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Grizzly Bears at Grand Teton National Park

I keep forgetting that I wanted to post these photos from my son’s camera. We were driving through the national park at sunset and we thought at first that we saw a bison. At second glance we realized it was a bear.

Grizzly Bear Grand Teton July 2011
A grizzly bear!

I stopped the car alongside the road…we were the first ones to see it. My son stepped outside the car to get a photo. I made him stay right by the car and none of the rest of us got out. We were not really close but I immediately saw that this was a mama with a cub. A minute later I saw a second cub. By this time there were several cars stopped on the side of the road and they were REALLY close to the bear.

One look at the image on my son’s camera and I could see it was a grizzly bear. We didn’t try to get better photos or get any closer. I really just wanted to give the bears their space.

Grizzly Bear Mama and Two Cubs Grand Teton 7 11
Grand Teton National Park – Grizzly Bears July 2011

You can see in this photo that other people were not using good judgement and they were way too close to the bears. These are really big bears and I know that there is nothing like a mama bear protecting her cubs….

It was a wonderful experience to see these creatures in their natural environment. The cubs were sort of playing with each other as they romped through the meadow. The mama was walking with that bear sort of swagger that is so distinctive. Amazing to see just how big they are in real life.

Just another Wyoming experience…

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Wyoming Road Trip Video – My Son’s Creation

Want to see a teenage view of the trip?

Here is Mr. A’s video: Yellowstone Trip

I told him he should make videos as a business since he is getting quite good at it. I think I watched this one about five times and I’m not tired of it yet. Something about having the photos and videos all linked together make it interesting.

Anyway, check it out….this one is only around two minutes long.

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Wyoming in the Summer – Roadtrip

Grand Teton Sign

Roadtrip – California, Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah

Mr. A loved driving across the Nevada landscape and setting the cruise control at 75 MPH. This was his first real roadtrip where he did a lot of the driving for us. I enjoyed sitting in the passenger seat and soaking in the big skies and the distant mountains still iced with snow.

Although we enjoyed the whole trip, the star of the show was most definitely the Grand Tetons. We were able to swing a room at the Jackson Lake Lodge for part of our trip and it was great home base. It was everything a lodge should be and more.

Yellowstone Landscape with Wildflowers
Wyoming landscapes…sun, clouds, and terrain are quick to change.

My sons were both feeling crummy with colds when we were in the middle of our trip so the long hiking days we planned had to be adjusted. Instead, we drove one day up into Yellowstone National Park and did a quick circle tour of some interesting spots in the southern part of the park.

Castel Geyser Yellowstone

We walked on the boardwalks around the Lower Geyser Basin. It was a fairly active day and we got to see a couple of geysers spout that don’t regularly put on a show. In fact, we got caught in the spray of one geyser….that was a first.

Elk Thistle at Yellowstone

I spent time on the lookout for interesting wildflowers which were abundant during our trip. This Elk Thistle was interesting and beautiful as it grew alongside the boardwalk.

Brink of Lower Yellowstone Falls

Our one hike of the day was down the switchback trail to the brink of Lower Yellowstone Falls. The flow was at a near record high when we were there and it was roaring down the canyon. Amazing to stand right at the edge of where the water falls over the rocks!

It was a quick Yellowstone trip but we soaked in the wonderful landscapes and made some great memories. We headed back into Grand Teton Park and alongside the road near the Jackson Lake Lodge we spotted a mama grizzly bear and her two cubs. We stopped across the road and down a little to watch the cubs playing in the meadow. This was a first for our family….we have seen lots of black bears but these were our very first grizzly bears. We didn’t stay long since we really didn’t want to disrupt them but I have to admit very exciting to see this in the wild.

Jackson Lake Sunset

One night we drove up Signal Mountain and watched the sunset over Jackson Lake. As sunset grew closer, the group of us up there got larger. I was pleased that most of us were there to sit quietly and watch with cameras in hand. The one thing about going to national parks is that you realize there are many people visiting from outside the U.S. They have come clear around the world to see what we have in our own backyards. It gives you fresh eyes to think about what you have and need to appreciate.

Those clouds in the sunset photo above turned into thunderheads and by bedtime it was quite a show. We watched from our room window as the sky came alive and the thunder was louder than I have ever heard before…almost like explosions. It rained just a little and then the storm disappeared. Perfect Wyoming experience for the boys!

Jackson Lake and the Grand Tetons

When morning dawned, the skies were clear and the sun was warm. On our way out of the park we stopped to enjoy the reflection of the mountains in the lake in the early morning light. Breathtaking!

Yellow Salsify

When we stopped to take the reflection photos, I noticed these huge seed clouds at my feet. We looked them up in our guide and identified them as Yellow salsify. The flowers look much like dandelions but the seeds heads are much larger. I had my son put his hand in the photo so you could see how large they are.

Our road trip is over for the summer and we have packed in some great family memories. The boys enjoyed the wildlife and the great food we enjoyed on our trip. I packed breakfast and lunch but we ate our dinners in restaurants. The most memorable meal ended with fresh homemade huckleberry pie. I am going to dream of that slice of heaven for a very long time to come.

It is nice to be home, back to my garden but it is always refreshing to get out on the open road and see some new and exciting things. I have a couple more posts to share with other aspects of our trip so stay tuned.

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Birds of Summer: July List

Bird Nest - Southern Wyoming
Nest on a Utility Pole – Southern Wyoming

We spent quite a bit of time away from home in July so I will attempt to break the list down by location.

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  1. European Starlings
  2. House Finches
  3. Lesser Goldfinches – they sound like they are laughing
  4. White-Breasted Nuthatch
  5. Oak Titmouse
  6. American Robins
  7. Mourning Doves – our constant companions, everyday under the feeders, always a pair
  8. California Towhee
  9. Steller’s Jay
  10. Western Scrub Jay
  11. Acorn Woodpecker
  12. Great Horned Owl – early morning
  13. Anna’s Hummingbird – males chasing each other, not so many in the feeders but in the flower garden
  14. House Sparrows
  15. Canada Goose
  16. American Crow
  17. Turkey Vultures
  18. Red-tail Hawk
  19. Mountain Chickadee
  20. Black-headed Grosbeak
  21. California Quail
  22. Brewer’s blackbirds

Santa Cruz

  1. Brown Pelicans
  2. California Gulls

Grand Tetons/Utah Trip

  1. Osprey-Wyoming
  2. Trumpeter Swans
  3. American White Pelicans
  4. Lots of gulls – not sure what kind
  5. Killdeer
  6. Barn Swallows
  7. Red-winged blackbirds
  8. Western meadowlark

If I ever go back to Yellowstone, I will print this bird list. 

You can share your link with Tweet and See…click the button above to learn more about the monthly meme. This exercise of keeping a list of birds has opened my eyes to a whole world. I highly recommend this activity for all families, no matter where you live.