Grand Teton National Park, WyomingWe met a great couple this time last year, Linda & Alex who invited us to stay with them in Wilson Wyoming, which is about 12 miles out of Jackson Hole. There are lots of ranches out here and you feel like you are driving through Horse Whisperer* country with rolling green hills all around you. We had to take the long way around to their house, as the short cut had a locked gate at the end of it that didn’t open for a few more days. Turning into their driveway wasn’t easy as it’s not meant for a 35’ trailer! cut the corner and the trailer would end up in the ditch; after a few attempts I managed to get into their property.
Not having done any walks for a while they took us on a hike up the hill opposite their valley. 7,000ft can really get your heart pumping. It was a great walk through the aspens, and at the top we were rewarded with fantastic views of the valley. And, we didn’t run into any bears on the way!
With the annual elk antler collection event approaching the locals were ready for the big day. An antler brings about US$6.00 a pound and as they can be up to 16lb’s it can add up to quite a sum of money for just one antler, with a matching pair bringing anything up to a $1,000. You can pick up any antler’s you find on your own property any time (they fall off naturally) but you can’t go scavenging on government land and hide your stash to collect later on opening day– although people do! Big fines for getting caught! The boys’ scouts collect them from the Elk Refuge and sell them in the town squre with the proceeds going to charity.
|big horn sheep calf running over the cliffs|
On opening day we took a drive into the Grand Tetons and saw lots of people on horseback going into the backcountry to look for antlers. We heard that there were a large pack of wolves in there too but they were twenty miles beyond a locked gate. Locked gates are normal around here, not only to keep people out of an area but to also to keep them away from the wildlife. Wildlife was very scarce throughout the Tetons compared to other years; we only saw some big horn sheep on a steep cliff. Everyone was saying it was due to the mild winter – the snow melted early and the animals have gone to higher ground, because they can.
|Lindsay, Linda & Alex|
It was Jane’s turn to do some photography so we got up early and headed for the Mormon Row barn. We miscalculated how long it would take to get to the barn as the area was covered in fog and we got stuck in a traffic jamb at 5:45am going into Jackson! - we made it with a few minutes to spare before sunrise. The first barn didn’t light up as well as it did last time but it still gave her some great shots.
There was a bit of excitement on the last day as someone had seen a cougar cross the road in the morning. Everyone locked up their pets and horses for protection! Linda & I managed to see it later in the day but it was too far away to photograph. Their pet cat is an inside cat because an owl attacked it once and it won’t go outside anymore, I’m sure a cougar would like it too.
Winters are harsh up here, there are times when you can’t get into town, so you better have a good supply of, well everything. A lot of the corners going back to the town are called so & so’s corner, which is where they slid off because of the snow. Life is different around here.
Our time has come to an end in Wilson and we need to move onto Yellowstone. Linda & Alex, thank you so much, it was great catching up again. The south entrance is closed for another week, so we need to head to the west entrance.
* movie with Robert Redford, Kristin Scott Thomas and Scarlett Johansson
This post was a combined effort!