Where the Buffalo Roam

I’m back…well, almost. Sitting in flight delay in Dallas at the moment, but hopefully home today from an off-the-grid vacation in Wyoming. If you’re checking this blog for comics topics, you’ll have to wait another week or so, I’m afraid. I’m going to do a travelogue on our trip starting today and continuing for the following eight days. If you’re not interested, check back after that when regular posts will resume. Here’s the first entry:

Sept. 18: Ellen and I are on vacation in Wyoming, beginning at Grand Teton National Park. We flew into Jackson Hole yesterday and stayed our first night in the town of Jackson, which seems quite an attractive ski resort place. We enjoyed walking around a bit this morning early, had some breakfast, and then headed north into Grand Teton. The three Teton peaks were glowing in the morning sun, and they seem to shoot up with vertical abruptness from the grassy plains of the Snake River valley, creating a scene of amazing beauty we never tired of all day.

About 20 minutes in we lucked onto a small herd of Bison crossing the road ahead of us and stopped, along with other folks for some amazing pictures.

This bull was clearly in charge, minding his herd from the rear, and watching us closely for any threats. One man tried to walk toward the bull, but his wiser companions pulled him back.

What a wonderfully American scene, and one that was nearly lost, but the Bisons are gradually making a comeback here.

From huge fauna to tiny ones, this Painted Lady butterfly was feeding on bright yellow flowers among the sagebrush…

…along with this Milbert’s Tortoiseshell, a butterfly we hadn’t seen before.

One of the most photographed buildings in the park is the old Mormon barn from the early 20th century, seeming to mimic the peaks in its roof shape. A small Mormon farm community tried to thrive here, but failed, and the buildings are now preserved by the park.

Around noon we drove west across the Snake River and closer to the Teton Range, now looking up to the peaks at an even more impressive angle to their snowy heights. We’d brought some lunch with us, so we stopped to have it.

After lunch, our next adventure began at Jenny Lake on one of these launches that shuttles visitors across the lake to one of the most popular short hiking trails to Inspiration Point.

The boat ride only took about 10 minutes, it’s a small lake.

On the other side we started along the trail through the forest slopes. The underbrush was rich with fall colors.

It’s billed as one of the most popular hikes, and the trails were busy, but it was no walk in the park. The distance is about one mile, with a climb of about 250 feet. Sounds easy until you try it! We’re in fairly good shape, but not used to climbing, where we live it’s flat as a pancake. We’re not used to the altitude, either. Halfway up is Hidden Falls, above.

The obligatory vacation shot taken by a stranger.

This Aspen tree bark caught my eye, seeming to be morphing from one kind to another.

With lots of rests we trudged up the path, which kept getting steeper until it was running above a high cliff. Ellen was not happy about this.

We made it, though! It was more like Perspiration Point for us.

The view was grand from this shoulder of the mountains, looking east over some of the river valley we’d driven through in the morning. Upper left you can see smoke from a forest fire, a controlled burn by the park, not endangering any people.

Ellen was much happier to be going down, and finally I get a smile. Going down was easier, too.

This evening we’re staying in a truly wonderful little log cabin next to the Snake River in the town of Moose. It’s SO much better than we imagined, beautifully designed, all new, a full kitchen, living room, bath and bedroom. We’ll be here two nights. More next time.

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