Tag Archives: Northwest national parks

3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Wildlife IN YOUR FACE in Grand Teton National Park

Or is that ON YOUR FEET?

Wildlife in and around Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming aren’t bashful. In fact, they seem to know they own the place. Boisterous chipmunks like to rub it in your face, or rub their face into you, as the case may be.

Grand Teton National Park and area, wildlife viewings, Wyoming, Jenny Lake, Colter Bay, Jackson Hole, moose, mule deer, bison

In the Tetons, humans can’t vie for secondary nor even tertiary position in the food chain.

Moose ignore you while munching on a veggie breakfast . . .

Even mamma and her baby don’t seem too concerned.

Hell, bison routinely overtake the roadways as if the asphalt were designed for hooves instead of cars. An adult bison weighs about a ton. Needless to say, few autos challenge their collective decision.

This mule deer stepped right up to our campsite at Gros Ventre Campground (the same campground–just south of Grand Teton–where we had all of our moose sightings) and asked for a cup of salt.

Grand Teton National Park and area, wildlife viewings, Wyoming, Jenny Lake, Colter Bay, Jackson Hole, moose, mule deer, bison

We redirected him and his eight-point rack that-a-way while we attempted to discreetly shove our 80-pound dog this-a-way into our car to avoid a confrontation.

As if this all weren’t enough, I had a run-in with this grizzly. As you can see, I was more frightened of him than he of me . . .

grizzly bear, Grand Teton National Park and area, wildlife viewings, Wyoming, Jenny Lake, Colter Bay, Jackson Hole, moose, mule deer, bison

From the safety of a fort we found at the edge of Colter Bay, Mark tried to track the bear after it ran away  . . .

I found an anti-social elk who seemed kinda stiff . . .

elk, Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center, Grand Teton National Park and area, wildlife viewings, Wyoming, Jenny Lake, Colter Bay, Jackson Hole, moose, mule deer, bison

and imagined how many fell to create an archway as grand as this . . .

Grand Teton National Park and area, wildlife viewings, Wyoming, Jenny Lake, Colter Bay, Jackson Hole, moose, mule deer, bison

We had some close-up moments with the wildlife at Grand Teton. It was amazing but is always dangerous. So, make sure you give wildlife respect by giving them space (Yellowstone Bison vs. Humans: You Can’t Fix Stupid), especially when they seem to want to get in YOUR face.

No matter where we drove in Grand Teton, her white-capped, rugged peaks stole the show and crowded the camera lens. Just like the wildlife, the mountains themselves reminded us that we share this planet with more powerful and beautiful things.

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As with Yellowstone  (3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Wild, Wicked Yellowstone National Park), we only spent what added up to a day-and-a-half at Grand Teton. A few days is not enough to explore any national park, and Grand Teton is no different.  It’s a hiker’s, climber’s, explorer’s paradise . . .

Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor Center, Grand Teton National Park and area, wildlife viewings, Wyoming, Jenny Lake, Colter Bay, Jackson Hole, moose, mule deer, bison
Okay, so I’m just faking it at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center at Grand Teton National Park, but . . . you know . . . I could do it if I wanted to . . . IF I wanted to. 🙂

And oh so easy on the eyes. Just to prove a point, Mark said there’s no such thing as a bad picture in the Tetons and proved it by willy nilly snapping a picture out the car window without looking. And he was right . . .

Grand Teton National Park and area, wildlife viewings, Wyoming, Jenny Lake, Colter Bay, Jackson Hole, moose, mule deer, bison

We know we’ll be back some day.  But a three-week road trip, in the end amounting to 4,400 miles, requires a tight schedule. Utah and five of its best national parks is the next stop. Onward and outward!



 

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We’re happy to help!

If you have any questions about where we’ve been, any aspects of the experience we didn’t share here, please use our ‘Contact’ page to send us an email with your question(s). We’ll do our best to provide you the answer if we know it or will at least fabricate something entirely convincing.

If FACEBOOK is your thing, LIKE us on FACEBOOK and see all our latest posts:

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To see our original trip route map, click on the first post of this mini-series:

Teardrop Trailer Summer Road Trip: 9 NW States, 8 Nat’l Parks

Or any of our stops so far on the way . . .

Day 1, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Travel Log: Willits, CA, KOA Campground

Early Day 2, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Toilet Bowls, Vintage New Yorkers, and the Eclectic

Later Day 2, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Drive-Thru Redwoods, Giants, and Castles

Day 3, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Gigantic Marshmallows of Oregon

Day 4, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Captivating Washington Coastline

Day 5, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Olympiad Deer, Bald Eagles, and Chica Birds

Early Day 6, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Port Townsend, WA, See It All and Sea Otters Too!

