Wyoming

A Couple of Weeks in the Rear View Mirror

The posts we are sharing here on our travel blog are on a delay with our current location; in other words, we’re behind with posting about our adventures once again!  I’m writing this from Flagstaff where tomorrow we pick up Claire & Kyle from the airport to commence our rafting trip down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.  But a lot has happened between our last post and today that we’re trying to capture because this travel blog also serves as our personal trip journal.  Fred has some great photos and is finalizing a couple of posts on our visits to Great Sand Dunes NP and Rocky Mountain NP — places we’ve been in the past two weeks — but before we get to those, let me share a few of our other adventures, albeit viewing them in the rear view mirror.

Fort Laramie NHS — Yet another fort we have had the pleasure to visit, this one in eastern Wyoming, Fort Laramie’s history dates back to 1834 when it was established as a fur-trading post bringing trappers and traders together.  By the mid-1800s, as weary westward-heading pioneers followed the North Platte River along the Oregon, California and Mormon Trails, they found Fort Laramie a good place to rest, repair their wagons, and resupply for the next portion of their journey.  The fort was acquired by the U.S. Army in 1849 as tensions with Northern Plains Indian tribes grew.  Finally, it was abandoned in 1890 and homesteaders took over the upkeep of the little settlement until local public agencies came along to protect it permanently.  Today, Fort Laramie National Historic Site tells the story of commerce, westward expansion, and the Indian Wars; it is a blend of beautifully-restored buildings and foundations of what once was.

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Fred’s Devils Tower National Monument

I had wanted to see it since I saw the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind way back in the late 80s. Since then I have seen the film at least five other times, and a portion of it too many other times to count, and every time it came on the screen I would be reminded that it was still on my bucket list to visit this monolith in person. So on a July day as I drove on a winding state road through Wyoming, both Laura and I had our eyes peeled for the distinctive tower out the picture window that is Charley’s windshield. Finally, there it was, large and imposing on the horizon, Devils Tower.

Devils Tower is the namesake of Devils Tower National Monument, which was the first monument in the national park system. President Theodore Roosevelt designated it as a national monument in 1906 under the newly enacted American Antiquities Act of 1906. This was just one of many public lands that would be protected by Roosevelt during his time in office. Referred to as Bear Lodge by Native Americans, it was given the name Devils Tower by Colonel Richard Dodge in 1859 while escorting an Office of Indian Affairs survey team to the massive rock formation. Rising some 1,267 feet from the Belle Fourche River, it stretches 867 feet from base to summit.

So after over 30 years of this incredible formation residing on my to-do list, I was finally standing at the base of it and gazing up, way up. Making the experience even more special was that the campground where we set up camp was near the base of the mountain, and every evening at dusk the campground showed Close Encounters of the Third Kind on a large-screen television with the tower looming high above the makeshift outdoor theater. While I planned to get up very early the next morning to shoot the mountain at sunrise, there was no way that I could pass up watching the movie once again, this time with the star of the show as part of the experience. About half way through the film, a thunderstorm rolled into the area and it began to rain. While most others in attendance left, I moved under a tree and continued watching the film with three other brave souls. It was fun when Devils Tower made its first appearance in the movie and almost in unison we all said, “There it is.”, and  clapped a few times. As I sat there I watched with one eye on the tower waiting for lightning flashes to illuminate it, and once again thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful film, one that is so full of possibilities and hope.      

Photos from Devils Tower National Monument are below.

If you click on a photo, you can see a larger version of it.  You can also use the arrows at the bottom (click on the photo if they disappear on you) to scroll through all the photos in a photo set.  The sets are arranged to be viewed from the upper left corner across. To close a photo set, click on the ‘X’ in the top right corner.


THE TOWER




IN BLACK AND WHITE



#48 and #49

#48 – Iowa.  #49 – Nebraska.  We have now visited 49 of the 50 states on our Out There journey!  Our last one will be North Dakota which we have slated to visit in July, but let me back up and tell you how we came to visit the Hawkeye and Cornhusker states and what we did in each one.

