About MeI live in Jackson Hole, Wyoming where I explore the deeper reaches of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem while also trying to raise awareness about light pollution and the importance of dark skies through photography and video.
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This past summer, much of my inspiration shifted from the Jackson Hole valley floor to much higher elevations found up in the mountains. While the higher elevations had always been significant motivation for me, this past season saw that motivation become much more pronounced, weening my inspiration away from the roadsides. In addition, there’s also my upcoming TEDxJacksonHole talk and completing my short film on light pollution, both of which demanded a large chunk of my time, forcing me to drastically reduce my work with Jackson Hole Wildlife Safaris. However, though my days are limited at the moment, I had a recent trip with exceptional opportunities found throughout the valley with a delightful pair of other photographers.
We were off well before sunrise in a downpour that showed no signs of letting up.
With several projects going on right now, I was able to find time to take a little afternoon escape into some fall colors of Jackson Hole. I headed over to the Shadow Mountain area, along the eastern boundary of Grand Teton National Park, and began hiking around the game trails to guide me through the meadows and aspen groves.
I had hoped to hike up part of Shadow Mountain as well, where even more bright colors were waiting, no doubt with tremendous views below, but I found the few hours I had to play at the base plenty to satisfy my craving to get outdoors. Since it had been almost three weeks since I last hiked, it was a welcome break from sitting at the computer and running around town.
The Canyon Wolf Pack alpha pair lead their pups along a ridge near Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park.
I won’t waste your time in discussing political agendas and biases for and against the gray wolf. We all know that it is a controversial species that many feel is not at all welcome in nature, despite the fact that it has been an integral part of that very nature for tens of thousands of years. Virtually all of the biases against these mystical creatures comes from a simple misunderstanding of their very nature. In previous posts, I have discussed at length why more wolves are needed across the country and dissected the bias from both standpoints. One key factor I have never laid out in full detail, however, is the trophic cascade of events that happens once wolves reestablish a healthy presence in their chosen environment.
Lately, I have been exploring the concept of rightness versus truth. Everyone has the right to believe in what they want to believe in regardless of anyone else’s expectations or beliefs. It is their birthright that no one can take away. Issues arise, however, when those beliefs interact with someone else’s beliefs. The more one person insists that their beliefs are right, the more the other side defends their beliefs until neither side will even listen to one word the other has to say, no matter how true it may be in their experience. This leaves both sides oblivious to the fact that in their defense and anger, they have completely overlooked an underlying truth that will ease both parties. It’s a truth that both will feel resonance with once the guards are lowered and all the options are then available to explore.
Grizzly Bear 610 plays and wrestles with her cubs in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.
Last week, Grizzly Bear 610 of Grand Teton National Park officially emerged from her den. She was out wandering around Signal Mountain for a few weeks prior to that, but it wasn’t until about a week ago that she began to venture farther out to places such as Oxbow Bend and Willow Flats, giving many more people the opportunity to witness her happiness for being out and about.
Grizzly Bear 610 is of course the daughter of Jackson Hole icon, Grizzly Bear 399, who achieved quite a bit of recognition several years ago for successfully raising three cubs along the roadsides near Oxbow Bend and Jackson Lake Lodge, of which 610 was one of. Last year, both bears, who had been frequenting the same areas, each emerged with their own set of new cubs.
A video compilation featuring winter footage from Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks and beyond.
Winter appears to winding down here in Jackson Hole, Wyoming significantly early. I suppose Mother Nature felt bad for giving us such a short summer last year, so if weather stays consistent, we’ll have an extra month this year!
For the most part, winter wasn’t incredibly eventful. The title comes from winter being unusually warm much of the time. There were certainly plenty of cold days as well as a pretty respectable amount of snow, but it never really "felt" like a Jackson Hole winter. As a result, much of the wildlife didn’t follow their usual rounds and so sightings weren’t quite as frequent or predictable. Luckily though, there’s still always wildlife to be found and sometimes even gives you a little surprise.
One such occasion was when a black wolf and a mule deer buck had a two-day standoff just off the highway, captivating the town.