Later Day 6, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, WA

Day 7, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Goodbye Olympic Peninsula; Hello Seattle!

Day 8, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Hay, Washington! Spuds! Spokane!

Day 9, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: It’s a Dog’s Life for Me

Midway on 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Just Stop; You’re Missing It!

3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Wild, Wicked Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone Bison vs. Humans: You Can’t Fix Stupid

One ton of locomotive-grade muscle vs. 140 pounds of brain matter-challenged human flesh.
Do the math . . . carry the nine . . . Bison beats Humans every time.

At Yellowstone National Park, I saw a brown blip on my visual radar. Binoculars confirmed my suspicion. I had spotted a wild animal–in this case, a bison.

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Bison at river’s edge

I trailed it for a while from across a river until I saw it come to water’s edge and realized it may actually cross the river, and sure enough . . .

bison attacks humans, stupidity, respect for nature, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, wildlife attacks
That bison swam across that river in a FLASH!

Eager to snap a good photo, I ran to the car for a camera, but by the time I returned, the bison was gone. Gone! What the? Where the? Who the?

Holy crap! That’s one fast bison!

I guess I was standing there quite a while searching for the behemoth mammal from roughly 200 yards away from the forested patch it slipped into when I turned around and saw the empty road behind me suddenly full of cars and curious humans. Nobody knew yet what they were looking for. They just figured I’d seen something good and were ready to get their chance to do the same.

That’s right. To the best of my knowledge, nobody else had seen the bison or how fast the steam engine of a mammal only moments ago crossed the waterway. Nobody but me had recently been reminded the impressive power of these animals.

This guy dressed in bright purple and yellow–part of a crew of three similarly dressed tourists who had literally ran INTO, and now out of, the forest in search of the beast–had no concept of its ability to maim.

bison attacks humans, stupidity, respect for nature, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, wildlife attacks
See the brightly dressed tourist on the far right . . . I know for the sure the bison does. Ugggggh.

This misguided photographer sure didn’t get a fresh reminder of the animal’s strength . . .

bison attacks humans, stupidity, respect for nature, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, wildlife attacks
Already, against federal regulations, tourist is less than 25 yards (75 feet) from this large animal.
bison attacks humans, stupidity, respect for nature, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, wildlife attacks
And now tourist is even closer, possibly 25 FEET at the most!

And this trio of clueless tourists were unconcerned, backs turned to the bison, carrying on like they were at a Hollywood photo shoot . . .

bison attacks humans, stupidity, respect for nature, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, wildlife attacks
Not one of these tourists is keeping an eye on the bison!
bison attacks humans, stupidity, respect for nature, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, wildlife attacks
Again, against federal regulations, these tourists are possibly 30 FEET maximum away from the wild bison–posing for pictures, most of the time with their backs to the animal.

In the height of concern for these folks who clearly missed the entire common-sense series of lectures from their parents when growing up, I did the only sane thing I could. I switched the camera to video mode and waited to catch what would surely be the next viral video on YouTube:  “Tourists skewed like toasted marshmallows at Yellowstone National Park”

To avoid being all sensationalist and melodramatic about this account, I did my research and wanted to share with you a few words from a National Park Service web page. It reaffirms the repeated warning on every handout we received at the entry gates to the park, “Federal regulations require you stay at least . . . 25 YARDS away from . . . bison . . .” and “If an animal moves closer to you, you should move to maintain the appropriate distance.”

Here is the additional information I researched directly from the National Park Service web page:

The best description of a bison’s temperament is UNPREDICTABLE. They usually appear peaceful, unconcerned, even lazy, yet they may attack anything, often without warning or apparent reason. To a casual observer, a grazing bison appears slow and clumsy, but he can outrun, out turn, and traverse rougher terrain than all but the fleetest horse. They can move at speeds of up to thirty-five miles per hour and cover long distances at a lumbering gallop.

Their most obvious weapon is the horns that both male and female have. But their head, with its massive skull, can be used as a battering ram, effectively using the momentum produced by two thousand pounds moving at thirty miles per hour! The hind legs can also be used to kill or maim with devastating effect.

So . . . I say . . . go ahead folks. Ignore the warnings at the national parks and get those winning photographs you so desire. I’m just sitting here with my video camera focused just right, waiting to strike gold with my video of YOU on YouTube. You might be infinitely famous as a result of my efforts when your name is as well-known around the world as McDonald’s or Michael Jackson, but you’ll be six feet underground and unable to cash in on your instantaneous fame.