This past Sunday we left Mom’s in Wisconsin and began our journey west in Toad (the Subaru Crosstrek that we tow) to reunite with Charley, our RV, which we had left in Salt Lake City a little over six weeks ago.  [We decided to leave Charley behind — our longest separation from him to date — because we were spending a lot of our ‘visit back in the Midwest’ time in Chicago and we didn’t want the burden of figuring out where to park a 30′ motorhome in the big city; it just seemed easier, not to mention faster, to trek back in a car rather than an RV towing a car.]   So Sunday… after crossing through beautiful southwestern Wisconsin and enjoying the spring blossom season for the third time in 2016 — lucky us! — we joined up with I-80 which traverses the country from New York City to San Francisco.  Incidentally, on our journey east back to Chicago in mid-March, we learned at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home (that’s a mouthful!) in Abilene, Kansas, that we have Eisenhower to thank for our nation’s Interstate system!  Back to I-80… it took us through Iowa, Nebraska and Wyoming before returning us to Salt Lake City and Charley yesterday/Thursday late afternoon.  So five days, several stops, and 1,600 miles later we are now back to living our gypsy lifestyle in Charley, and with two more states added to our tally.

In Iowa, we visited the following two national park units:

Effigy Mounds National Monument — is an area located along a scenic stretch of the Mississippi River in northeastern Iowa that protects a variety of ceremonial and burial mounds created long ago by the Native Americans who lived in this area.  Still considered sacred by many local tribes, some 200 effigy mounds are found here.  Many of these mysterious mounds take the shape of bison, birds, bears and other creatures common to the area between 1,400 and 850 years ago when it is estimated these mounds were created.  As we always do, we took in the overview movie in the Visitor Center before setting out on a short walk in the woods to see some of the mounds.

 

Herbert Hoover National Historic Site — preserves the birthplace of Herbert Hoover, the 31st president of the United States.  He was born in 1874 in a humble, two-room cottage which stands on the site today, along with some other community buildings which have been restored or replicated, including the 1853 one-room schoolhouse, the 1857 Society of Friends (Quaker) Meetinghouse, and a blacksmith shop that represents one like his father ran.  Although he was only in West Branch, Iowa, for the first ten years of his life (his father died in 1880 when “Bert” was just six and his mother died four years later, leaving behind three orphan children who were sent off to live with various relatives — Bert was sent to Oregon), Hoover was greatly influenced by his early years here.  The family’s Quaker religion instilled in him generosity, hard work, and service to others, and informed his life of public service as president (he served one term during the Great Depression) and in the years after his presidency (he lived until age 90) as he worked for social justice and worldwide peace.  Herbert Hoover and his wife, Lou Henry, helped plan what is now this national historic site with the intent of providing an understanding of the life and work of this great man who leaves behind a remarkable legacy.  They are buried together on the property, and his presidential museum and library are also found here in West Branch.

 

Talia, Katie & I in Lincoln
Talia, Katie’s daughter who’s a freshman at Nebraska, Katie and I

Katie P’s house — is the place we visited during our drive across Nebraska.  Katie is a DDD sorority sister who hails from Lincoln.  We met as 18-year-old freshmen at the University of Wisconsin.  We’ve stayed connected over all these years, and it was wonderful visiting with Katie, her son Jack, her daughter Talia, and her beau of about three years now, Mike.  Katie cooked us a great dinner, took us to a campus ice cream shop — does she know Fred or what?!? — and provided these two weary travelers with warm and cozy beds.

We were going to visit more of the great state of Nebraska, but the cold Fred developed in Wisconsin left him without any energy whatsoever, so we decided we’d have to visit Nebraska’s national park units at another time….  Just one state left!!

Fred’s Yellowstone National Park, Part 2

THE WILDNESS OF YELLOWSTONE

I ease the car off of the road and look out into a deep fog. I see nothing but damp gray. The dawn is beginning to ebb and I am the only one in this part of Yellowstone, except of course, for the bison. When I open my car door, I cannot see them, but I can hear them, muffled grunts and heavy breath that is exhaled in a rush from somewhere across the Firehole River. This is my fourth morning in this spot to catch the sun as it hits the large, lumbering creatures. Because of the heavy fog dawn is muted, and as I walk down toward the river I can make out the faint outlines of something moving on the other side of the slowly moving stream. It is quite eerie being out here at this time of the morning by myself, and more than once I look from side to side and behind me to ensure that something is not slowly moving up on me. But they are on the other side of the narrow river, slowly milling about and waiting for their day to begin.

