Thursday, June 27, 2024

Alpine Mountain Days 2024

Our summer shows schedule started with the Alpine Mountain Days, in Alpine Wyoming. It’s a well-run three day event and we look forward to it each year. One of the highlights is the Native American dances.
This year we were so busy at our booth that I couldn’t break way to watch as many dances as I would have liked. Still, I was able to watch the Children’s dance where Native American invited nonnative children participate! The kids had fun and it was a great dance that everyone enjoyed.
Later I was able to watch a traditional family dance, followed by a nontraditional dance. The main difference was that the outfits in the nontraditional dance contained modern materials and designs. The dance I was able to watch was the Women’s Dance.
The last dance was a male dance. It was obvious that all the dancers were caught up in the excitement of the performances. Thank you to all the dancers and drummers, for sharing your culture! Finally, a thank you to all the people of Alpine, Wyoming who made the show such a success! Clear skies

Friday, June 14, 2024

Six Grizzlies in one day at Grand Teton National Park

Usually, we don’t see bears. Our average is about once in every three visits. However, we sometimes have amazing days, one of which was during our last visit. On that day we saw six grizzly bears, all of which were sows with cubs. Arriving at the GTNP we always stop to get our cameras ready. Several times we waited till we accidentally saw bears and by the time we got the cameras ready it was too late as the bear, (bears), had disappeared into the forest. We also check to see if there are any bear jams and plan our drive accordingly. On this day we saw a huge jam that was probably from a bear, (they usually show up as a red traffic congestion warning). Some people have scanners turned to the parks frequency and get the warnings at the same time as the wildlife management team. Renita took over the driving and I got ready to bail out the door, after which she finds a parking spot.
It wasn’t very far to before we saw a lineup of cars. Parking a good distance away, we both walked down the ditch until we reached the point where we could see the two grizzlies. It was 399 and her yearling Spirit. They were both grazing like cows and occasionally digging up tubers and grubs. They ignored all the people and slowly grazed to the highway. The bear management team ordered everyone to clear a path for the bears to cross. They kept all of us at least one hundred yards away for our and the bears safety.
It got to be a mess as they crossed but Renita managed to get several great pictures of them on the pavement. My moment came when they started to feed in the roadside ditch, and I got a picture of Spirit with a mouth full of flowers!
There were so many people that they often got in my way, ( I always try to keep a buffer zone of people between me and the bears). They continued feeding and 399 would sniff the air, perhaps she smelled the odor of Bruno. He is the dominant boar grizzly that kills and eats cubs so that the sow will mate, (dominate lions do the same thing, regardless of what you saw in Lion King). As we watched another photographer told us that grizzly bear 1063, (Bonita), was putting on a show with her three new coys. That’s a name given to brand new cubs and is an acronym for cubs of the year. It is her first litter.
Just as we arrived people were picking up their cameras and starting to leave. We had just missed them as they disappeared from view. We decided to sit still and hope they would reappear. Almost three hours later they had not shown up and we were getting ready to leave when we saw several people taking pictures! We could just see her back, but she moved to the south and climbing over a small rise came into view. Again, they decided to cross the road and so the Wildlife Management Team cleared a path for the bears. While we did not get a good shot of the crossing we were able to get pictures as she grazed.
The three coys stayed near their mom and we didn’t get very good pictures, but we did get some and the one posted was our best! They finally headed into the forest, it was probably feeding time, and so we left and drove to Leeks Marina where we fed on an excellent pizza!
From there we drove the Teton Park Roadway but didn’t see much of anything.
It didn’t matter as we had a great day watching six grizzlies, (our record is eight in one day). Now we are still working on our new park model. Our first big show of the year is next weekend at Alpine Mountain Days. Hopefully we will have a good three days and start to put more money back into savings. Clear skies

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Our first Black Bear of 2024, at Grand Teton National Park

We had just arrived at Grand Teton National Park, and almost immediately we encountered a bear jam. Seems 399 and her cub Spirit had put on quite a show but as we arrived but most of the people were picking up their tripods and cameras. That’s never a good sign.
Still, we drove further and did see people pointing at a grizzly bear, or at least the top of its back. The bear was heading in the direction where we had seen her last year and so we drove further and parked. Now you never know where a bear will go but we were so certain that we spent four hours in one spot. Others started to leave when Renita heard the scanner in the car next to us say that a black bear had appeared alongside a road.
Heading there, we saw the bear jam and a small black bear grazing alongside the road. We watched as the bear resembled a lawn mower. It was sweeping its head back and forth eating grass,(not everyone realizes that bears are omnivores and will eat almost anything). After seeing the black bear, it was the first of the season for us,we decided to head to another spot hoping to see a moose. On the way there we passed an elk nicknamed Hollywood. He has that name because the bull elk feeds in the same spot right along the highway. He spends the whole summer there as his antlers grow and so is perhaps one of the most photographed park’s elk.
No moose was there but there were some yellow warblers and a yellow rumped warbler . Numerous tree swallows were feeding along with a common golden eye, a blue winged teal and of course several mallards. It was a good day at the park! Our first of the year black bear and 399. Maybe next time will be better. Clear skies