July 22, 2010
This was taken in the evening. However, I wanted a morning shot as well, so I returned the next day. I arrived at this location at around 5:00 am. Light was barely starting to show in the sky and landforms were barely becoming discernible. As you can see from the photo there are a lot of trees and bushes in the area, making hundreds of fabulous hiding places for a grizzly bear. When I arrived, I got out of the car and started yelling, screaming, hollering, shouting, whistling, and making as much noise as I could to let any bears know I was in the area. It was still dark so I remained by my car until I had to go down in the bushes anyway.
After a few minutes I looked down the road on which I had just came and noticed something in the distance moving. I wasn’t sure what it was, but there was definitely something down there coming toward me. As it came close, I noticed it was a dog. At first I thought it was a coyote. Then a second one appeared, which I thought was strange for coyotes. It wasn’t until I saw a black dog that I realized these were wolves. Instead of scaring away a bear, I called in a pack of wolves. All my shouting must have been like a dinner bell for them.
The pack came within about 40 yards of me. This still felt like a safe distance, so I remained outside my car. Soon 2 wolves broke and flanked me on my left side and another went to the right to surround me. These guys are smart. It was fascinating and troubling to watch them act. I was soon looking in all directions. As I considered my options of what to do if they came any closer, 2 things kept coming back to me: 1) jump in my car and 2) cry like a baby.
The thought occurred to me to try to take some pictures, but my camera gear was packed away in the car. To set up for a shot would have required me to turn my back on them and drop my attention, which I didn’t want to do. These guys were all intently looking at me, sizing me up. I didn’t want to let down my guard at all. After awhile I guess they figured I wasn’t worth the trouble and they took off into the woods. A little later, I started shooting. I could hear them howling in the woods, and I continually checked behind me.
May 5, 2010
Foramen the Tetons
If you’ve ever been to the Tetons from the last weekend in September to the first weekend in October, you’ve witnessed a beautiful sight. The changing colors anchoring the majestic mountain peaks is amazing. As you might imagine, such a scene attracts scores of people as well. Although the crowds can be very annoying, there is a certain vibrant energy throughout park. Interestingly, by the end of your trip, just as nature’s art display is winding down, so too are the crowds.
As I wandered the river bank alone on the last day of my trip, I came across this bone. Along with the grey overcast skies, it reflected my mood well. Just as the bone represented an end, the vibrancy of the past week too was dissipating. I melancholically procrastinated my departure. At one time, a free ranging animal had passed this way. How its end came, I didn’t know. It also occurred to me that there’s a different side of the Tetons I hadn’t realized before. Notwithstanding the hordes of people that visit the park every year, the Tetons remain a wild and rugged place.