Me, however . . . I’ll be raking in the dough and sporting me some fancy yellow and purple hiking duds like the guy below, only I’ll be . . . you know . . . alive.

bison attacks humans, stupidity, respect for nature, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, wildlife attacks
Most other folks didn’t need a neon sign to know they should stay a safe distance away. The guy in the bright yellow and purple outfit thought otherwise.

Oh. And the bison? If this all played out the way it could have, the bison wouldn’t have fared any better than its victim. Instead of sauntering away, like it was trying to do, it likely would’ve been penalized with a death sentence for bashing its 2,000-pound head into a brightly colored humanoid traipsing into the unfortunate animal’s natural, 75-foot-diameter happy space.

bison attacks humans, stupidity, respect for nature, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, wildlife attacks
2,000 pounds of muscle and mayhem (if it so desired). Can run an easy 35 miles per hour. Idiot tourists live to see another day.

Well done, Einstein. Happy now?

Folks, get out there and have fun. Visit your national parks. But, for the love of Pete, read the handouts you receive at the entry gates. Heed the warnings. Be a good global citizen and respect nature. Your life could depend on it.



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This was just one experience of many on our three-week Teardrop Trailer Summer Road Trip to eight national parks in the western United States. To see our original trip route map, click on the first post of this mini-series:

Teardrop Trailer Summer Road Trip: 9 NW States, 8 Nat’l Parks

or check out any of our posts along the way . . .

Day 1, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Travel Log: Willits, CA, KOA Campground

Early Day 2, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Toilet Bowls, Vintage New Yorkers, and the Eclectic

Later Day 2, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Drive-Thru Redwoods, Giants, and Castles

Day 3, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Gigantic Marshmallows of Oregon

Day 4, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Captivating Washington Coastline

Day 5, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Olympiad Deer, Bald Eagles, and Chica Birds

Early Day 6, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Port Townsend, WA, See It All and Sea Otters Too!

Later Day 6, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, WA

Day 7, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Goodbye Olympic Peninsula; Hello Seattle!

Day 8, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Hay, Washington! Spuds! Spokane!

Day 9, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: It’s a Dog’s Life for Me

Midway on 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Just Stop; You’re Missing It!

3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Wild, Wicked Yellowstone National Park

3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Wild, Wicked Yellowstone National Park

Day 10:

Yellowstone blew us away. She was anything but serene as she let off some steam . . . a hot-headed gal by nature—beautiful, but turbulent and unpredictable.

Our date with her started a little flat . . .

Yellowstone National Park, geysers, volcano, hot springs, wildlife, bison, elk, hiking, trails

We immediately saw her wild side and knew we should keep our distance . . .

Grand Tetons, Yellowstone National Park, geysers, volcano, hot springs, wildlife, bison, elk, hiking, trails Grand Tetons, Yellowstone National Park, geysers, volcano, hot springs, wildlife, bison, elk, hiking, trails

But she was so bubbly and vivacious, we couldn’t help but be lured in. Cavernous aqua eyes called to us . . .

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She was steamy . . .

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And caustic . . .

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But she gave us hope . . .

Grand Tetons, Yellowstone National Park, geysers, volcano, hot springs, wildlife, bison, elk, hiking, trails Grand Tetons, Yellowstone National Park, geysers, volcano, hot springs, wildlife, bison, elk, hiking, trailsWe simply couldn’t stay away and came back yet another day.

Day 12:

Whereas we saw her West Side on date one, on date two, we explored her East Side.

She drew us in as she did the day before . . .

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But her toxicity puzzled us and made us curious enough to ask for some insight from a park ranger . . .

Yellowstone National Park, geysers, volcano, hot springs, wildlife, bison, elk, hiking, trails

There is no sugar-coating it. Yellowstone is wild. She’s a fire-breathing dragon . . .

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She is unstable . . .

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But mostly, she is beautiful.

We only spent what added up to a day-and-a-half with Yellowstone. We barely scratched the surface of what she has to offer. The end result is the experience has only made us hungry for more.

As with most national parks, a few days is not enough to explore Yellowstone fully–nor is a week, nor possibly a lifetime. Our nation’s national parks are living, breathing entities that change as much as we do–rough days and calm days, bouts of death and rebirth. The rawness of the parks emulates the human experience in a visceral and often poetic way on the quintessential but unpredictable stage set of life.



 

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We’re happy to help!

If you have any questions about where we’ve been, any aspects of the experience we didn’t share here, please use our ‘Contact’ page to send us an email with your question(s). We’ll do our best to provide you the answer if we know it or will at least fabricate something entirely convincing.

