Friday, August 31, 2012

This morning found me just over the top of Togwotee Pass with artist friend, Les Lefevre, a guest of his, Curt from Ohio and Dennis Kidd who is from Dubois and Oklahoma.  We are looking for bears as I had seen the popular Sow and her two cubs the other evening near here. 
 But.  We were amazed at the bird life.  They must be congregating for migration.  The many songbirds also has attracted a number of hawks and a pair of Prairie Falcons.  We watched as several even made some catches.  I am not sure I have ever seen such a congregation.
The morning was spectacular as this view of Two Ocean Mountain can attest to.  The willows are beginning to change into their coats of gold, yellow, and orange.  Fall is upon us.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I ran into this little fellow last evening.  He was with his sibling but they were unwilling to get together for a family portrait so... A lot of the wildlife look a little stressed and thin with the drouth we are having.  Even with an open winter a lot of these young are not going to make it through the winter.  Life is going to be rough for them all.
The Buffalo Fork fire burning near the confluence of the Soda Fork and the Buffalo Fork is now at 8,000 acres and has a token group of a few smoke jumpers and a helicopter just trying to keep it from moving west into the Buffalo River area.  A wilderness fire it will other wise be allowed to burn and will probably go till snow flies.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Over the past number of years there has been a big increase in the Osprey population.  A lot of it has to do with the man made nest building.  Erecting tall poles with a platform on top that allows the Osprey to build a nest on.  They are magnificent birds and so much fun watching ass they fish.  Often I can watch them from my studio flying up and down the river.  pausing now and then with wings flapping to hold their position in the air then if a fish is spotted-folding those wings and going into a dive where they nab their prey and fight their way back out of the stream or lake.  Streamline the fish in their talons and fly off to the nest to feed young or sit in a tall tree to enjoy their dinner.
The extreme weather continues.  We have been promised a 20% up to even 40% chance of showers nearly daily but .03 is all we have had in several weeks now.  It is dry.  Scarey dry.  And the smoke continues from western fires that have filled our skies.  Yucky by day they do create some incredible sunsets and sunrises.  Such as this evening shot across the Wind River just west of Dubois.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

With news that a grizzly has been making regular appearances off the Union Pass road, Les, his wife Kathy, and myself were there by sunrise waiting for Mr Bruin to show himself.  This of course was the day he decided not to visit.  
We were visited by the usual Gray Jays, and Clark Nutcrackers with their boisterous voices.  And at one point a Doe Deer and her two fawns moved through the timber a ways off.  We did enjoy a visit from this Blue Grouse who spent some time amongst the daisies and colorful vegetation and seemed to enjoy having her picture taken.  They don't call them Fools Hens for nothing.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

This packhorse tied to a highline patiently awaits his turn to be loaded with a pack for a trip into the mountains
On many of my trips into Jackson Hole I end up at Schwabachers Landing and hike along the beaver ponds along the Snake River.  they are filled with all kinds of wildlife and photo and painting opportunities.  Mt Moran here in the evening serves as the perfect background in this photo

Saturday, August 18, 2012

There is just something special about wandering through an Aspen grove.  In Spring it is the first noticeable sign of spring when warm days begins the movement of sap in the tree.  A definite springtime odor that permeates the senses and the forest.  Cool and verdant in summer.  August brings on that dry smell that is also so noticeable.  One knows the next step will be the changing of colors as the fall season ushers in the oncoming of winter.  That special sense of the Aspen is heightened by the slightest breeze that sends the leaves trembling and thus the music of the Aspen
This Mule Deer Doe has been hanging around all summer.  Seemingly just waiting for Vicki's flowers to be at just the right stage befor helping herself last night to them.  Nipping them off right where they attach to the stem.  She seems so innocent the next morning barely even moving away when we walk out into the yard or drive by.  A very brazen deer.
This little Picket Pin[Franklin Groundsquirrel]was busy playing hide and seek with me as I tried getting his picture.  Darting away behind this old cut log in the Wolf Creek burn he would reappear as if being afraid I might leave him only to dart teassingly away.  It won't be long befor he goes into hibernation not to be seen again until May of next year.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friend, Les and I were up befor daylight traveling up Long Creek looking for photographing opportunities which includes Bears reported in the area.  By sunrise we are in the Wolf Creek area and standing on a high ridge above the DuNoir Valley looking into the rising sun that is blood red from the smoke that has invaded our area from fires in the Northwest.  It is an erie looking world.  There is the crash of timber below indicating Elk are moving about down there.  Nothing appears though so we move on and hike down into Wolf Creek itself.  It is a little nerve wracking and Les is mentioning how it resembles his time in Viet Nam when you wonder which side of the trail suicide is?  It is a beautiful area with heavy timber punctuated by various mountain meadows with tall grass and willows.  We come upon a huge Bear dropping that is quite fresh.  And soon ahead we can hear something moving in the timber that is a muffled stroll sound.  Too much like a bear.  We love seeing bears on our terms and this is not on our terms.  We chicken out and head back up the trail.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

