Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bears in the wild... Finally!

Coming to Rocky Mountain National Park, Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park, we had hoped and expected to see some bears, and in the Tetons and Yellowstone we really wanted to see grizzlies.  For our two days in the Tetons and the first day and a half in Yellowstone, we didn't see any sign of a bear, much less a griz.  But, finally, we got a good view of two different grizzlies.  The first, we were driving along the park road when we hit a traffic jam.  There were cars parked all over the road and people jumping out with their kids and cameras.  We saw the bear about 100 yards in the Upper Geyser area off the road and got this great shot.

Later that afternoon, we saw another bear near Old Faithful.  This griz ran right through the Old Faithful Geyser area straight across the boardwalk and up into the woods.  

This same bear was later reportedly spotted near a trail we had just hiked in the pic below, notice I'm carrying my bear spray.  The Park Ranger stopped us at the end of the trail and asked us if we saw it.  In this case, unfortunately, not.  But we got a great pic of the little guys and the ranger.

If you ever get the chance to observe these great creatures, consider yourself lucky.  As we observed in this trip, most of these animals want nothing to do with humans and will run away knowing you are in the area.  But, when in bear country, you must take the proper precautions.
  • Carry bear spray - it's not a repellant an should only be used if the bear is actually charging
  • Talk loudly and often when walking the trail (Blake and Dylan are our best defense with bears as they talk a lot and very loud)
  • Keep in a group, don't get separated and stay on the trail as much as possible
  • Protect your food from the animals to help protect the animals
  • Be constantly vigilant about scanning the surroundings for bear markings, scat and food they like such as berries
  • Check with Park Rangers about areas you will be in to see if there are bears reported in the area
These animals should be respected, not feared.  Enjoy seeing them when you are able to.

Having a picnic under the Grand Teton

Yesterday, we got to have lunch in the shadow of the Grand Teton.  For wilderness experience, I haven't found too much that can compare to the Tetons backcountry.  Because of all the snow that Grand Teton National Park has received this winter, most of the backcountry trails are closed and quite a bit of the front-country trails as well.  With the whole family, getting too far into the Tetons backcountry is difficult.  So, we took a 3.6 mile loop hike to Taggart Lake.  This was a spectacular hike that should be on anyone's to-do list when going to the Tetons.  It can also be included in a trek to Bradley Lake, but due to the snow, we had to just limit our trip to Taggart Lake.  Here's some shots of the family at our lunch spot.  I wish I had brought my fly rod, although I didn't see too many fish in the water.

Fly Fishing Fun

Ok, I promised to give Fly Fishing a whirl while on our trip and I got to today.  I stopped off in Yellowstone National Park near the confluence of Nez Perce Creek and the Firehole River.  I wanted to try out my new fly rod and reel.  I was fairly successful in making a few casts, but quickly snapped my line somehow.  I definitely need some lessons on casting and presentation but enjoyed the experience nonetheless.  Tomorrow, we plan on heading over to Yellowstone Lake and I may give it another go.  Otherwise, it may have to wait till Utah.

FLASK - Florida to Alaska

Today, in Yellowstone National Park, I met a gentleman named Craig Randleman who is on a bike ride from Florida to Alaska.  He is currently about halfway to his destination.  I was so interested to hear about his story I stopped him and talked to him briefly and got my picture with him.  Here's the blog,, where he's posting his story, and also his plans for other epic adventures.. I'm definitely interested in reading his posts to find out how he's doing and WHEN he finishes.  If you're interested in helping Craig in his quests, you can also donate via the blog.

The never ending Winter in the Tetons

We went up to the top of Rendezvous Mountain today using the Jackson Hole Tram. At the top, there was probably still 15-20 feet of snow. We skipped Pike's Peak in Colorado Springs this year, knowing we would be taking the tram up, but never expected full-on Winter conditions. It was still snowing.

The kids had a ball playing in the snow. Check the pic out below to see how much snow there was. If you happen to come to the Tetons, I recommend the Tram ride to the top. It's about a 12 minute ride up to 10,450 feet. Try the waffles in Colter's Cabin while on top. The Strawberry Jam or Brown Sugar Butter varieties are fantastic. Pike's Peak has it's donuts and Rendezvous Mountain has it's "made-to-order" waffles.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cow elk and her calf behind our campsite

This is a cow elk and her calf walking through our campsite. This was a bit unnerving because we saw a cow chase off a couple of coyotes earlier stalking her calf. She walked up on my three boys playing on the rocks behind our campsite.  She made sure they knew she was there and didn't want them near her or her calf.

See the video below to see the cow chasing off the coyotes.

View from our campsite in RMNP

This is the view from our Campsite in RMNP on our Family Summer Trip.  We arrived on Monday for two nights of camping.  I'll be posting details soon of all our hikes, but thought I'd share a few shots as we go.  We camped in spot #147 in Moraine Park.  We had a spectacular view every day of Long's Peak.  What  a way to wake up.