Around the designated time of sunrise, I can see the first of them begin to move down toward the water and tentatively take their first steps into the river. The sun is still shrouded in a heavy blanket of white, but they move toward it, as they have the other mornings that I have shot sunrise in this place. They come out of the water and step up onto the bank on my side of the river and continue to move forward, slowly walking past me as if in a trance, toward the hidden sun. The ethereal quality of the images that I am attempting to record on my camera remind me of a hike that I took amongst giant sequoias in Kings Canyon National Park a few months ago. I was also alone on that occasion, slowly walking in heavy morning fog on a narrow trail that meandered through a grove of ancient and enormous living beings. In this case, however, the bison are the ones who meander, lowering their heads every couple of steps to bite off a mouthful of golden grass as they continue their trek toward the sun. Below are photos from that foggy morning, as well as from the other mornings that I watched the bison in their morning migration.

On the other end of the day, I was fortunate to see a small herd of elk just before sunset in a field of tall grass. They were in rut, and the bugle of a young bull signaled his acute interest in finding a mate, or two, or three. He had exclusive rights to this particular herd until a distant bugle indicated that there was a new sheriff in town. In the distance, I could see a large male making his way slowly toward the herd through the chest-high grass. One of the photo sets below captures the ultimate meeting of the young buck and the aging veteran. Spoiler alert: in this case, size and experience win out over youthful exuberance.

In total, I spent almost three weeks exploring Yellowstone NP, some days in the park from before sunrise, until well after sunset. In addition to the photos of bison, elk and pronghorns, this post also includes sunrise shots of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and stunning Yellowstone Lower Fall. Finally, there are images of the beautiful Mammoth Hot Springs and the dramatic Porcelain Basin. 

If you click on a photo, you can see a larger version of it.  You can also use the arrows at the bottom (click on the photo if they disappear on you) to scroll through all the photos in a photo set.  The sets are arranged to be viewed from the upper left corner across. To close a photo set, click on the ‘X’ in the top right corner.


THE SUN WORSHIPERS





A NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN








PRONGHORNS





YELLOWSTONE GRAND CANYON AND THE GREAT FALL





MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS AND PORCELAIN BASIN


Fred’s Yellowstone National Park, Part 1

I spent almost three weeks in Yellowstone NP, a week of which was while Laura traveled back to Chicago to help Claire with her wedding dress shopping, and during that time I got a pretty good feel for the park. The time also afforded me the opportunity to revisit particular places of interest at different times of the day or under different weather conditions. On a number of days I was up at zero dark hundred to capture bison as the morning light hit them, and stayed out until after sunset to shoot a geyser and mineral pool basin as the last rays of the day shimmered on hot, still water. At different places in the park, I watched as the rising sun slowly illuminated the 300 feet Lower Yellowstone Falls, and caught the floor show on a number of occasions of Yellowstone’s most famous attraction: Old Faithful. There was so much more, but I’ll allow my photos to provide you with a sense of what I saw during my time in the park. Given my extensive amount of time in Yellowstone and the corresponding number of images that I captured, I have divided my photos into two different posts.

Yellowstone is our nation’s first national park, and what a grand park it is. 

If you click on a photo, you can see a larger version of it.  You can also use the arrows at the bottom (click on the photo if they disappear on you) to scroll through all the photos in a photo set.  The sets are arranged to be viewed from the upper left corner across. To close a photo set, click on the ‘X’ in the top right corner.


THE BIG BLOW – OLD FAITHFUL





POOLS OF COLOR





NATURE IN ABSTRACT


Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park
This is a national park entrance that we’ve been wanting to see for a long time  — Roosevelt Arch welcoming visitors to Yellowstone at the northern entrance to the park. Teddy himself laid the cornerstone in 1903.

Yellowstone National Park is our nation’s oldest, and for many, grandest national park.  Established on March 1, 1872, this land was “… set apart as a public park or pleasuring-ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people….”  And enjoy we did — for almost a month!  We stayed in three different campgrounds at the north, west, and south entrances to the park so we could really take in this vast, awesome park that now protects over two million acres in the northwest corner of Wyoming, spilling over into Montana and Idaho.

While it doesn’t look like it, this area was once a supervolcano that erupted about 2 million years ago, then again about 1.3 million years ago, and then again about 650,000 years ago.  The central part of the park is the now-collapsed caldera, or basin, that measures some 30- by 45-miles; today it’s filled with water and is Yellowstone Lake.  The magmatic heat that caused those huge eruptions in the past is what powers the park’s shimmering geysers, steaming fumaroles, burbling hot springs, and sulfurous mudpots today.  Yellowstone is home to a majority of the world’s geysers because of this geothermal activity; there are some 300 active geysers including Old Faithful, famous for its predictability.

