Monday, August 27, 2012

Our Yellowstone Vacation - Day 2

Day 2 – June 9, 2012 – Saturday: We heard heavy rain during the night. Between that and the loud heater in our cabin, we didn’t sleep too well. At one point during the night I got up and switched off the circuit breaker to the cabin heater. The control knob just spun around so it was impossible to figure out how to set the temperature or turn off the heater. It was just too hot and too noisy to sleep. We were up at 3AM and slowly got ready and out the door by 5:30AM. We drove back down Teton Park Rd. and I spotted grizzly 610 and her three cubs just past the Mt. Moran scenic turnout. They were only about 10 yards off the road at first and we had them all to ourselves for the first 30 minutes. We stayed in our car taking photos and just enjoying this magical experience. It was so peaceful out there watching these very wet bears dig around the sagebrush. Eventually other cars finally saw what we were looking at and we realized that we just started our own bear jam! We watched them for nearly two hours. They moved farther off the road and we felt safe enough to get out of the car for more photos. No rangers ever appeared (probably too early) and the bears moved farther way until there was no point in sticking around.

 We continued south on the road, stopping at every turnout and also stopping at String Lake. There was a fresh dusting of snow on the mountains which made for some pretty photos. We also stopped at the Jenny Lake scenic overlook but the view of the Tetons is my least favorite there.

We then stopped at Jenny Lake for the hike to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. It was still a little early so we had to wait a bit for the shuttle boat to begin operations. It was a great hike and the views were incredible! We went past Inspiration Point and almost to Cascade Canyon until we decided to turn back. You really feel the effects of the altitude when hiking up these steep trails! Along the way we saw many marmots and some very tame ground squirrels who would come right up to you, almost begging for a handout. People reported seeing a deer & fawn along the trail but we never saw them.

 Back on the road we encountered another jam at the Taggart Lake trailhead. There was a female moose just across the road standing there by the creek. We got some good photos and moved on.

After a stop at the Chapel of the Transfiguration we turned around and headed back north on Teton Park Rd.

 The weather was starting to turn worse quickly at this point. We stopped for the moose again just to see if anything changed. As we continued north the temperature kept dropping and we saw snow. We were back to Colter Bay by 2:30PM and spent some time shopping in their general store. The prices there were actually better than Albertson’s and they had a pretty good selection. We picked up a few more things there as well as some beer for me. In the evening we went back out and found a jam at Pilgrim Creek. A large blonde female grizzly had just crossed the highway and was headed to the east. We took the gravel road there as far as we could (the ranger had it blocked off). We stayed there a while getting photos of “blondie” even thought it was a long way out, even for 400mm lenses.

There was quite a crowd gathered back there on that dirt road! After she moved too far out too see we headed back to the car but people kept coming and coming.

We went back south on Teton Park Rd. but didn’t see any wildlife. We were back in Colter Bay by 9PM and immediately went to bed.

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