Monday, September 07, 2009

Seize the Weekend

We've developed a small reputation around work for being eager to get out and see the sights around here. My coworkers, who are from here or have lived here for many years, were joking that they needed to ask Peter and I about things they should do locally. It has been really fun to be able to do so many things that we enjoy so much but weren't really able to do in Houston. Or at least weren't able to do in such pristine locations. We've been camping 6 times in 4 months. It's been spectacular. But also really exhausting. That ground seems to get harder and harder. And I might be a wee bit burned out. Consequently, our trip this Labor Day weekend to Grand Teton National Park was uncharacteristically laid back. We only went on one hike. And we spent a lot of time sitting around watching for wildlife. Which was wonderfully relaxing.

What we have really been wanting to see is a Moose. On our hike yesterday we came tantalizingly close but not all the way there. We saw a Moose's antlers. He was sitting across the river, shaded in thick foliage. We could see his antlers and his ears twitching back and forth but we didn't actually see him.

Yet, we weren't complaining because that morning we had seen two bald eagles, a family of otters, a few beavers, a coyote and a marmot.

I don't have a good picture of the otters. They were a pleasure to watch; such jovial creatures. It was like a big family party. Like My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Otter Style. They were slipping in and out of the water, tumbling with each other on the bank and feasting on huge fish. The beavers appeared to be a stodgier folk. They seemed to due away with the frivolities of life and get down to the business of eating and preparing wood for their lodge. We could actually hear them munching from the other side of the river. Yet this is only my impression. I don't actually know any beavers or otters personally.

This is a yellow-bellied marmot. Until a few years ago I thought marmot was simply a brand of outdoor clothing. I was surprised to learn, it's also an animal! One whose lifestyle I very much approve. We saw some of these fellows a few years ago when we hiked Wheeler Peak. They were basking in the sun and preening. I like animals who bask because no matter what I'm doing, I always wish that I could be taking a nap in a sunbeam. Really, I think there's far too little emphasis on lounging in this modern world of ours.

Anyways, I was happy to have seen so much. Several of those animals I have never seen in the wild. But we were still hoping for that elusive Moose. We stayed out past dark and rose before sunrise to try to get a glimpse of one. Yet, this morning we still hadn't seen one. So, we were preparing to leave the park without a sighting. But while it was still fairly early we decided to give it one more try. We drove out to a place called Blacktail Ponds which provide perfect grazing opportunities for moose. And, behold:

A Moose! And...

Another Moose!

We watched them graze for a while. Then we left to go by the little nearby town to get gas. So, we made one turn and saw...

A third moose! Right by the road!

There were two other bulls behind the one close to the road but we couldn't get good pictures of them. I believe that our moose viewing needs are officially met! What fun. Here are some other pictures:

What a colorful feast


johnrgriffin said...

A...freakin'...mazing pictures! I believe that you have posted a collection of pictures that could be elegantly titled..."My three meese" (or is it moosen?)


Anonymous said...

Your pictures are certainly ambassadorial, nothing speaks of the area like the wildlife and foliage...can't wait to see them in person. You mean, there are other places on earth just as beautiful as Texas. I have found that the most beautiful things are fleeting, if it was a constant, it would no longer be beautiful, just average!