I have seen more Ruffed Grouse on this side of the continental divide than I have ever seen before.  they are so hard to get a good picture of so it was a real treasure to find this one who so obligingly posed for me as it moved across the forest floor watching me as much as I was watching it.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The country is again totally smoked up from the Idaho and Montana fires with every one on edge complaining of burning eyes and headaches.  The landscape is totally obliterated in the haze.  
I did find this family of Mule Deer out on a mountain meadow enjoying  the late afternoon .
This morning I was up early and up on Burroughs Creek.  At first light you could see the smoke rolling back in after a reprieve of a few days.  I did a short hike through tall grasses of a mountain meadow with fast shrinking ponds.  Frost was heavy on the grasses and I did get a little wet navigating through but it was never the less a beautiful morning and with the smoke hazed sun it did create a nice warm light cast on everything it touched.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sitting on a boulder at the lakes edge.  Feeding the soul.  Sounds of nature accompany the quiet lap of the water on the rocks below.  All in tune with quietness.   All in some sort of reverence.  The tune changing ever so softly with the slightest of a breeze as the water alternately laps a little louder and back to near silence on the rocks.  Colors and textures of the rock in pristine transparent waters.  It plays on the mind and it wanders to what ifs and creativeness.  It is soul food 

Friday, August 10, 2012

The smoke somewhat cleared out today.  At least we can now see a bit.  There was still enough though that by evening it clouded the atmosphere to the point it produced a striking sunset.
Our skies continue to be very smokey from fires in Montana and Idaho.  And it is way too warm for our area.  But it is delightful to walk through deep woods in the high elevations just below timberline.  Much cooler and has a little more humidity to freshen up the journey.  The sounds of various birds, and the nearly constant chirping of Pine Squirrels all add sound to the experience.  The creakings of trees keeps the senses alert too as it just might be as enjoyable to a grizzly seeking coolness as a place to take a nap.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

We took advantage of the afternoon by taking a drive up Union Pass and onto the road to Gunsight pass.  A rocky kind of road that surely takes as much weight off you as going to a health club.  Slow and unmercifully bouncing one about the views are well worth it.  Squaretop Mountain and Green River Lakes are mistily viewed through the dense forest fire smoke that is drifting our way from the numerous fires in Idaho and Montana.
It is nearly dark by the time we top things off with dinner at the Crooked Creek Lodge.
On the way to the Ramshorn Ranch where we were invited for dinner.  It is a spectacular drive even though the road is a little rough with three gates to open it was well worth the scenery and the wonderful dinner at the Prines.
I was upset with myself when I drove out of the forest onto the meadow and missed an immature  Red Tailed Hawk sitting right in front of me.  He took off climbing above the meadow and then circled back around to set down in a large dead Lodgepole Pine tree directly above.  What luck I had as he posed and sat there trying to determine if I really knew what I was doing.
The Tetons at sunset from the Buffalo River

Sunday, August 5, 2012

After about a half hour of watching and photographing the cow moose and her two calves-the calves retired together into the woods for rest while mom continued eating from shat the pond had to offer while Mallards occassionaly cruised by and the helicopter like flight  of dragon flies in the late afternoon sunlit pond darted about seeking out mosquitos for their dining pleasure.
And as Jr was telling mom all about his days educational prowess his sibling was downstream in the Beaver Pond off in his own little world dining off the plant growth on the floor of the pond as a mallard hen slowly drifted by

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

These two little Mule Deer Fawns didn't seam too eager to stay around this morning as off into the sagebrush they went 
Double Cabins north of Dubois has got to be one of the beauty spots in this world.  Where Frontier Creek joins the Wiggins Fork the peaks surround one in every direction.