Friday, April 27, 2012

Winter? Spring? Make Up Yer Mind Already!

We've come a long way in three weeks. Porpoise in the Pan Handle, river otter in the Rio Grande outside of Taos, and today marmot, elk, and bison on the range below the Tetons. Temps have floated with the natives as well.

 Ducking out of blowing snow we decided to visit the National Museum of Wildlife just outside of Jackson.  A tremendous collection of paintings and sculpture focused on wildlife of the American West.  An excellent children's exhibit as well, as presented by Karen in this diorama.  Very instructive as well as presenting a very hands-on opportunity for kids, small and large to get up close and personal with critter identifiers - footprints, scat, and of course, as seen below, an opportunity to act out as well.
OK, not some our best photography, but the rest of the museum contained many American classical works from artists we should know much better.

Leaving the museum the storm front was still teetering on delivering a good return-to-winter punch, fooling all those silly elk who had left the valley for their summer havens high in the Tetons.  After spotting a pair of marmots sunbathing atop a sculpture at the head of the museum entrance road we decided to brave the weather and cruise north as far as the open road and weather would allow. 

Voila! A few miles ahead, and just beyond the 'SLOW - Wildlife Crossing Ahead', right on schedule a herd of greater than fifty elk had just crossed the road and were skipping along to join several hundred kin further across the valley.  Several additional smaller groups were spotted along the miles to follow, each in turn receiving less and less attention. Seen 50 elk, seen 'em all!

Driving further north toward Yellowstone's South Entrance the weather began whipping it up good.  We made it as far a Colter Bay, glanced at the marina on Lake Jackson and quickly retreated to the car for safety from the now driving snow.  Mission accomplished better judgement advised heading back to Jackson before we'd be snowed in miles from any open accommodations.

Of course, we returned to Jackson under sunny, blue skies. What's the worry!  Well 10 minutes later we were watching a white-out, only this time from the mountain view windows of our living room.

Au revoir Jackson.  We'll return, during a warmer season hopefully. Off to West Yellowstone tomorrow, with forecasts threatening snow daily over the next five days :-)

Keep warm and remember your sunscreen! I'm still feeling the after effects of yesterday's overcast hike up to Taggert Lake over crunchy, oft timed post-holed snow trails, wind and sun hastening us along.

1 comment:

  1. sunscreen!? don't rub it in (well I mean YOU rub it in as clearly you need to)! but we are freezing here! Its great to take time out with you ... Love Helen and Ken xx