: A mile or so up the canyon, another group of around 40 were getting close to the road. I spooked them off the highway just before the Game Ranger came by. He let me get some portrait shots of this Nanny before scaring her up the mountain with the rest.

Goats on Blind Curve

Goats on Blind Curve: Trucks travel 55 mph in both directions on this portion of the Canyon highway. Sometimes they work all the way out to the middle of the highway. I snapped this shot, then pushed them off the road.

Bighorn Lamb at Miller Butte

Bighorn Lamb on Miller Butte: There are closer to 60 Bighorns on the Refuge now.

Flat Creek

Flat Creek is open again just north of Town. Swans and other waterfowl were back. The Snake River was flowing freely in most sections of the Canyon as I was driving up, too.

Barrows Golden-eyes

Barrows Golden-eyes: I believe these are all hens.

Mallard Wing Stretch

Mallard Wing Stretch: Also along Flat Creek this afternoon.

Refuge winter travel restrictions announced – National Elk Refuge – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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November 20

Bighorn Lamb at Miller Butte

Bighorn Lamb at Miller Butte:

Young Bighorn Ram at Miller Butte

Young Bighorn Ram at Miller Butte:

Lip Curl:

Lip Curl: This is still a young Ram, but he already knows to be checking the Ewes.

Bighorn Lam Running

Bighorn Lamb Running:

Using the Paint CanThe bulk of my Feature Posts on Best of the Tetons are about either wildlife, landscapes or photographic opportunities in the region. Once in a while, I like to throw in a software tip or photographic technique post. I just posted a new one called: Lightroom Keywording Tips, Tools, & Suggestions. If you take many photos, you’ll eventually need to figure out how to organize them, but more importantly, how to find specific images when you actually need them. Keywords make that happen. This post offers suggestions on how to add keywords quickly and efficiently so you can get back to the field to capture more images. If you don’t use Lightroom already, the post might let you understand some of the power of the program. Here’s a list of some of the other tips and techniques pages:

aaaLeoMillergoatsMountain Goat sightings: I’ve had numerous recent reports of people seeing and photographing Mountain Goats near the mouth of the canyon near Alpine Junction. I went down last Sunday, but that was apparently a few days too early. Leo’s shot was taken at 11:15 am today with his phone.

Spotted Towhee: A few days ago, I caught a split second glimpse of an odd bird in my back yard. I finally saw it well enough to identify it as a Spotted Towhee. I had planned on setting up my blind again for the winter. This one might spur me to do it sooner than later.

Start Here

A Couple of Cosmetic Changes: I just added this little button at the top of the navigation bar and removed the old “Start Here” image in the main section. They link to the same old Feature Post. This will be much more convenient. I also added at Hiking Trails link and created a much smaller Calendar of Events button linked to the Chamber of Commerce’s page.

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November 19

Bighorns at Miller Butte

Bighorn Ewes at Miller Butte: Before lunch, I drove over to the National Elk Refuge hoping to see some big rams. There were a few Bighorns down, but the bigger ones had apparently gone up the hill.

Approaching Bighorns

Approaching Bighorns: This group walked towards me. They were alongside the road licking on salt dropped by vehicles.

Flehmen Response

Flehmen Response: This is a young ram in a Flehmen Response, often called a “lip curl”.

Sleeping Indian

Sleeping Indian Mountain: On the maps, this is actually called “Sheep Mountain”. It is easily visible from the National Elk Refuge.

Trumpeters Taking Off

Trumpeters Taking Off: At Boyle’s Hill this afternoon.

Trio in Flight

Trio in Flight:

Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan:

Fly By:

Fly By:

Cygnet Overhead

Cygnet Overhead: One group flew directly over me.  Shooting Data: NIKON D4, 200.0-400.0 mm f/4.0 at 280 mm, 1/1600 at f/11, Aperture priority Mode, -1 EV,  ISO 500, ©2014 Mike R. Jackson, All Rights Reserved

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November 18

Flat Out

New Feature Post: Resting Moose: A Collection of Less Seen Lifestyle Images.  I’ve been working on this page for a long time. I am almost positive you will enjoy it!

