Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day 18 - Jackson - Cooke City - Part 1

Jackson, Wyoming, is a beautiful town located in the Jackson Hole valley near the Grand Teton National Park, unfortunately I couldn't spend too much time in town as I had a long way to go north to meet up with my brother in Cooke City, Montana.  I got up early and had breakfast in the hotel and hit the road soon after. I wanted to capture the early morning sunrise but by the time I crossed the park the sun was already way up. I made my first stop just a few miles north of Jackson and stood there in awe, letting the beautiful scenery sink in. The Grand Tetons are really majestic.

A few miles up the road I pulled to the side when I saw the most beautiful reflection of the mountains on a nearby lake. The water offering a pretty mirror image of the Grand Tetons.

The road navigates through the National Elk Refuge which is home to an average of 7,500 elk each winter. I stopped again when I saw a large herd of elk grazing on an open field.  I'm glad for the 15x zoom on my little camera.

I stopped again near the Jackson Lake to capture one last shot of the Grand Tetons before entering Yellowstone National Park. This area is so vast I could spend a week or longer exploring the large number of trails available in the park.

I entered Yellowstone and made good time towards Yellowstone Lake, quickly passing the odd RV or camper on the road. The road moves along next to a river stream offering beautiful vistas.

I stop again when I see a "Danger" sign warning visitors of unstable ground. The area is located just north of "West Thumb" on the Yellowstone Lake.  The danger sign attracted me like a moth to a light.  I walked around taking pictures of the boiling water bubbling out of the ground, steam raising from various fissures and the ground cracking under my feet.

I continue north along the Grand Loop Road and a few miles later I come up on a bison leisurely strolling along the middle of the road as if he owned the road completely unperturbed by the traffic around him.  I take a picture and quickly pass him taking another picture once I was a few yards in front of him.  This was the first encounter of many I would have later with bison.

I stop a little later when I see a sign pointing to the Mud Volcano.  It's scary to be walking around knowing that the ground below you is hot enough to make mud boil and bubble, steam raising out of it.  I am walking around when I hear rustling sounds nearby, I get near it and I see a big bison rubbing himself on a tree.  I later found out they do this to remove the extra fur from their bodies in the summer.  There were concrete public restrooms nearby so I was brave enough to get within 15 feet of him knowing that I could sprint into the concrete shelter if needed.

I continue north, the landscape now more open and the road much less congested passing various herds of bison and some amazing rocky scenery.

I pull off to the side of the road when I see another bison grazing nearby.   I got close to him but he was on the other side of the guardrail, I jumped the guardrail for the photo.   I am not a fool, I would not get near him if I didn't have some protection nearby.  Do bison jump guardrails? humm

Further up I see deer jumping around by the river, I quickly get a photo.  I take the North East Entrance road, route 212 and start heading east towards the mountains and the border of Montana.  I enter the Gallatin National Forest, the ever growing mountains in the background providing a beautiful background.

There is much more to today's trip but I will leave it for another day, I will just say I got stuck behind a very large herd of bison and met my brother in Cooke City almost two hours later than we had planned.
A preview of what was up ahead....

I am at point "B" on the map, about half way through today's trip.

To be continued.....


  1. Love the scenery, but I don't want to be anywhere close to bison! A guardrail or even a concrete bathroom just isn't adequate in my book! :)

    They are cool looking beasts though.

    Do not people just call that an invitation.

  2. I am originally from Africa but I have to say, I see more animals running free in the US than I ever saw in Africa. It's beautiful to see these large animals just roaming around people. I loved Yellowstone. I actually wanted to touch the water to see how hot it was, but then thought about it, it's boiling, I don't need to touch to know ;-)

  3. Wow, really great photos George! The Tetons look spectacular and I really like the one with the reflection in the lake. How did you get that shot of you with the bison in the background? And I'm curious what kind of camera you used. The quality and lighting are excellent. Looking forward to more!

  4. Mike, Thanks. I wasn't the only one by the guard rail, I asked a pretty lady to take a picture of me ;-) The camera is a compact 12MP Samsung HZ30W that I bought just for this trip because of the 15x and the 24mm wide (24 mm - 360 mm (15x) zoom lens) It got good reviews but I'm not too happy of some shots in bright sunlight. I had to correct lots of shots with Photoshop Elements :-) It's a small camera, I didn't want to carry my other camera.

  5. The pictures are just gorgeous, George.

    Yellowstone is spectacular. I completely agree with you, it is beautiful to see the animals roaming around. It takes you a little while to get accustomed to it if you aren't from an area that has any big game (like here on long island)

    I totally love the buffalo. When we were there, it never got old seeing them in person.

    GREAT blog - can't wait to read more!

  6. Fuzzygalore: Thanks for visiting :-) I too loved Yellowstone and would love to go back and spend an entire week there, alas I have to work.