Yellowstone National Park
Everyone flocks to Old Faithful, but I liked this geothermal feature — Grand Prismatic Spring in Midway Geyser Basin.  While most visit it from the boardwalk, we hiked up the side of a little mountain to get a higher view.
Yellowstone National Park
Imperial Geyser — a little-known geothermal feature found only if you keep hiking another 1/2 mile past the Fairy Falls. We had this geyser all to ourselves for our picnic lunch — stunning!

Another big draw in Yellowstone is the wildlife viewing.  From herds of bison and elk that stopped traffic when they crossed (and in some sections of the park they did so frequently, often causing traffic backups); coyotes, wolves and grizzly bears that were harder to spot; pronghorn, mule deer, and marmots that made occasional appearances birds, waterfowl, squirrels and pikas… all were a treat to see in the park. 

Yellowstone National Park
Wild bison roaming freely across the plains — and often roads, stopping traffic as they do!

More than 10,000 years ago, Native Americans roamed through these lands, no doubt attracted to the unique geographic features and plentiful wildlife found here.  Thousands of years later, as Europeans and other peoples began exploring in earnest the unknown territory west of the Mississippi River, these explorers and surveyors came across this beautiful place and thankfully decided to preserve it.  Photographs by William Henry Jackson and sketches by Thomas Moran influenced Congress to create a park for all people to enjoy.  Interestingly enough, however, there was no money set aside to protect the park, nor to administer it.  Early park superintendents had difficulty controlling wildlife poaching and the general lawlessness that had settled over Yellowstone.

In 1886, fourteen years after the park was established, fifty U.S. Army soldiers arrived, set up tents, and moved in.  Through their discipline and hard work, they oversaw the construction of Fort Yellowstone (buildings still in use today), arrested poachers, managed wildlife, fought wildfires, expelled squatters and educated visitors.  The Army’s assignment in Yellowstone lasted for more than 30 years, and its good work paved the way for the creation of the National Park Service on August 25, 1916.**  By this time, some 30 parks, monuments, and reserves had been established across the country.  This new agency would preserve and protect them and make them accessible to people from around the world.

Yellowstone National Park
April and me at the “classic” NPS sign welcoming visitors to Yellowstone from the east

Fitting it was, then, that we were introduced to a national park ranger via another ranger we had met a few weeks earlier in Idaho, and we got a VIP tour from her in her section of the park, Tower Roosevelt, on her day off.  [A special shout-out (hello and thanks!) to Cris and April, our now-new friends who are both NPS rangers.  Cris in Hagerman hooked us up with April in Yellowstone.]

I’m including a few photographs that represent my most memorable bits of Yellowstone, but since Fransel (my nickname for Fred being famed photographer, Ansel [Adams]) is going to share many of the hundreds, nay I’ll say couple thousand, photographs that he captured during our time here in this amazing place, I’ll not repeat the same scenes.

Yellowstone National Park
Fall colors began to pop during our stay in Yellowstone
Yellowstone National Park
The little-known trail out to Imperial Geyser passes alongside these microbial mats reminding us of the geothermal plumbing in this place
Yellowstone National Park
This area burned during the 1988 wildfires, but the forest is rejuvenating with new lodgepole pines

All in all we had a fabulous time in this park as we do in all of the national parks.  But this one, with so many sections and so many different features, was, indeed, really something special.

** Next year marks the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service.  Get out there and visit a national park — see Find Your Park for details!

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton NPSeptember 1-8 — We had not expected to come here at this time, but given the hazardous air quality that continued to permeate northern Montana skies, we decided to skip visiting Glacier National Park for now, and opted, instead, to come down to Wyoming to visit Grand Teton National Park.  Grand Teton NP is just south of Yellowstone NP which we had planned to visit next anyway, so re-routing to this area was an easy decision to make.  My only concern, as the Chief Logistics Officer (CLO), was how we were going to find a campground over Labor Day Weekend with about three days notice.  But find a campground we did — between the two parks actually — and from here we visited this most-beautiful park at a perfect time of the year when the weather was still fabulous but the crowds were way down.

Jackson Lake in Grand Teton NP
Beautiful Jackson Lake in Grand Teton National Park

While one-seventh the size of Yellowstone, one could argue, and I don’t think be wrong, that driving through the Tetons is as scenic, if not moreso, than its much larger and more popular neighbor.  Both parks feature similar wildlife, trees and vegetation, but the two parks feel very different.  