Miller House

This Miller house image was taken later in the day today. Scroll down to compare it to the similar image I captured during the middle of the day yesterday. Lots of difference! At this time of the year, the sun is low and to the south. It’s light skims across the face of the Teton Range late in the day. I received a report of some larger Bighorn rams, but they had apparently moved back up the butte by the time I made it there. I checked Boyle’s Hill swan pond, but I had only dull light and inactive swans.

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November 17

Currently, Flat Creek is frozen over, however the creek’s current can quickly open areas of it when after a few days of warming. Swans, displaced by the frozen sheet of ice, quickly return to the exposed open water. The close proximity to town makes the Flat Creek Observation Platform a great place to capture Trumpeter Swan action.

Bighorns

Bighorns on the National Elk Refuge near Miller Butte.

Bighorn Eyes

Bighorn Eyes:

Miller House

Miller House: I stopped to get shots at the Miller House a couple of times over the weekend, but the Tetons were covered with clouds. I chose a different composition on them, but today the Grand was clearly visible. You have to stay on the road on the National Elk Refuge, so getting too many different shots is not possible. The variables are fog, clouds, and changing light patterns.

Swans at Boyle's Hill

Swans at Boyle’s Hill:

Group of Swans

Group of Swans:

Kiosk

Kiosk at the Boyle’s Hill swan pond. If you turn West at the Maverick Convenience store and drive a couple of miles, you’ll see this kiosk. The swans are right there!

New Feature Post:

Wintering Trumpeter Swans Along Flat Creek: Last night, I added a new Feature Post about photography and viewing Swans from the platform. This post is intended to augment the post from earlier in the year about the Trumpeter Swans of Boyle’s Hill:  Both places offer great opportunities and both have a different look and feel. Please take the time to Share the links if you feel the pages can help your friends.

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November 16

Sunday in the Area: During the early hours, clouds covered the Tetons. I looked for animals on the Kelly loop.

Elk in the Kelly Hayfields

Elk in the Kelly Hay Fields: There were a couple hundred elk huddled together in the old hay fields NW of the town of Kelly. I some of the early years, hunters were able to shoot them in that zone, but for the past few years, the area is closed to human entry and hunting. There’s a 3/4 mile closure along the GV road with a sign saying not to stop or park. There were numerous Park Rangers, a Teton County Sheriff, and half a dozen Wyoming Game and Fish trucks cruising the area. Hunters were cruising the area and parked at both ends waiting for the elk to make a move. Hopefully, the elk stayed put all day and will make their move to the Refuge after sunset.

GV River Ranch Barn

GV River Ranch Barn: Just out of curiosity, I drove up the Gros Ventre towards the campground at Slide Lake. I pulled over an took this shot of the barn from my window. I could have taken a sharper photo if I had pulled over and set up the tripod, but with all the snow, it is not easy to find a spot to pull into right now.

Slide Lake Trunk

Slide Lake Trunk: At Slide Lake, I was hoping to see a few bighorns, but didn’t see any indication they had been around.

Elk on the Refuge

Elk on the Refuge: A few nice bull elk were resting just inside the fence with Sleeping Indian in the distance. Light was flat at the time. I drove through town, then out to the Elk Refuge. I didn’t see any bighorns, so I decided to make a trip down to Alpine. I checked all the normal spots for Mountain Goats, but didn’t see a single one. I stopped at the gas station where I asked if anyone had seen them. Nothing so far this year.

Boyles Hill Swans

Swans at Boyle’s Hill: As I drove by Flat Creek earlier in the day, I observed it was completely frozen over. On my way back home from Alpine Junction, I stopped at Boyle’s Hill. An aerator keeps a section of the lake open all winter. Numerous wild and captive swans, ducks, and geese find safe haven there during the winter months.

Mallards

Mallards in Flight: I hung around a while hoping a few Swans would take off, but I only saw a few Mallards taking off.

Afternoon at Boyle’s Hill:

Walking Swans

Walking Swans: Afternoon long shadows with a walking pair of Trumpeter Swans.

Flying Swan

Flying Trumpeter Swan: One of a family of four that flew by me.

Returning Trumpeter Swans

Returning Trumpeter Swans: These two came back to Boyle’s Hill just before sunset.

