Several of us were up fairly early and off on a photographic journey to Mormon Row as the photography of this area is reported to be best in the early morning sun (unfortunately, we had cloudy, drab skies). Just north of the town of Jackson, this historic community is now part of the national park and maintained as part of the National Historical Preservation. Sent from Salt Lake by the Mormon Church, settlers first arrived here from Idaho in 1895. This particular settlement consisted of the Moulton and Chambers families. The Chambers family built on the east side of the road.
The Moulton’s built on the west side of the road. This iconic view of one of the Moulton’s barn with the Grand Teton’s in the background has been much photographed.
We also enjoyed the antics of a fairly large colony of ground squirrels who seemed unfazed by the human incursion.
The Mormon community lasted many years on this site, and later buildings included a two-story stuccoed home.
We also noted a quite large colony of swallows building their nests under the eaves of the stucco home.
Following our early-morning photographic journey, our group returned to Jackson to meet up with those who slept in. We loaded up the trucks, and grabbed a little breakfast at one of the many cafes in town. Fueled and ready to go, we stopped at the historic George Washington Historic Park, Town Square.
Centered in the park is a sculpture of the state symbol of the bucking bronco (or bronco buster, if you prefer).
At each of the four corners of the park are arched entrances made of elk antlers. Can you imagine how many antlers are in each of these??? Then multiply that by four!
We next headed north, back into Grand Teton National Park for more photo ops. Several in our group are avid at photographing wildflowers, and we found a meadow full of them. Left-to-right: Anita, Carol, and Sandy all seeking the perfect shot.
I took a few shots as well. Below, a shot of lupine:
But I’m not a wildflower expert so we’ll just have to call these “pretty yellow flowers.”
While visiting this meadow, we did get to witness quite an endeavor. Our pick-ups were stopped on the road entering the area, and we were told we were waiting for the helicopter to pass. Driving in, we passed a field filled with giant boulders.
We questioned a ranger in the parking lot regarding the activity and were told that the helicopter was lifting up each boulder and transporting them to an area where they were dropped to prevent further damage in a spot suffering from erosion from the run-off from the spring melt. With each helicopter pass, the road was closed to prevent the unlikely event a boulder would slip from the harness and fall on a passing vehicle. I was able to get a shot of the helicopter but never got a good shot of the boulder dangling from the cable below the helicopter. If you look very, very carefully at the bottom center of the photo below, you might be able to see the cable holding the boulder. Sadly, I could not catch a shot of the dangling boulder itself.
In addition to the wildflowers, we also got a grand view of this spectacular waterfall.
Next stop was the overlook at the southern end of Jenny Lake, and the views were amazing!!!
Our lunch stop took us to Jackson Lake Lodge in Moran Junction. Of course upon entering the Lodge we were greeted by a stuffed grizzly (seen in silhouette on the right of the picture below), but the interior and exterior of the lodge were spectacular.
As was the food, including my roasted beet salad
Below is a view from the lodge of Jackson Lake with Elk Island in the center.
Did I mention something earlier about my one big goal for the trip was seeing Bison? I sure got my wish as we drove from Grand Teton back through Yellowstone toward our overnight lodging outside the park in the town of West Yellowstone. It seemed this herd numbered in the hundreds
And included mature males
And several babies, called red dogs
My earlier posts mentioned the warnings by park staff about staying away from the bison, and the ranger talks included videos of bison tossing stupid humans in the air like kittens playing with toys. We began to notice that whenever we saw a sizable herd of bison, especially those with red dogs, there always seemed to be large males who positioned themselves between the herd and the hordes of humans snapping photos of them. This prompted Sue to come up with a monologue to describe the thoughts of the poor guy who got stuck with the task: “Me?? I’ve got Stupid Human Duty again? Seems like I had it just last week! I hate Stupid Human Duty! Despite all the warning from our friendly park rangers, there’s always one or two idiots who try to get WAY too close to our beloved red dogs. O.K. If I have to be stuck with Stupid Human Duty again, maybe I’ll get one of them this time! That would make it all worthwhile.”
Can’t you just imaging that coming from the guy pictured below?
Arriving in West Yellowstone quite late in the evening, we quickly checked into our lodging at the magnificent Explorer Cabins.
We had two cabins for the seven of us. Four of us shared a cabin with living/kitchen area, full bath, and two bedrooms – one with a KING bed. The kitchen had a stove-top, fridge, microwave, and even a dishwasher; but as we hadn’t shopped for food, we opted to eat out.
We arrived at a highly-recommended Tapas restaurant just after 9:00 and noticed the hours posted on the door said they were open until nine. We were delighted when the kitchen staff agreed to serve us. It was my first experience with tapas, and I hope it will NOT be my last.
And no spectacular dinner would be complete without deserts like crème brulee and a chocolate mousse type of cake with whipped cream.
Definitely a fabulous ending to a fabulous day!