What’s in Store for 2018

2018 Plans and Trips

It’s 2018. Time for new plans and trips. This year I will mark my 5th anniversary at my company. That earns me a bonus week of vacation. So I’ll have 4 adventures to share this year. Of course I’ll be exploring local sights and scenes in between trips. So what do I have in mind for this busy year?

Surf's upHawaii Big and Small

First up is Hawaii. I mentioned in my last post that I am headed back to Maui in February. You won’t have long to wait for those details. In March I’m heading back across the Pacific to spend a week on The Big Island. The Big Island was what started all this travel. It was my first real vacation back in 2007. My mom and sister joined me at Sea Mountain Resort  on the windward side of Hawaii (The Big Island). This is the lush, rain forest side of the Island. It’s also quite close to Volcano National Park.  We only took one tour, a plane ride over the island. The rest of the time we rented a car and Big Island Waterfallexplored. We searched for everything from black sand beaches to erupting volcanoes and I was hooked. I fell in love with both travel and Hawaii. This trip will be to Kona on the dry side of the island.

Wyoming Again

After my March vacation the busy season starts at work. I’ve tried taking vacation then but it’s not easy so I plan to limit myself to weekend excursions until the End of September. I have unfinished business in Yellowstone. Originally I tried to get accomodations in Idaho so I could enter the western side of the park but nothing was available.  That means I’ll be going back to Teton Village in Jackson. It will mean alot more driving to reach the park sections I want to visit but the condo at Teton Village is gorgeous so I’ll make the sacrifice. One change, I plan to rent an SUV this trip!

An Active geyser

The Bonus Trip

I still have one more trip to plan. It’s my bonus vacation. I think that deserves a post of its own.



The Road (or flight) Home

On the road again

The road home from Jackson turned out to be an interesting challenge. I woke up around 3 am only to find that it had snowed.  Yup 6 inches of slippery, sloppy white stuff. My concierge told me I had a front wheel drive car so I’d have no problem getting to the airport. Then he went out to bring the car around and got stuck!

Plow Schedule

Loading my bags into the car my valet cheerfully explained that the roads aren’t plowed until after 9 am. He didn’t even know if they would bother to plow today or just let it melt. I could expect to have snow covered roads and highway all the way to the airport. Oh Joy!

The Snowy Drive

The first part of the drive was pretty dicey. It’s very dark out there in Wyoming! The snow was still coming down and when you met another car or truck, splat! Jackson was a different story. With less snow and more traffic most of the road was just wet. It continued that way until the airport. I’m sure the locals hated me because I kept my speed right around 35-40 mph. Once in the airport I found the car rental return only to face a windy, cold trek to the terminal.

Delay upon Delay

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Jackson Hole Airport (stock photo)

Once inside I learned my flight was delayed due to the condition of the run way. Ok by me. I’d rather be safe on the ground that plastered against one of the mountains that ring the airport. As I chatted with a fellow traveler I learned she was the same person that had watched the elk herd with me a few days before! Small world.

Elk Migration

Are we ready now?

As we chatted they changed gates for my flight and started to check in. But it was not to be. My connecting flight is in Denver and turns out the airport was closed  due to fog. We had to wait for Denver to reopen. Finally we had the green light and boarding began. One last trip through the de-icer and we were ready to roll. Everyone held a collective breath as the plane slid (quite literally) into position but finally we were airborne, climbing steeply over the majestic Tetons. We were lucky to get out of Jackson Hole!

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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