Moose: I saw quite a few moose around the Kelly / Ditch Creek area today, but with all the hunters working the area, I didn’t “feel” too safe. None of the moose I saw were close to the road today. I didn’t see a single bison.

JH Tidbits: Last night was the Fireman’s Ball held at the Fairgrounds arena. Marshall-Tucker played to a packed house and did a great job. I didn’t take my camera last night, but it would have fun to have it. We were literally 3 feet from the front of the stage. If you happen to be in Jackson Hole over the Thanksgiving holiday, the Town will be “Lighting the Square” on Friday following the holiday. It’s a big event, especially for the kiddos that get to see Santa. Gasoline is running $3.25 per gallon in most stations right now.

Boyles Hill Barn

Barn along Boyle’s Hill Road.

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November 15

Saturday in the Park: Lots of snow on the valley floor right now! I waded out into the sagebrush into waste deep snow.

Washakie in Snow

Washakie in Snow: I had varying light conditions this morning. Initially, the Tetons were covered by clouds but started showing some while I was out with the moose.

Young Bull Moose

Young Bull Moose: Moose can move through the deep snow with little effort. Snow is getting deep enough they have to go deep into it to get to the bitter brush.

Washakie Resting

Washakie Resting: I saw around 7 bulls this morning, plus a few cows and calves. About the time the best light started lighting the valley floor, this bull bedded down. The smaller one was nearby and bedded down shortly afterwards.

Shane Cabin

Shane Cabin with distant Tetons: Clouds looked good and the snow had not been tracked up, so I waded down to get a few shots.

T.A. Moulton Barn

T.A. Moulton Barn: A couple of animal tracks of some kind had broken the near snow, but otherwise no other photographers had been there when I first got there.

Chambers Homestead

Chambers Homestead: Snow is getting deep along the road. Hunters are using it to get to the south past the last house, but I suspect the Park Service will be closing it soon to vehicle travel.

Tree Line

Tree Line: Cottonwoods at the T.A. Moulton barn.

November 9 Sage Flats

November 9 Sage Flats: We returned from Hawaii on November 8. I went out on the 9th to find these two sparring bulls in dry sagebrush.

Same Trees

Same Trees: I took this shot today, November 15th. The valley has undergone a major change over the past week. The tree above is one the same trees seen on the right side of the image above it.

First Bighorn

First Bighorn I’ve seen this winter. This isn’t a great shot of a massive bighorn, but I included it here today to document my first sighting of the year. There were quite a few tracks near the road, so it appeared some of them had been grazing earlier in the day.

Miller House in evening light

Miller House in evening light: Someday I hope to make a Feature Post showing all the variety of shots I’ve taken of this historic old house on the National Elk Refuge. I liked the way the angles worked in this one.

Snow Blower

Preparing for Sunday Morning: This guy was clearing the sidewalk at the Redeemer Lutheran Church.

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November 14

Snow Covered Truck

Morning (and living) in Jackson Hole: We received a big snow overnight. I don’t know how many inches we got in town, but it was plenty! Last week, it was warm and sunny most of the time while we were in Hawaii. Luckily, we made it home before these series of storms hit the west and other parts of the country. We had to hand shovel the driveway today…and that’s a big chore. I should have pulled the snow blower around from the side of the house last week. Today, it was frozen to the ground. I finally got it to release, but that was after we had hand shoveled the driveway. There’s always a big mound at the edge of the street from the town snow plows. I managed to get the snow off my truck and drove it over to fill it up with gas. Even after I put it is 4-wheel drive, I did a full 360° spin in one of the neighborhood roads near the house. I wasn’t going fast at all, but the roads are very slick. The weather report just said we can expect 1″-3″ during the day and the same again for the night. This kind of report doesn’t give you much information about getting good scenic or finding the wildlife, but it might give you a better feel of living here. On these kinds of mornings, you just have to plan on getting up earlier to get the driveway cleared or plan on being late. And, you have to relearn to drive under the slick conditions.

ParkPlow

Afternoon Outing into GTNP: I checked a few of the local spots, then headed north into the Park. Roads were snow covered and slick. Snow plows were having to work hard to keep up.

Pronghorns

Pronghorns along Gros Ventre Road: Looks like this herd of around 40-50 Pronghorns are going to spend the winter in the hole.