If FACEBOOK is your thing, LIKE us on FACEBOOK and see all our latest posts:

www.facebook.com/TeardropAdventures.com


 

To see our original trip route map, click on the first post of this mini-series:

Teardrop Trailer Summer Road Trip: 9 NW States, 8 Nat’l Parks


Remember…

If you see us the road, HONK!
If you take a picture of us and want to share it, or if you just want to say hi, visit us on FACEBOOK at:

www.facebook.com/TeardropAdventures.com

Midway on 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Just Stop; You’re Missing It!

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Did I mention this 3-week trip to the national parks of the western United States has been a life-long dream of mine? In this moment, I am living my dream. My initial thought was to capture and convey the trip to you as we mozy on from point to point, providing clever narrative and stunning photos as we go.

But I am here . . . living my dream . . . a dream of a lifetime.

So, the trip updates are less frequent than intended, the narratives brief, the photos uncropped.

First, I attempted to write and post every morning, which stole from reflective early morning conversation with my partner.

Second, I tried to write and post from the car en route to the next point. Nice idea, but I was missing the show outside my window. On a trip like this, to places where I’ve never been, every bit of the journey is interesting. When not in national parks or campgrounds, I’m getting a feel for how another part of this country looks, smells, and even tastes.

Distractions involving organizing, resizing, and renaming photos, as well as writing narratives and dealing with an inconsistent internet connection completely detached me from my partner and the joy of the journey.

The third attempt was to post cumulatively after pairs of parks, possibly targeting one major update each for the remaining two weeks. No go. At Yellowstone alone, I snapped 250 photos.

Yesterday, I actually caught up to Day 14 in photos, but realized the challenge before me. We’ve now gone through four additional national parks–Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Arches, and Canyonlands. The task of selecting a sampling of photos at any of these locations is as overwhelming as the great expanses of meadows and canyons we’ve recently traversed.

I may make an attempt to post some Yellowstone pictures soon, but I don’t want to rush it. There is much to say about the experience, and yet I suspect words won’t do it justice.

Just as words are limited, so, too, are photos in capturing the beauty of these places. Yellowstone was sensory overload. So, was Grant Teton. And Arches. And Canyonlands. We still have Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Zion.

I haven’t even talked about the KOA campground experience, dog kennels, and dealing with the unexpected.

I felt pressured at the beginning of the trip to do it all–writing for pleasure, updating the Teardrop Adventures blog regularly, and enjoying the trip. I haven’t written for my own pleasure (nor will I attempt to on this trip.) and am officially slacking off from trying to update the blog in step with each length of the 3-week trip. At this point in the trip, I vow to ENJOY it.

 

Stay connected with Teardrop Adventures (by providing your email in the FOLLOW THIS BLOG option on this web page), and I promise to provide you with additional updates about this eye-opening, life-changing trip.

Happy Trails!

Sue J signature

 

 

 

 

 

To see our original trip route map, click on the first post of this mini-series:

Teardrop Trailer Summer Road Trip: 9 NW States, 8 Nat’l Parks


If FACEBOOK is your thing, LIKE us on FACEBOOK and see all our latest posts:

www.facebook.com/TeardropAdventures.com

Or if you want to get timely updates of the posts we’re sharing here on Teardrop Adventures, use the FOLLOW button(s) on this website to enter your email and you’ll get updates directly to your email box. It’s a safe and secure environment, and we promise not to sell your email address to the underground mob in exchange for the dark chocolate we crave. Really. Promise. No, really.

DAY_7_01Remember…

If you see us the road, HONK!
If you take a picture of us and want to share it, or if you just want to say hi, visit us on FACEBOOK at:

www.facebook.com/TeardropAdventures.com

Day 6, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, WA

When words won’t do, take a picture or two. Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge in Sequim, WA, is picture-ready. Keep camera in hand and slot out a couple of hours for a stroll along the driftwood-drenched, finger-like sand dune that extends five miles and balances a lighthouse on its fingertip. There is no such thing as a lousy photo at this location.

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Impromptu forts,

and art forms abound:
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To see our original trip route map, click on the first post of this mini-series:

Teardrop Trailer Summer Road Trip: 9 NW States, 8 Nat’l Parks


If FACEBOOK is your thing, LIKE us on FACEBOOK and see all our latest posts:

www.facebook.com/TeardropAdventures.com

Or if you want to get timely updates of the posts we’re sharing here on Teardrop Adventures, use the FOLLOW button(s) on this website to enter your email and you’ll get updates directly to your email box. It’s a safe and secure environment, and we promise not to sell your email address to the underground mob in exchange for the dark chocolate we crave. Really. Promise. No, really.

