Author Archives: Mike Cavaroc

Red Hills Hike

Red Hills and Lavender Hills of the Gros Ventres

A trail leads into the Red Hills of the Gros Ventre Mountains, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming (Mike Cavaroc)
A trail leads into the Red Hills of the Gros Ventre Mountains, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming


Distance (one way): 2.1 miles
Difficulty: Strenuous
Best time of year: Spring, Summer, Fall

Tucked away east of Jackson Hole is local treasure very few take the time to see. The Red Hills of the Gros Ventre Mountains are an exposed sandstone deposit that are leftover from when the region was under a shallow sea, roughly 50 million years ago. The road to the hills is engineered in such a way that immediately after coming around a small bend in the road, a dramatic view of the hills overwhelms you with a sense of natural beauty and wonder. A pullout is conveniently located at that exact location so that you can fully appreciate the view.

While the view from the road is amazing, the hike up through the hills is even more rewarding. - Continue reading

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Pickle Pass Map

Wyoming Range: Little Grey’s River to Pickle Pass

Storms over the forests of the Wyoming Range, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming (Mike Cavaroc)
Storms over the forests of the Wyoming Range, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming

Distance (one way): 4 miles
Difficulty: Strenuous
Best time of year: Summer

A water purifier is not something you want to forget on a three-day backpacking trip. A wiser person, upon realizing an essential item was forgotten while still at the car, would have packed everything back up, gone home to retrieve the purifier, then done another trip closer to home, especially if this person hasn’t been able to go hiking much lately. I, however, have stubbornness issues.

Despite being completely unfamiliar with the terrain, particularly with reliable sources of water, I still headed into the Wyoming Mountains with two liters of water to see where that could bring me.

My initial plan was to spend three days backpacking the Little Grey’s River Loop, a hike I had read about that promised solitude, rugged mountain wildness, and wildlife. - Continue reading

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Backpacking Tent Under Mountain

How I Shot It – Backpacking Tent Under Evening Light

Backpacking tent lying under evening light hitting a Gros Ventre Mountain peak, Gros Ventre Wilderness, Wyoming (Mike Cavaroc)
Backpacking tent lying under evening light hitting a Gros Ventre Mountain peak, Gros Ventre Wilderness, Wyoming

With digital photography becoming so mainstream these days, many advances have accompanied the evolution of the technology. At some point, it was bound to be expected that tools that were considered unheard of in photography just ten years ago would eventually become standard items for many people who wouldn’t consider themselves photographers at all. At the same time, many tricks and developments were created to accommodate for different ranges of light, two of them being layer mask blending in Photoshop, and the other, HDR. For those wondering, this is not a rant against HDR. That time is over. It’s found its audience and at this point has established itself as a style many prefer.

Myself, I was a hardcore advocate of the layer mask blending technique in Photoshop, though admittedly, it’s above the head of many who simply don’t care to learn Photoshop. - Continue reading

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Coyote Rock Map

A Short Backpacking Trip to Coyote Rock

Illuminated tent under a night sky with the Teton Mountains, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming (Mike Cavaroc)
Illuminated tent under a night sky with the Teton Mountains, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming

Distance (one way): 2 miles
Difficulty: Moderate-Strenuous
Best time of year: Spring, Summer, Fall

All that work and I still don’t have even one photo of Coyote Rock.

Located just east of Grand Teton National Park, high above the valley of Jackson Hole, lies a lone boulder secluded in its recession on a hill that delivers tremendous views of the region. This is Coyote Rock. Though the trail only brings you two miles from the road, the feeling of isolation and disconnection from the valley below is easily attainable.

I made a short, overnight backpacking trip to this rock late in June with the purpose of acquiring some new night photography imagery while also catching a quick escape into nature. Due to my timing, the mosquitoes were aggressively anxious for attention, but are typically only in the area from mid-June to early July, so don’t expect them if you’re visiting outside of that time. - Continue reading

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Milky Way Above Tent

Future Plans for Free Roaming Photography

Milky Way arching across the night sky with airglow above a tent, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming (Mike Cavaroc)
Milky Way arching across the night sky with airglow above a tent, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming

I haven’t been updating this blog much, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy. I’m currently wrapping up a video on light pollution in the Jackson Hole, Wyoming area, plotting a large road trip around the southwest for a follow-up video covering the region’s dark skies, and finally, making plans with my girlfriend to hike the Hayduke Trail, an 800-mile trail stretching from Arches National Park to Zion National Park with a detour through the Grand Canyon.

What Is Light Pollution?

The upcoming video, which I’m hoping to have ready by the end of the summer, will cover the basics of light pollution, how it affects Jackson Hole, some potential solutions, and the importance of the night sky to the area. It’s a personal project that I began upon teaming up with Wyoming Stargazing, whose ultimate goal at the moment is to construct an observatory and planetarium right here in Jackson, Wyoming. - Continue reading

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Grizzly Bear 399 and Cubs

Spring Wildlife Photography Workshop Wrap-Up

Grizzly Bear #399 watching sunrise with her cubs, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming (Mike Cavaroc)
Grizzly Bear #399 watches sunrise over Grand Teton National Park as her cubs graze.

This past Friday, we wrapped up our first annual Grizzly Bear and Spring Wildlife Photography Workshop. There were two workshops spanning five days each scouring both Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks for grizzly bears, wolves, black bears, bison calves, and all the other wildlife that calls Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks home. Though I was out recovering from a nasty virus for the first workshop, I was able to lead the second one, both coming out a huge success! Due to my absence from the first workshop, this will be a summary of the second workshop, though I was told the first week was able to find a whopping 38 different bears!

Black bear cub running through a meadow, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming (Mike Cavaroc)
Black bear cub running through a meadow, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

For the second week, we started our drive from Jackson on Antelope Flats in Grand Teton National Park immersed in a healthy bison herd with the Teton Mountains providing a dramatic backdrop. - Continue reading

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