This winter has been an odd one for me. We’ve had a bit more snow than last year, but now the weather is warming up more than normal. I haven’t been working, due to Baby Gecko, so I haven’t seen as much wildlife.
We are still awaiting the arrival of Baby Gecko. Between getting baby supplies and getting the house ready so that we can fit those supplies, I haven’t been spending much time taking pictures. I’ve done crafty things, but none that I can post yet. But I did make it out on the National Elk Refuge last week to take some pictures.Every winter, bighorn sheep move down from the higher elevations in the area, and many of them come onto the Refuge to spend the cold months. This ram came right down the hill towards me, then crossed the road to see some lady rams. He was not successful. I heard headbutting, but didn’t see any. These two were just hanging out.
Fall arrived in the Tetons a couple of weeks ago, although you wouldn’t notice it by the weather today. The aspen leaves are changing color in the northern part of the valley, but the colors are not as spectacular this year as they were last year. The cottonwood trees and willows seemed to have rapidly gone from summer to winter, as many of them are already bare. Mr. Gecko and I have been wading through the somewhat baffling process of creating a baby registry. When we registered for items for our wedding, it was pretty easy. We both had our own things, and knew pretty specifically what we still needed. Baby things are a whole new field, and it doesn’t help that we live far enough from major shopping that I can’t just go and touch things. We’re slowly figuring it out, though. It helps that many of our friends have had babies, and we are getting plenty of pass-downs. My work season is winding down, so expect more project posts. I have a long list of things that I want to get done before our little gecko arrives. I have been able to get out and take some photos as things slow down and I have more energy. This beaver is part of a colony that lives at Schwabacher’s Landing in the park. Mr. Gecko went out this morning, early, to take some sunrise pictures. These last two are his. I was still in bed, trying to catch up on sleep while I can. Hopefully soon I can catch up on blogging, too…
Just two miles from my house is a small network of trails. Until this past week, I hadn’t hiked more than a mile of the trails, so I decided it was time to fix that. I hiked out to Hermitage Point, 9.2 miles round trip, and the trail was beautiful. This is Heron Pond with Grand Teton in the background. I didn’t see any herons, but there was a pair of Sandhill Cranes hanging around. I didn’t manage to get any pictures of them, but I did listen to them for a while.The trail mostly went through forest, at least until I reached the point. There were a few climbs, but nothing too bad.The berries are ripening. This is Twinberry and the berries look like they are glowing.There be bears here too! I didn’t see any, but I was making noise and carrying bear spray, just in case.About three miles in, I started hearing an osprey. It took me a little longer to find the source.That nest just barely fits…I got yelled at by red squirrels all day. The trail started opening up closer to the point. This is Mt Moran across Jackson Lake.There was a fair amount of haze. We’ve been getting the smoke from the fires in Northern California. PS- NorCal friends, stay safe!I love my new camera. I think this is a Three-toed Woodpecker, but I’m not sure.This doe was feeding in a sagebrush meadow when I came around a corner in the trail. I stopped to let her figure out what to do. She decided to walk toward me. I was not this close to her- I used the zoom on my camera- but I was closer than the required 25 yard distance. Had she been a moose or an elk, I would have been nervous, but she was not interested in me, so I waited for her to move behind a tree and continued down the trail.I ate lunch on the shore of Jackson Lake. The fish were jumping and there were a few gulls hanging out. It was very peaceful. I saw so many chipmunks. Everywhere.Willow Flats from the north side. This is a great area for wildlife watching, but I didn’t see anything that day.
It was a lovely hike, if a bit longer than my legs would have preferred. It was also a very quiet hike. Once I passed the first mile and a half, which is part of another, shorter loop, I only saw 5 other people.
I had too many pictures to post in one post, so I decided to split it into two. Lupines are common in both parks, and they are one of my favorites. Fringed Gentian grows in the thermal areas of Yellowstone. I tried to take a picture of a large patch of it at Midway Geyser Basin, but the picture didn’t turn out.Blue-eyed Grass is another one of my favorites. I think this one is Tall Groundsel. It’s been blooming in dryer areas of the park.Tapertip Onion grows wild here. It smells kind of garlicky.Shrubby Cinquefoil has been blooming for a while now. Yellow is not one of my favorite colors, but I like this flower. I’ll finish with another mystery flower. I’ve seen this one in both Yellowstone and Grand Teton, but I haven’t been able to figure out what it is. Any ideas?