Peach House

Peach House in Snow:

Peach House with Aspen Trees

Peach House with Aspen Trees: This group of images were taken through a layer of snow.

Moulton Barn in Snow

Moulton Barn in Snow: I waded out into thigh deep snow for a shots. The snow is still light and fluffy.

Barn and Corrals

Barn with Corrals:

Aspen Trunks

Aspen Trunks in front of the Peach House.

Bull In Snow

Bull In Snow: I dropped the shutter speed down to 1/50th second to get the blowing snow flakes. This bull was along the East Boundary Road near Ditch Creek Road.

Miller House

Miller House taken through several hundred yards of snow. I didn’t see any bighorns at Miller Butte today.

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November 13

-18°F. That’s what my computer is reporting this morning for Jackson Hole. It’s usually a little colder in the Park. With the hazy skies, I stayed home. As the day warms up to 23°F, I will probably check on the swans and bighorns. Yesterday, I saw quite a few “hunters” sitting in their warm, running vehicles along the Gros Ventre road. The cold and snow will push elk into some of them at they try to make it to the National Elk Refuge.

Tundra Swan Adult

Tundra Swan Adult: This was taken from the observation platform along Flat Creek in the afternoon.

Juvenile Trumpeter Swan

Juvenile Trumpeter Swan / Cygnet:

Tundra Swan and Cygnet

Tundra Swan and Cygnet

Afternoon outing: I checked Flat Creek and found a few Tundra and Trumpeter Swans fairly close to the observation deck. More of the creek is frozen, pushing them into smaller openings. I made a drive out to the National Elk Refuge, but didn’t see any bighorns. Lastly, I drove out to Boyle’s Hill and found a lot of Trumpeter Swans. By mid-day, the little blue in the sky was replaced with gray fog and light snow.

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November 12

Bitter cold. When I left my computer last night, it was showing 0°F. This morning, our outdoor thermometer was reporting 1°F. As I was driving around, the vehicle thermometer went down to -11°, plus there was a breeze to make it feel even colder. The Tetons were visible in places and looked beautiful as I was making my way out the door. I left 30 minutes later than I should have, but I was up late working on a project.

Box L Ranch

Box L Ranch along Spring Gulch Road. The Tetons now have a new look!

Spring Creek Road Barn

Spring Creek Road Barn: It looked like we got about 3″-5″ of snow near town and more on the sage flats. The mountains appear to have much more!

Flat Creek was more than 50% frozen over. A couple of families of Trumpeter Swans were hunkered down and out of range.

Incoming Geese

Incoming Geese

Landing Sequence

Landing Sequence

Mixed Species

Mixed Species: I was tracking this goose when it flew by a group of Tundra Swans at Flat Creek today.

Tundra Swans

Tundra Swans: These are much less common here than Trumpeter Swans. By the time the sun went down over East Gros Ventre butte, I was darned cold this afternoon.

Bighorn Sheep: I heard a report today of 11 lambs, young rams, and ewes making their way to Miller Butte.

Current Road Closures:

  • Teton Park Road (Inner Park Loop Road) closed on November 1st.
  • RKO Road: This road runs from the Teton Park Road towards the Snake River, then north along the river to an area just south of Signal Mountain.
  • Mormon Row Road: From about half a mile north of Gros Ventre Road to the Bed and Breakfast.
  • Warm Springs Road: This is the road heading West from the Kelly Warm Springs going towards Mormon Row. The last 1/3 is closed.
  • Bike Path along the National Elk Refuge closed on November 1st.
  • Fishing on the National Elk Refuge ended on October 31st.
  • Many of the trails on the West side of Jenny Lake are closed 

One-On-One Photo Excursions:  Book NOW for a One-On-One Photography Excursion in GTNP in November!  Prices are lower as a result of shortened days. Click the link for all the details and let me know if you are interested. These excursions help me pay the bills and put gasoline in the tank to continue offering the blog. Please let your friends know about Best of the Tetons and share the pages with your friends on Facebook.