DAY_7_01We’re happy to help!

If you have any questions about where we’ve been, any aspects of the experience we didn’t share here, please use our ‘Contact’ page to send us an email with your question(s). We’ll do our best to provide you the answer if we know it or will at least fabricate something entirely convincing.

Remember…

If you see us the road, HONK!
If you take a picture of us and want to share it, or if you just want to say hi, visit us on FACEBOOK at:

www.facebook.com/TeardropAdventures.com

 

Day 5, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Olympiad Deer, Bald Eagles, and Chica Birds

Olympic National Park is huge, and with time short, we headed straight down to Hurricane Ridge. It’s entrance is due south of Port Angeles, WA–not far from our KOA campground. Hurricane Ridge featured incredible views of ice-capped mountains . . .

and some of the friendliest deer I’ve ever seen. I have a video (I’ll post it some time in the future) of a momma and her babies strolling just three feet in front on me. Fabulous!

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DAY_5_03Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge in Sequim, WA, featured a Bald Eagle sighting:

In the evening, we shared dinner with our new friends at the Port Angeles KOA campground: Barbara and Chica bird.  Barbara picked up food during the day (including a beautiful fresh-caught salmon for only $12), and we cooked it. Nothing like fresh fish and fine company. Chica was a bit quiet but colorful.

Overall, another fantastic day! Tomorrow, we explore Port Townsend and revisit the spit at Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge. Another great day, to be sure.


To see our original trip route map, click on the first post of this mini-series:

Teardrop Trailer Summer Road Trip: 9 NW States, 8 Nat’l Parks


If FACEBOOK is your thing, LIKE us on FACEBOOK and see all our latest posts:

www.facebook.com/TeardropAdventures.com

Or if you want to get timely updates of the posts we’re sharing here on Teardrop Adventures, use the FOLLOW button(s) on this website to enter your email and you’ll get updates directly to your email box. It’s a safe and secure environment, and we promise not to sell your email address to the underground mob in exchange for the dark chocolate we crave. Really. Promise. No, really.

DAY_7_01We’re happy to help!

If you have any questions about where we’ve been, any aspects of the experience we didn’t share here, please use our ‘Contact’ page to send us an email with your question(s). We’ll do our best to provide you the answer if we know it or will at least fabricate something entirely convincing.

Remember…

If you see us the road, HONK!
If you take a picture of us and want to share it, or if you just want to say hi, visit us on FACEBOOK at:

www.facebook.com/TeardropAdventures.com

 

Day 4, 3-Week Teardrop Trailer Trip: Captivating Washington Coastline

Washington State immediately delivered the coastline views we were craving. We ignored our GPS when it wanted to send us east of Olympic National Park to reach our destination of a northern waterfront town, Port Angeles. Instead, we took Route 101 along the west, which meandered through National Park territories.

The day was still a bit overcast, but it didn’t keep us from landing a few great pictures:

What we didn’t catch on camera was an absolutely gorgeous ride at dusk through a stretch of winding road along the length of Lake Crescent. The view was mysterious, alluring, and enchanting. Dark Fiji Island-like mountains cupped in their hands a wide, tranquil, twilight lake. Yet, it was too dark to snap a photo. As with many moments in life, sometimes you need to let your mind soak it in and rely on your memory to play it back.

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It was a long day of travel–some 12 hours by the time we reached our destination–but it was worth it. Day 5 is Olympic National Park . . . can’t wait!


 

To see our original trip route map, click on the first post of this mini-series:

Teardrop Trailer Summer Road Trip: 9 NW States, 8 Nat’l Parks


If FACEBOOK is your thing, LIKE us on FACEBOOK and see all our latest posts:

www.facebook.com/TeardropAdventures.com

Or if you want to get timely updates of the posts we’re sharing here on Teardrop Adventures, use the FOLLOW button(s) on this website to enter your email and you’ll get updates directly to your email box. It’s a safe and secure environment, and we promise not to sell your email address to the underground mob in exchange for the dark chocolate we crave. Really. Promise. No, really.

DAY_7_01We’re happy to help!

If you have any questions about where we’ve been, any aspects of the experience we didn’t share here, please use our ‘Contact’ page to send us an email with your question(s). We’ll do our best to provide you the answer if we know it or will at least fabricate something entirely convincing.

Remember…

If you see us the road, HONK!
If you take a picture of us and want to share it, or if you just want to say hi, visit us on FACEBOOK at:

www.facebook.com/TeardropAdventures.com