Sunday, April 25, 2010

By clicking on each image will enlarge it so that you can get the full impact of this wonderful region we call the Upper Wind River Country

April24, 2010
If April means spring then here in the high country that is a mean joke. Yes things are swinging away from winter but it is a long slow process stretching through May and even into June. It had been over a week since I had last visited this area on Horse Creek north of Dubois and the stream ice cover was slowly giving way to more stream visibly flowing. A relentlesly slow process. The next photo shows the week plus progression.

April24, 2010
This morning I returned to Horse Creek and the spot I had taken the photo of a week ago. It shows the slow approach to spring. There is now more stream than snow and ice but oh so slow happening. As I write this it is snowing outside my studio window and the ground is just becoming white.
April24, 2010
I had stopped this morning at Kathy's Koffe shop on the way out of town and sat awhile listening in on the daily chatter about what is going on in the Upper Country.
My neighbor just up the river had a heart attack and ran into a power pole on east side of town. Was sent to the hospital [life flighted]in Casper and didn't make it. He was a retired bank person of some importance as he had set up the banking systems in a lot of the Russian countries and did the same thing in Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam; We had over two inches of rain earlier in the week which up to the edge of town tranlated into a lot of snow. That is 1/4 of out yearly precipitation total. It will sure green up and grow if the sun ever comes out; Grizzlies have been spotted on Long Creek and on Togwotee; Yesterday a friend in the Village restaurant showed me photos of a Sow with a new cub sliding on the snow on Togwotee. A horse and a cow maybe two had been killed by wolves over by Pinedale. The Feds were going to take out the whole pack. The talk is still going on when I leave.
Heading out of town I have to stop several times for deer crossing the street. They are everywhere and there has to be a zillion of them. Within a couple of miles north of town I spot and glass a number of elk skylined on a distant ridge. Soon afterwards I watch a cow elk run across the road and dissapear in the willows. she never paused to have her picture taken.
The road is surprisingly dry with all the rain except for giant puddles I am constantly in. I can tell I am the first person out this morning as there is ice on all of them that has not been broken by passing vehicles.
April24, 2010
It is pretty lousy for photos as it has become cloudy and blustry and the peaks are nearly obliterated in snow showers from the approaching front that is moving in. I do stop by a small pond where I can always find waterfowl of some sort and sure enough there is a Mallard couple swimming about. The Drake climbs up onto the ice and both are wondering why I am taking their pictures. He tries to entice her up where he is for a better pose and she makes a feeble attempt at it and decides it is nicer in the water out of the breeze. She stays put.

April24, 2010
Last sunday Vicki and I drove over to the Tetons to see how spring was progressing on that side of the mountains. Not very far. Most of the valley floor was covered in 2-4 feet of snow and streams, Lakes and ponds are more ice filled than with open water. Waterfowl and wading birds are congregated heavily on open water. Osprey, like on our side are on their nests and Hawks and Eagles are abundantly patrolling the countryside. We watch a coyote for a while trying to catch mice or picket Pins[Columbian Groundquirrels]Sniffing here and there then pouncing high in the air and hitting heavily on its front feet it would occassionally find something that was taken care of in one swallow. They are fun to watch. There are many Trumpeter Swans and I shoot a lot of pictures of them. What beautiful magnificent birds they are.

April24, 2010
The Tetons were as majestic as always clothed in white,blue and browns and a very spring like haze. There were very few people around unlike later when this area will be inundated with them. It makes for a very pleasant afternoon.
April24, 2010
The other morning I rose befor daylight and drove up the Torrey Creek Road to check out spring there. Again, a zillion Mule Deer but only a few sheep were visible through binoculars high on the slopes of Whiskey Mountain following the gradually receeding snow line. To the north light is catching up with the day across the Absaroka Mountain range.

April24, 2010
Torrey Lake is ice free except at the upper end protected by a high bank and timber. The sun is now hitting the Ramshorn Peak as morning becomes a reality.
April24, 2010
Above Torrey Lake is Ring Lake and it is about half free of ice. There are a lot of waterfowl on the lake and sitting on the ice. They are pretty noisey announcing the morning. Above Ring Lake is Trail lake and it is completely ice covered. It will be several weeks yet befor it loses its icy grip.

April24, 2010
Above Trail Lake the view opens up the valley towards the glaciers. Snow has dissapeared from the valley floor except under dense stands of brush and timber. The sun is now striking the peaks and glaciers at the head of the valley.

April24, 2010
Torrey Creek along the valley floor finally catches the full force of the sun as it breaks over the eastern moraine ridge filling the whole valley in light.
Yes. Spring is slow in coming to the Upper country. It will be another month befor trees will leaf out. The willows in some protected areas are now budding out. That Pussywillow stage that my sisters as kids used to love going out to collect. They would cut the branches and use them as table top center pieces. We always knew that was a sign of coming spring.