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November 11

Winter is here! We had a light covering of snow Sunday night and Monday. Last night, it snowed enough to force us to dig out today.  Time to pull out the snow blower. By mid-morning today, some blue sky poked through the clouds. At lunch time, I did a quick drive out to the National Elk Refuge to see if any bighorns have come down. No bighorns. I drove back to town and then to Flat Creek where I had hoped to see some swans. The temperature dropped to 14°F while I was driving around, plus there was a brisk north wind. I could see a few swans flying around in the distance, but none close.

Miller House

Miller House: This might give you an idea of the new snowfalls. The distant Tetons were covered with clouds. I didn’t see any elk from the road, nor any bighorns on Miller Butte.

Mallards In Flight

Mallards In Flight: As I was looking for Trumpeter Swans, this group of Mallards flew by.

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November 9

Sunday Morning in the Park: I did a quick reconnaissance trip into the park this morning after being gone for about 10 days. The only snow is on the highest peaks. I suspect the “hunt” has been lousy seeing there were no elk on the Refuge. Pronghorns were clustered east of Mormon Row. I found a couple of dozen moose along the GV Road and Ditch Creek Road. There were a few mule deer scattered around. I only saw three or four bison.

Moulton Barn and Grand

Moulton Barn and Grand: I was the only person taking shots there today.

Bull Moose and Grand

Bull Moose and Grand: Two of half a dozen moose in one group.

Bull Moose in Sage

Bull Moose in Sage:

Upcoming Weather Changes: We made it home in front of a big change forecasted for next week. It has been unseasonably warm here, but highs will be in the mid-20s to low 30s all next week, along with a snow in the forecast.

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November 8

Maui to the Tetons

Maui to the Tetons: Yesterday morning, I took the left half of this image along the shore of eastern Maui. This morning, I took the right half of the image from the airport here in Jackson Hole. We had a wonderful trip, but it is also nice to be back home. I just finished downloading over 6400 images from the trip and will probably make a Feature Post for this blog, even though the island is over 3000 miles away.

I find myself feeling like I need to apologize for not being here to make current updates, but this was a “bucket list” trip for us. It hit at a good time for us and it was also Hawaii’s shoulder season.  I don’t think much of the island actually changes much as it does here. For them, it is just a matter of the number of people going there at any one time.

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November 4

New Feature Post: Scalawags and Bridges ~ The Old Buffalo Fork Bridge:

Still in Maui. I hope you’ve already found the link, but if not, click on the WEBCAMS button in the navigation bar. This site has been building a page of links to almost all of the area webcams. Soon, I’ll be adding a (permanent) similar link for a site with lots of area HIKES.

It’s a state holiday here…designed to let  people get out and vote. Schools are out, but Federal operations are still open. 2:00pm>>81degrees>>Jackson 39degrees.  Sunsets have been spectacular.

Yesterday, we started out very early on a snorkel diving trip at a beautiful reef about 10 miles off shore. I wish I had rented an underwater camera for $30 for the day or $60 for the week. I’ll know next time and maybe it will help you someday.

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November 3

Jackson

Jackson: November 3

image Maui: November 3

Cold with recent snow in JH, Warm and sunny in Maui. I am on a Verizon Pad…it’s a little harder making links, so click the link in the right nagation bar to see the new Feature Post about the old Buffalo Fork River bridge.

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November 1:

Happy November…already! Still in Maui. Last night, we went to a Halloween “event” in Lahaina. Roughly 10,000 people convergerd on this small oceanside town–many of which were dressed for Halloween. I took my camera and a remote strobe and got some wonderful photos. They should make a nice Feature Post when I get home. Remember to set your clocks to “fall back”

Maui sunset

Maui Sunset from my Verizon pad.750line

Current Road Closures:

  • Teton Park Road (Inner Park Loop Road) closed on November 1st.
  • RKO Road: This road runs from the Teton Park Road towards the Snake River, then north along the river to an area just south of Signal Mountain.
  • Mormon Row Road: From about half a mile north of Gros Ventre Road to the Bed and Breakfast.
  • Warm Springs Road: This is the road heading West from the Kelly Warm Springs going towards Mormon Row. The last 1/3 is closed.
  • Bike Path along the National Elk Refuge closed on November 1st.
  • Fishing on the National Elk Refuge ended on October 31st.
  • Many of the trails on the West side of Jenny Lake are closed 

 

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Comment (1)

  1. Jackie Ireland

    Thank You Mike, love the images.

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