The Grande Dame of the Tetons

Love Bite
Love Bite

A couple of days ago I took off wandering and ventured out to Lamar Valley, up to Tower, over to Canyon and down along Yellowstone Lake where some ice was still hanging in there.  Apparently the wind shifted and blew the ice back into the bays and some kayakers who foolishly ventured out in the early phase of “Ice Out” ended up trapped for hours.

I saw the kayakers go out and worried that they might get trapped in the ice but at the same time was envious because it looked so beautiful on the lake.  They had an adventure to remember.

Down along the lake I was fortunate enough to see Raspberry, a grizzly sow and also to hang out with a very flirtatious grouse.

Ended up camping – good thing that I am always prepared because that definitely was not planned.

The following morning, very early, Raspberry was out briefly before she disappeared.  And, so I played with the grouse and ended up shooting several other birds during a nice long hike out to the Lake and then around Pilgrim Pond during the early morning.  Spent quite some time waiting and watching.  Did not get the exact shot I wanted but did capture just a snippet of the sound.  Will share all of that later as it is quite late and I have a day planned for tomorrow.

Headed towards the Tetons but had to take a long nap along my leisurely drive.  No hurry to get anywhere.

Barely in the Tetons and I spot a lot of cars at Pilgrim where folks were watching 399 and cubs.  Of course they disappeared about 2 seconds after I got the camera out.  And, so off to photograph some coyote pups.  Now, those are cute!

Later in the evening I returned to Pilgrim and there was 399 and her cubs in beautiful light, grazing on little yellow flowers.  The scene took my breath away and I was fortunate enough to have one of the nicest photo sessions with a grizzly ever because all of the elements came together – scene, light, subject and a bear manager who allowed us to enjoy a special evening.  Yellowstone has great bear managers too and they are always appreciated but they don’t always give us great light and scenery.

There was probably 100 to 150 people there tonight and it was just fun.  I was able to stand out in a field, rather than on the side of the road fighting traffic.  For some reason, even though others were standing closer (although at the proper distance) I was so taken with the scene that I chose to stand back, never wanting to get closer.  I wanted to stand back, smile, relax and enjoy the special moment.

When all was said and done the bear manager told me that I didn’t want to go back to Yellowstone because I would have more fun in the Tetons.  I certainly did tonight – 100x more fun than I have ever had in Lamar where the rules change daily.

Spending the night in Jackson and we shall see what the Tetons offer tomorrow.

Evening stroll
Evening stroll

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