The Teton Range rises above a high mountain valley floor, Jackson Hole.  There are no foothills to obstruct the view of the jagged peaks of the bare alpine rocks, making the mountains that much more majestic as they rise high into the sky.  Grand Teton, at 13,770 feet, is the tallest mountain in the Teton Range, but Mount Moran, at 12,605 feet, is equally spectacular with its five glaciers and the “Black Dike” ribbon of black rock that runs through the top of the mountain with distinction.

Jagged peaks of the Tetons
The jagged peaks of the Teton mountain range — that’s Grand Teton in the middle of the three peaks on the left, and Mount Moran on the right
Lunch by Jenny Lake
Grabbing a piece of shore at Jenny Lake for lunch

The lakes here in The Tetons are stunningly beautiful!  To get to most places in the park we had to drive past Jackson Lake and Jenny Lake, very different in size and shape but each one beautiful, peaceful, and inviting — well, along the pebbled shores anyway; the water was too cold for swimming!  

Hiking in Grand TetonWe did some hiking in the park on a few different days, and Fred challenged himself one day with a 20-miler.  He opined that I didn’t want to suffer that much and he was right!  I didn’t want to wake up at 4:30 in the morning, drive to the trail in the dark so I could be on the trail by 7 a.m. to allow for the nine or ten hours it would take to hike two large canyons and climb some 4,000+ feet; I’ve done that before — the 4,000′ elevation gain in a hike, not the 20 miles — and it’s less than fun!  Oh, and I forgot to mention that the temperatures at some times and in some places are near freezing!  I hate being cold.  He was right, I didn’t (and don’t!) need to suffer like that!  Instead, I stayed back in Charley and read my book, baked brownies, did a small hike (just 4 miles), and had his dinner and a cold beer waiting for him when he returned to Charley and me at the end of the day.  I’m actually proud of him for taking on a long and difficult hike such as this, and it was great training for the 26-mile rim-to-rim hike he’s going to do at the Grand Canyon next year.

On the topic of Fred, he spent a lot of time in the park capturing the natural beauty that is found here in the Tetons, and he’s posted his photos which you can find below my post here.  The lakes, the mountain peaks, the sagebrush flats, the dropped valley floor (the “hole” of Jackson Hole), the winding rivers and wet meadows, the forests dominated by tall, twisting lodgepole pines but interspersed with aspens, cottonwoods, and willows whose leaves blazed more and more every day in beautiful yellows and oranges — indeed this turned out to be the perfect time of the year to visit Grand Teton National Park, and we agreed the re-route here wasn’t so bad after all!

The Tetons
The grasses in the meadows began changing colors during our stay, complementing even more  the dramatic views of the Tetons in the distance

Fred’s Grand Teton National Park, Part 2

This is my second photo post on Grand Teton National Park, and includes photos from a rather challenging hike that I undertook, and a stripped-down perspective on a number of previously-displayed images.

THE LONG, LONG HIKE

The Paintbrush Canyon and Cascade Canyon Loop Trail in Grand Teton National Park, is a long, long hike. Laura decided to spend the day with Charley, so I endeavored to take on this 20-mile trek by myself. Beginning at 6,200 ft. at the base of the Tetons, I stepped off at 0700 just as the rising sun was painting the mountains a vibrant gold, and the bugles of rutting elk reverberated through the canyon. Loaded down with water, a water purification pump, plenty of food and bear spray (both grizzly and black bears roam these mountains), I began to make my way slowly up the rock-strewn trail under a crystal-blue sky. Temperature-wise, it was on the cool side as my car thermometer showed an outside temp of 30 degrees as I drove to the trailhead. Despite the chilly temperature, I found myself perspiring as I climbed, and climb I did. While the total hiking distance is 20 miles, the 4,500 ft. of elevation gain up to 10,700 ft. occurs in the first eight to nine miles. Who needs a hospital-stress test, when you have something like this to tax your system? It became even more interesting when I ascended above the tree line and gusting winds hit me smack in the face. But I finally reached the pass between the two canyons after four and a half hours of continuous climbing, with a few stops to snap a picture or two, and the views of distant lakes and mountains were truly spectacular. At the top, I did not dawdle because of the frigid conditions, and put on another jacket, a stocking cap and gloves, and began the very long walk down, which mercifully, was a nice, gradual descent.

