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

Is there a Photo Opportunity Here?

Moose are high on my Photo Wish List

A moose photo is a challenge, at least for me. They are solitary creatures. Moose are the largest species in the deer family. The males have huge flat antlers. Other members of the deer family have treelike branching antlers. Moose are called Twig Eaters. It’s their ability to survive on twigs and browse that gave them this nick-name but they are also well known for eating tons of  aquatic plants when they can find them. My first moose picture was in Maine in the summer of 2012.

Nice moose – bad picture. My 2nd chance came in Alaska in 2013 from a moving bus while the moose scrambled up a dirt bank.

Is this my chance for The Moose Picture?

If you’ve followed my blog for long you know that I went to Maine in June of this year (2017) to try to get an iconic moose photo for my wildlife collection. I saw moose but they were pretty mangy looking.

A Moose heading for the trees

They were also by the side of the road. One thing about wildlife photography is that there’s a lot of luck involved. You need to be in the right place at the right time and hope the animals cooperate. Now here I was once again on the side of a road, camera in hand, hoping for that picture that would let me cross MOOSE off my list.

It’s a Moose on the Loose

As I reached Gros Ventre I ran into the biggest traffic jam yet. I kept driving but very slowly. I didn’t see anything. Then about halfway down the gauntlet of cars I saw it, a massive bull moose. He was in no hurry, or so it seemed. I saw the antlers first. The afternoon sun reflected off them but his dark coat seemed to blend into the brush. I expected him to head for the hills.

Come on Mr. Moose

Hey Mr. Moose give me a something worthwhile. I tried. He was certainly handsome enough. A nice shiny coat, big antlers and he was just strolling along. I snapped picture after picture but I just couldn’t capture the image I was looking for. I guess my moose photo quest will continue.

Finally Teton Village Signs

Teton ClubTeton Village and Resorts

 

Teton Village should be on this road somewhere. I’m just not sure how far. This is the west when, like Maine, everything is “down the road a-piece”. No one has ever been able to tell me how far ” a-piece” is. The nice thing is the speed limit is a leisurely 45 mph. (35 mph at night). As I drove along 390 I saw another moose by the side of the road. I began slowing down when I realized it was a silhouette. I counted 3 fake moose before the speed limit moved up to 55 mph. 

Teton Club

After passing a few more fields and pastures I finally spotted the sign for Teton Village. From there is was just a few more quick turns through the Village and I was pulling under the porte-cochère. A valet came right out to help with my luggage and park my car. Boy That’s service! Check in was a breeze too. The great room has a fire place and comfortable sofa and chairs. It also contains a bar and several rocking chairs in front of the fire.

Your Suite, Madam

Fire Place

Master bedroomMy rooms were really convenient. They were the first set of rooms after the front desk on the first floor. Room 109. And when I say Suite, I mean it. There are two bedrooms, the master bedroom and a 2nd bedroom with twin beds. There are two bathrooms, a full kitchen, a combination living room with gas fireplace and a dining room. There’s a little out door deck but its a bit chilly to be sitting outside. The washer and dryer are late models and tucked away in their own little closet.

2nd bedroom

Dining room

outside deckThe Meal Situation

The one drawback of the resort is that there is no restaurant on premises. They have an exercise room and spa but no place to eat. Other resorts in the Village do have restaurants but not all have convenient hours and they are expensive. Others are closed for the season. Clearly I will need to locate a grocery store.

 

Looking for Teton Village

Teton Village and the Teton Club

My resort is the Teton Club in Teton Village. I has taken me 3 years to get a reservation here. My first impression as I drove along the road from the airport is that this is cow country. Cattle fill the pastures along the way. Of course where there are cows there must be cowboys. There are almost as many pastures filled with horses as there are with cattle.

Horses in the paddock

National Elk Refuge

There is a fence line along the highway with signs for the National Elk Refuge. Right now I don’t see any elk but the refuge was created in 1912. Early residents from Jackson Hole valued the Elk for their antlers, hide and meat. Elk migrate from as far away as southern Yellowstone National Park. The Sanctuary protects elk habitat. The Boy Scouts collect the antlers that are shed and sell them to pay for feed to help the herd survive the harsh winters. I’m hoping the elk migration will begin while I’m here. Elk are on my bucket list to see.

Town of Jackson

My directions take me into the Town of Jackson. What’s the difference between Jackson and Jackson Hole? A hole is a valley and Jackson is a town. So Jackson Hole is the whole area while Jackson is the principal town in the valley. As I entered Jackson I noticed a beautiful Visitor Center. Once I find the resort I’ll have to stop back here. I’m sure they have lots of information. I passed the town square which seems to be the heart of Jackson. The 4 entrances to the town square are marked by huge elk antler arches. They have similar arches at the airport and in front of several motels. There are animal and western sculptures everywhere.

Antler Arch in Town Sq. Jackson WY

There’s a Moose on the Loose!

As I turned onto RT 390 I spotted cars lining both sides of the road. A moose was calmly wandering through someone’s backyard. All the cars on the side of the road belong to people like me-tourists. They were following the poor moose with cameras snapping. My camera was still packed with my luggage in the trunk so no picture this time. I’m still looking for that resort.

Deep Woods Maine Wildlife

Deep Woods Maine Wildlife

My time in Maine is over, at least for this year. So It’s time to do a head count. What kinds of wildlife did I see or experience  while I vacationed in Rangeley. Notice I said saw or experienced because the most prolific wild thing were the black flies. They are such pests but also an integral part of the Maine experience.

So here’s the list

  1. Black Flies-in the thousands.  For an interesting read about these pests , delivered in a humorous manner check out http://downeast.com/blackfly-survival-guide/  

Black flies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  A Blue Jay – Just one on my front porch

Blue Jay

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Bat,  Just one. Wish there had been more. Maybe they would have made a dent in the Black Fly population.

Flying Bat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Crows or Ravens…Not sure which but these big black birds were everywhere.

black bird

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Wild Turkey…Just one but that counts.

tom turkey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Turkey Vultures…6 or 7 circling a bog. Something must be dead in there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.  Fox Kit..This little cutie gave me hope that I might begin to spot some of the famous Maine wildlife.

 

 

 

8. A Mama duck and 4 little ducklings

Mama Duck and baby ducklings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Bald Eagle..Maybe? I know they are in the area but I didn’t get a good l00k;  just a big raptor and a flash of white.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. Lots of little birds. I needed the Audubon Society to figure out what they were.

Little bird in a tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11. Canada Goose. Not very exciting but still it counts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12. A grey squirrel …Just the one. Expected to see more.

 

 

 

 

 

13. Chipmunk ..a little cutie but again, only one. Where are they hiding out?

chipmonk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14. A Moose…Finally my goal species.

Maine Moose by the side of the road

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15. White Tail Deer…I’ve seen them before but they never fail to entertain.

Deer at rest

 

 

 

 

 

A Great Learning Experience

I fancy myself a wildlife photographer (amateur) and I’ve had some success. This week showed me how far I still have to go.  But I had fun and that’s the main thing when you’re on vacation. I’ll definitely plan another trip to Maine. It’s beautiful country. Maybe I’ll hire a guide to help me locate animals.  Some of them use blinds. Yes, That’s going on my list for the next trip.