Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Smoky Day in the Tetons

On September 23, we drove from West Yellowstone, where we had been staying, down through the South Entrance and, from there, to Grand Teton National Park. Before leaving Yellowstone, though, we stopped to see Kepler Cascades.

Kepler Cascades - Yellowstone

Then we continued on to Grand Teton National Park, known for its majestic mountain scenery. Unfortunately, the smoke from numerous wildfires almost completely obscured those mountain views.

Grand Tetons hidden by smoke

Another view of the smoke-covered mountains with some fall color in the foreground

By mid-afternoon, the thick smoke had lifted, leaving the mountains in a smoky haze.

Since the mountain views were disappointing, we went looking for wildlife. The park newspaper suggested that the road between the towns of Moose and Wilson offered good opportunities for bear sightings, so that's where we headed.

We hadn't gone far before seeing this moose grazing in a small pond.

A little further down the road was this big bull moose.

And this is the crowd gathered to photograph yonder moose.

After getting our photos of the bull moose, we returned to our vehicle and were preparing to continue on down the road. Before we could work our way out of the jumble of cars parked haphazardly by those hurrying to photograph the moose, we looked across the road and saw a bear in the woods. (Sorry, no picture...again) Sitting on a log not 20 feet from the bear was a man.
My first thought was that he had seen the bear and had foolishly gone over there to get a photo. The bear was just passing through, gorging on berries as it went. When it was gone, the man came across the road to where several of us had been watching. He looked a little shaken. It seems he had just gone over there to sit on that log while waiting for his wife or friend to shoot some pictures of the moose. The bear came through the woods, surprising him. So he just sat very still and waited for the bear to leave. I suppose he felt reasonably safe, with all of us standing across the road watching the whole drama unfold.
Following are a few more photos from this visit to the Tetons.

The T. A. Moulton Barn on Mormon Row
The John Moulton Barn, also on Mormon Row

A last look at the Tetons in the late-afternoon light


  1. Beautiful country. Beautiful pictures.

  2. Absolutely stunning photos, Linda!

  3. Oh my goodness, I would have been ecstatic to see moose and bear! What beautiful photos with the fall foliage as a backdrop. All of your photos are beautiful. While I was reading this I had images in my mind of piling all three dogs in the car and just driving to enjoy the scenery. There's so much beauty right here in America.

  4. The Tetons are beautiful even with the smoky sky. Yikes! That would be too close for me with a bear. Don't know if I had been able to sit still,I would have probably bolted.

  5. My goodness! I loved these pictures! The first one took my breath away!

  6. the fence shot with the mountains in the background was positively yummy! the barns, too. the moose are awesome! feel sorry for that guy with the bear - although he will have a story to tell until his dying day...

  7. You made me laugh with the photo of the crowd taking pictures of the moose. First the wild looking pictures and then the reality... :) Yet it must have been a great experience.

    I admire the man who was brave enough to stay still, I wouldn't believe it would work. Perhaps if he panicked and tried to run away, he would have caught attention of the bear and the situation could have developed much worse.

    The Teton mountains look wonderful, wild and majestic, even in the haze.

  8. Thank you, Stephen.

    Linda, Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed them.

    Thanks, Gail. We were pretty excited to see the moose, especially that big bull. If you and your dogs ever take that road trip together, I'll look forward to the resulting photos.

    Ruth, the Tetons are amazingly beautiful, as you said, even in the haze. As for the guy on the log, it would have killed me to be sitting that close to a bear without a camera. :)

    Thank you, BB!

    Theresa, knowing your love of fencery and barns, I did think of you when I posted those shots. You're right about the guy with the bear and the stories he can tell.

    Petra, glad you got a chuckle out of that shot. I think the man on the log felt that the rest of us would help him if the bear turned on him. But it all happened so quickly, and the bear moved on without incident. "Wild and majestic"...a good description of the Tetons.

  9. HI Linda, Makes me want to go back there --when the smoke isn't so bad. ALSO--we want to see a Moose... That is awesome --especially the Bull Moose.


    1. Betsy, those two moose were really a special treat. It's been years since we've seen them. We just watched one of our old Yellowstone videos...from 1994, I think...and we must have seen at least six moose on that trip, as well as bunches of elk. It's not the same these days.

  10. I had the great luck to travel through the Grand Teton's once in the fall!

    I still remember the intense, lonely beauty of the place!

    I'm going to have to talk to my husband about taking a road trip there again!

    Although we probably wouldn't attempt it now...I bet there's snow on the way.

    Lovely pictures.

    1. Hi, Jenny. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. The Tetons are amazing, aren’t they? I like your description of their “intense beauty.” It fits.

  11. I think your morning in the Tetons was even smokier than ours, but I'm glad you got some fairly good views of the mountains. We also saw the barns on Mormon Row, but we didn't see any moose or bears. We're definitely going to have to go back.

    1. George, the moose and bear were on the Moose-Wilson Road. Growing along that section of road are lots of the berries that bears like to eat when fattening up for the winter. And there are some swampy areas that the moose like. We were really excited to see them. You might be able to work in a visit to the Tetons when you go out to Yosemite.

  12. Linda, you have some simply amazing pictures! They make me want to take another vacation :) I especially liked that last pic...and the BARNS! I've always loved BARNS!

    1. Thanks, Diane. You're the first to mention that last picture. I thought the lighting gave it kind of a dramatic look. Those two barns are considered the most photographed barns in America. You'll see them often on calendars.

  13. Just wow. I'd love to see a moose.. and a bear. Not even necessarily at the same time!

    1. Hilary, it was pretty thrilling for us, too!


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