Posted by: Budger | September 1, 2006

Wyoming Trip

 
June 3, 2006
 
Hi Everyone,
 
It’s time to bore/entertain everyone with more stories.  Eric and I just got back from a trip to Jackson, Wyoming.  If you’re interested, read on, and view the cool pictures.  Otherwise y’all know how to use the delete key.  You can find the pictures at: 
http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/rzbudge/my_photos
 
As you know, Eric grew up in Jackson, Wyoming.  What you might not know is that his ancestors, on both his mother and father’s side, settled the valley, and are Jackson Hole Pioneers.  Jackson Hole is the name of the valley, (Jackson is the name of the city.) and was named after a trapper who discovered it.  It is a large valley surrounded by mountains, the most infamous of which are the Grand Tetons.  I think it is one of the most beautiful places in the US.  We went there once when I was a little girl, but I have been several times since Eric and I married.  This time our trip was not really a vacation, but a trip to visit and check on his mom who is currently living in a nursing home.  However we were able to take a little time everyday to view some of the beautiful scenery and wildlife. 
 
We arrived on Sunday evening May 28, and it was snowing.  The wind was blowing, and it was bitter cold.  We headed to the house, and crashed for the night.  On Monday, Memorial Day, we were invited by Eric’s aunt and uncle to go with them to the various Memorial Day Services and decorating at the two local cemeteries.  It was still very cold, and I have to give the locals credit for braving the weather.  In addition, at the military services, they had a bagpiper, complete in Kilt.  After making those rounds we decided to go looking for wildlife.  And in Jackson, you do not have to go far.  We headed towards Grand Teton National Park.  Eric’s father worked as a mechanic at the park, and Eric’s parents lived on park grounds when they were first married.  The most famous National Park in Wyoming is Yellowstone, but my favorite is Grand Teton.  There is nothing more majestic than the site of the Grand Tetons towering over the valley.  In addition, it has a lake and rivers, and lots of wildlife.  If you want to see Buffalo (Bison), you do not have to go far in Jackson Hole.  Eric has never failed in finding Buffalo.  They are majestic animals, and tend to be found in small herds.  This evening we were very fortunate, as we came upon a herd of Cows with about a dozen calves.  The calves were very cute, and according to Eric’s Aunts and Uncle, were about 1-2 months old based on the color of their coats.  I had never seen a baby Buffalo before, and was amazed watching them.  When going through Jackson Hole, or the parks, you will always find cars pulled over to the side of the road.  If you’ve missed the wildlife, the cars are the clue that there is something to look at.  The wildlife don’t mind the spectators as long as they are left alone.  However, there is always someone who thinks that they are Disney animals, and gets out of their cars to approach.  When witnessed by Eric, this results in a lot of swearing, and driving off, while mumbling about not wanting to witness the aftermath.  The Buffalo and other animals have been known to charge cars if irritated.  And they move amazingly fast. 
 
We were about 40 feet away from the Buffalo, and there was a long stream of cars watching and taking pictures.  The herd kept to itself, and eventually stopped traffic as they crossed the road.  As went on down the road, we almost hit a lone Antelope that ran into the road.  As we screeched to a stop, Eric’s aunt saw that a Coyote was in the brush off to the side of the road.  Apparently we interrupted the Coyote’s hunt,  by coming between Wile E Coyote and the Antelope.  We watched until the Antelope had sprinted far enough away that Wile E gave up.  As we got further into the woods in the park, we came across a herd of Elk.  That night the forecast was 27 degrees. 
 
On Wednesday, we went with Eric’s Aunt and Uncle out to Jackson Lake.  Jackson Lake is about a 40 minute drive from Jackson.  This is Eric’s lake. He grew up and learned to swim and ski on this lake.  It had warmed up to about 60 degrees, and we headed out on the boat.  We were going to Moran Bay which was the favorite fishing spot of Eric’s dad.  The lake was beautiful.  It was so calm it was like glass.  We were out for about 2 hours, and viewed the Tetons from the lake.  On the drive out to Jackson Lake, we passed the National Elk Refuge which is on the edge of town.  The National Elk Refuge provides refuge to approximately 8000-9000 Elk during the winter.  The edge of the refuge is about 100 yards from Eric’s Mom’s house.  There are no Elk on the refuge now, but we did pass two Sand Hill Cranes with chicks.  We also found a lone Moose eating in the Willows along the Snake River.  Moose are extremely difficult to find.  I didn’t see my first Moose until my 3rd trip to Jackson.  They hang out on river banks, feeding on Willows.  They are incredible animals.  Unfortunately, with the reintroduction of Wolves into Yellowstone, and their success at repopulation, the Moose population in Jackson is harder to find.  This moose was very difficult to see. 
 
As we were driving to Jackson Lake, we found another smaller herd of Bull Buffalo.  These were much larger than the Cows we had seen on Monday.  We pulled over to the side of the road, and watched them for a little bit.  The bulls are more aggressive, and it wasn’t long before another car/driver had irritated a Bull.  As the bull started to run towards the car, we pulled away.
 
As your driving down the road from the city of Jackson to Grand Teton National Park, there is a mountain to the right called the Sleeping Indian.  It is called that because it resembles an Indian Chief in HeadDress, laying on his back with his arms crossed on top.  My mother-in-law pointed this out to me in 1993, and it was 2006 before I finally saw the Sleeping Indian. 
 
The Genealogy of Wyoming License Plates
 
In Teton County, Wyoming, there is a family history with License Plates.  All Wyoming License Plates have two sets of numbers.  On the left of the plate, is a vertical number which represents the county.  On the right, horizontally, is the plate number.  Teton County is County 22.  Low numbered plates (<1000) indicate an old-timer.  These plates are coveted, and passed down within the families.  When there are retirement events, funerals, wedding etc., people refer to it being a 3 digit event, implying that lots of old timers attend.  When Eric’s father died, Eric gave his aunt his dad’s plates (155).  During this trip, we gave Eric’s cousin his mother’s plates (199).  In addition to this being a coveted pedigree, everybody in town watches the plates, and most of the old time locals know the cars by plate numbers.  After spending time in car, with driver’s being identified by their plates, I found that I was looking at more license plate than I was cars.
 
If you’re going to be in Jackson Hole before October 1, 2006, you must take the Aerial Tram at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Teton Village to the summit of Rendezvous Mountain.  The tram is 40 years old, and is being decommissioned at the end of the summer season.  Eric had a friend that worked on the tram, and Eric spent a lot of time on the tram, and skiing at this resort.  I had never been on the tram, so we took this opportunity on Friday.  It takes about 15 minutes to reach the summit at 11,000 feet.  Once there, the views are incredible.  You can see the backs of the Tetons, and over into Idaho.  We were joined on the trams by skiers and Para gliders.  At the summit, there were still a few runs that were in good ski condition.  Watching the Paragliders was amazing.  They literally strap themselves in, and then jump off the side of the mountain.  I kept wondering if they ever worried about their shutes.
 
I hope you enjoy my pictures of what is one of the most beautiful places on earth.  Take Care!
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