Denver is a Rocky Mountain High

Denver, the Mile High Airport

We finally arrived at Denver International Airport. As we made touch down I began to feel a bit antsy. I didn’t know if I’d be able to make my connection since we got such a late start out of Jackson Hole. Once we got the ok to activate our cell phones an alert came through that my connecting flight to Boston was, in fact, delayed by 3o minutes. I was so relieved. But the  relief was short lived.

Denver airport

Stock Photo

Watch Out for the Fuel Truck!

We were on our way to the gate when we were brought to a halt. There we were on the tarmac just waiting. After about 5 minutes the pilot decided to share  the problem with us. One of the fuel trucks had broken down right in the middle of the runway !  We had to wait until they got a tow truck that could move such a large vehicle. The minutes ticked past and so did the boarding time for my connection.

Mad Dash To the Gate

Finally we got the go-ahead to move to the gate. The plane  couldn’t unload fast enough for me. I felt like I was on the longest jetway in the world! Once in the terminal I didn’t waste time looking for signs. I asked for directions. It was much farther between gates than I expected but as I hustled up to the attendant I saw a flight delay to Boston posted. Breathing hard I gasped out to the attendant “Is That My Flight!”


Time to Relax

Turns out it was. The attendant and the other folks in line thought it was hilarious that I was so happy for a flight delay. It seems the connecting flight couldn’t land in Denver because of the same fog that caused us to be delayed in Jackson Hole. They were re-routed to Colorado Springs. They just got the ok to come on to Denver. We had to wait for them to arrive. I could relax and catch my breath.


The flight from Colorado Springs eventually arrived and we all got boarded. The flight to Boston was uneventful. I finally arrived home. A bit later than planned but safe and sound. Traveling is fun but coming home is pretty nice too.

Rocky's happy to see me

Happy Trails

Happy Trails to you

Roy Rogers always signed off with the song Happy Trails to you, Until we meet again. That’s a western song, right?  It’s my last full day in Jackson. Happy Trails to me. My Wyoming adventure is coming to a close. I stayed by the condo most of the day doing laundry and packing. I like to take things a little easy the day before a long plane trip. My flight had been changed from 10:30 am to 6:30 am so I’d be heading to the airport in the wee hours of the morning.

TepeeOne Last Wildlife Search

As the afternoon rolled around I decided to drive up to Dornan’s. It seemed appropriate to finish where I started. I went to Dornan’s for lunch when I first arrived so I thought I’d do a little souvenir shopping there to wrap up the trip. They were having a big end of the season sale. Of course it was also a chance to take a last look around for wildlife. It was getting cold and there were occasional snow flurries when I headed out.

Mule Deer at Moose Junction

Did you get my best side

One animal that had been rather scarce were the mule deer. I’d only seen 2 my whole trip. There had been more bears than deer. On a whim I turned down Moose -Wilson Road when I arrived at Moose Junction. I’d no sooner made the turn than I spotted a deer right near the road. I drove past and pulled over. I got my camera and started to walk back to where I’d seen the doe. I really didn’t expect her to still be there but she was. She didn’t seem to be that afraid of me, wary maybe but she didn’t go running off. She even seemed interested in the sound of the shutter as I snapped some photos. She has two rambunctious youngsters with her that only showed themselves long enough to check me out then disappeared back into the brush.

Curious Deer

It’s Cold Out There

Mule Deer Doe

I stayed there by the side of the road as long as I could before the cold wind got to me. Leaving the deer behind I checked the bog overlook- no moose and the shrub where the little bear had been but that was empty too. As I drove back to Dornan’s I noticed the deer had gone. At least I had one last wildlife encounter.


An Afternoon Surprise

lunch of yummy berriesAnother afternoon Moose

The afternoon was waning so I left the little bear to his berries. I planned to continue checking for moose. There’s a swampy area right at the Moose Junction end of Moose-Wilson road. The parking area looks out over the bog. This is supposed to be a great spot for moose but so far I haven’t had any luck here. I pulled in to park for a bit but as the sun slid toward the horizon all was quiet. Time to wrap up for the day.

A Bit of Deja-Vu

Moose in the afternoonAt the end of Moose-Wilson Road I turned right past Moose Junction and the Visitor Center. Taking another right I was back on the main road to Jackson. I’d just passed the Jackson Hole Airport when I saw cars lining both sides of the road. Another critter jam. This time everyone was looking west toward the Teton range. The sun was angling right into my eyes. At first I couldn’t see what everyone was looking at because of the sun. Suddenly I got the angle right and I spotted it. It was another moose.

