It did not seem possible that we had been married for fifty years. I remember, among other things, my dad dancing the Irish jig down the aisle and of course taking Renita’s hand after her father presented her to me. The rest is pretty blurry, the wedding reception and the reception after the reception. For our honeymoon we went fishing on the Mississippi River and Renita caught the biggest fish, (besides me of course).
Our fiftieth started with a dinner at a great restaurant in Jackson, Wyoming, (thank you Matt), afterwards Matt presented us with matching custom-made fly rods. Both of the kids had gone in on them Each had an engraving that said, “Fiftieth Anniversary”, and each had our sign of the zodiac engraved on it. We had not planned any big trip but instead a week of doing what we love to do, watching wildlife and fly fishing.
The next day we headed to Grand Teton National Park. Of course, we saw elk, deer, antelope and even a moose. In the afternoon we stopped at Willow Flats and as we glassed for bear someone yelled bear and turning, we saw a cinnamon black bear trying to get into a bear proof garbage can.
It tried to rip off the lid, and frustrated it attempted to stick its head inside the container. All to no avail. It moved parallel to the highway, and I followed it taking image after image. A lady was so excited to see the bear that she practically chased it getting so close that I said to the man next to ne that she was dangerously close. He said it was his wife and did yell at her to back off.
The black bear crossed the road, avoiding getting hit by the car jam that had developed and went into the woods. From there we headed north to our turn around point and did not see any more bears. After driving outside the park to see buffalo we returned and made one more drive to Pilgrim Creek. There we were greeted by a bear jam of gargantuan proportions.
It was bear 399 and her four cubs. They were hunting for food, about five hundred yards away, and we were able to get quite a few fuzzy pictures before they headed into the woods.
At one point one of the year-old cubs ran ahead of the others, while the sow and the rest followed slowly behind. Six bears in a day is an exceptional day and so we decided to return the next day.
The day started out great as soon as we entered the park, we became a part of a bear jam that completely blocked the road.
The cars prevented another cinnamon black bear from crossing the road and it stood confused before it ambled off towards the Snake River bottom.
They were no bear team park personal to clear the roads, but the jam finally broke up after the bear left.
We did the usual loops around the park and had a nice picnic lunch on the shore of Jackson Lake. The lake itself is a manmade lake that stores water for the potato farmers in Idaho. It was rebuilt after concerns that it might fail like the Teton Dam did, (The new dam is sitting on six hundred feet of loose material and is designed to float during an earthquake).
The rest of the day was filled with the usual wildlife, just no more bears. We were thankful, as any day you see a bear is a good one, heck any day in the park is great.
We are blessed to live so close to the park and to be able to make so many trips there.
A few days later we headed to one of our favorite trout streams to try out the new rods. As we headed over Salt Pass a bull moose greeted us with a smile!
The fish were finicky and it took a while before we both caught cutthroats and even a mountain whitefish. She did hook a large cutthroat but it took off downstream and the fly pulled free,
(it was a size eighteen elk caddis). I had bought Renita a new Ross fly reel to match her new rod and she is now laying out line like the great fly fisherwoman she is!