Moose watchingBull Moose

This was the same area where I saw the last moose but that time the moose was on the left side of the road. This time the road was above the marshy ground on the right side of the road. It looked a lot like the same moose. He was just as unconcerned as the other one too. This time instead of wandering along the side of the road he was meandering toward the road from across the large field. It was hard to get an angle where the sun wasn’t hitting the camera lens directly.

Here Comes Bullwinkle

Moose in the setting sun

As the big guy headed toward me I took as many pictures as I could. Since the field only had some streams and marsh I wasn’t going to get that iconic photo of a moose in a pond but I’ll take what I can get. For quite awhile it seemed Bullwinkle would head right at my car but when he was about half way across the field he changed directions. He was still heading for the road but now he was going to meet up with it way behind me. It was time to move on. My photo ops had passed.


Moose in the afternoon

Cute Enough To Cuddle

Being Cute is RelativeInto the woods

Not every bear is my idea of cute. The mama grizzly and her two cubs were cute. The grizzly that headed my way at Grand Teton was not cute. I was kicking around the condo scrounging dinner when I decided to take a late afternoon drive. I was nearing the end of my vacation so I didn’t want to waste a late afternoon, the best time of day for animal sighting.


Approaching Grizzly

Moose-Wilson Road

There’s a road from Teton Village to Moose Junction. It’s a major shortcut but it was easily the worse road I’ve ever driven. Most of the road is dirt and it clearly had not been graded in a long time. If it wasn’t a washboard it was loaded with pot holes and ruts. The pot holes were deep and huge as were the ruts. I missed my SUV! Your car could bottom out and the tires still hadn’t hit the bottom. I drove this road when I first arrived and swore I’d never take it again but it’s a good place for moose so against my better judgement I found myself picking my way through the pot hole minefield.

Critter Jam Ahead

As I approached the swampy section of Moose-Wilson Rd. I could see a lot of cars pulled over. At least they were trying to pull over. Too close to the edge of the road and they’d be mired in the swamp muck. I pulled over too, As I walked past the parked cars I bumped into a man coming my way. I asked him what was going on…accident or animal? He said a bear was in a tree right next to the road.

Bear Up a tree

This bear is cute

Little black bear

Ok that is worth walking closer. As I came around the curve in the road I saw even more cars double parked and a crowd on the edge of the road. To say the shoulder would be a lie, there was no shoulder. Sure enough there was a little tree, more like a shrub, right next to the road and sitting in the tree was a very fat cinnamon colored bear. He didn’t have a hump and was much smaller than a grizzly. In spite of his color he was a black bear and all he wanted to do was eat the berries in the tree. The crowd was far closer than the recommended 100 yards but this bear didn’t seem to mind. He was having a great time with the berries and the crowd was having a great time watching him.

lunch of yummy berries

Antler Arches and The Town Square

Elk Antlers make great Arches

Elk Antler arches are everywhere in Jackson but the main ones are the four corners of the town square. The way into the little park is to enter at one of the arches. These amazing piles of antlers were all collected from the elk refuge once the bulls shed them in the spring  The large male elk grow these impressive horns to attract females during the rut.

Antlers on a large Bull elk

They also spar with other males to exert dominance. Once the successful males have gathered their females (harem ) they will “drop” their heavy head gear in the spring. The boy scouts collect the dropped antlers and sell them at public auction each May. The money raised from the sale of these antlers is funneled back into the Elk Sanctuary in the form of feed for the next winter. Don’t think you can snitch an antler from one of the arches, that’s considered theft and there’s a $750.00 fine! Sanding under the archway is a great place for a “selfie”.

Antler Arch in Town Sq. Jackson WY

entrance to gakkeryNext Up, Mangelsen Nature Gallery

I don’t have many famous photographers that I follow. I’m happier with local talent. They are approachable and easy to talk to, sort of. As long as I don’t let myself become too awe struck. Of course there are the National Geographic photographers. I couldn’t tell you any of their names but I admire their work. Which brings me to Thomas D. Mangelsen. I’ve admired many of his photos. They’ve served as both my challenge and my inspiration. He has a gallery right there in Jackson. Of course I had to stop in. Because of copy-write laws I can’t show you any of his photos here but follow this link. I promise it will be worth it. You’ll find my favorite photo of all time in the Legacy Reserve Collection. Can you guess which one it is? See the brown bear catching the fish while standing in the falls? That’s THE PHOTO, my absolute all time favorite. I can just imagine the challenge, the patience, the number of close but not quite shots. And he did with film! Not a digital camera. Amazing!