Lunch was had sitting on a boulder out of the wind above the trail looking out over Cascade Canyon to the distant Desolate Lake. The lake was a cloudy green. I took my time with lunch, enjoyed the grand view and let my body absorb the warmth of the sun. A few fellow hikers walked by on the trail below me and one stopped to chat. I asked him how much farther it was to the trailhead, and after glancing at a detailed map of the area, he lifted my spirits by indicating that we only had five more miles to hike. However, my elation was short-lived, as upon closer examination of the map he apologized and said that the hike down would be at least another 10 miles. I set off walking down into the well of the canyon watching Desolate Lake become larger as I neared it and the view into the valley even more spectacular than that from above, as cathedral peaks were a backdrop to the glacier-strewn landscape spread out before me. I was walking into the remnants of millennia of earth’s evolution.

I continued down on the trail walking briskly wanting to finish this trek and my day’s work. After walking for some time, I approached a trail sign that I hoped would tell me that I only had a short distance to walk to my car. After all, I had been walking, forever. Not so, as the sign indicated that I still had exactly 6.2 miles to String Lake Outlet, the site of the parking lot. Damn. I had hiked 14 miles, farther than I had ever walked before, and still had six miles to go before I could call it a day. So I powered on, moving down the trail catching others who had opted for a shorter hike that day, and pacing myself behind a nice couple from San Francisco who distracted me with a constant stream of questions about our three-year odyssey. If they are reading this, I am hoping that they have been contemplating how they might themselves strike out on a similar journey.

Finally, I hopped onto the trail along Jenny Lake, knowing that I was nearing the end. It was a wonderful stretch of flat trail along a beautiful lake taking me toward the conclusion of this marathon. Along the way, I saw a father and son shedding layers of clothing, and then stopping to point just off of the trail. A white-tailed deer tentatively stepped from the brush onto the trail and then bounded off into the overgrowth of bushes and tall grass. The young boy was so excited to see the deer, and the wave of his youthful glee passed over first his father, and then me.

The end was in sight now as I caught my first glimpse of the parking area. I strode toward my car as others who had just arrived began what would be a one or two mile walk along the lake before dusk set in. It was approaching 1700 and I had been on the trail for almost 10 hours. Granted, I had taken almost 170 photos, which added time to the trek, but regardless, it was still a good day’s work. After a stretch of very tired muscles, it was time for this almost 60-year old body to make the drive back to Laura and Charley and a very cold beer.

IN BLACK AND WHITE

It is the essence of a photo stripped to its core. No gimmicky, Photoshoped color, or other special effects,  it is a raw image in the most basic of form and contrast and tints. A black and white photo reveals subtle texture and depth in an image. In the collection of black and white photos below, I have taken what has previously been captured in the color of the moment, and converted it into a more simple, but yet, arguably, more complex, format. The absolute master of the B&W landscape and nature format was Ansel Adams. During the Great Depression and World War II he was commissioned by the United States government to capture the raw, natural beauty of America. In 1942 he visited Grand Teton NP, and captured various images, including a photo of the Tetons and the Snake River as afternoon waned. How wonderful it was to stand where he did and attempt to capture my own moment. That image is below, along with others from this beautiful park, in binary color.

If you click on a photo, you can see a larger version of it.  You can also use the arrows at the bottom (click on the photo if they disappear on you) to scroll through all the photos in a photo set.  The sets are arranged to be viewed from the upper left corner across. To close a photo set, click on the ‘X’ in the top right corner.

 

THE LONG, LONG HIKE





IN BLACK AND WHITE


Fred’s Grand Teton National Park, Part 1

My Grandmother Jacobs took up painting rather late in her life. While I am sure that when she was younger she likely sketched and dabbled with paint, she did not really pursue the activity until she was in her fifties. I suppose that being a farm wife and raising two daughters was more than a full-time job, and left very little time for hobbies. Her first paintings were paint-by-number pieces in the 1950’s, some of which we still have. I believe that she did take some instruction, but was generally self-taught. Her subjects ranged from farm scenes to flowers and birds, small-town vignettes and landscapes. Many of her paintings were based on photographs that she tore out of magazines. From a very early age I remember one painting in particular that hung on the wall of my grandparents farm house in central Illinois, which was of a majestic and jagged mountain range with a beautiful barn in the foreground. It would not be until many years later that I would learn that this painting was of the Teton mountain range in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. How wonderful then, to see and hike around these incredible mountains during the week that we spent in the national park. It is hard not to see them, as they tower above everything and are in the background of virtually every vista in the park. As you will see when you view my photos, I captured the Tetons at various times of day, ranging from first light until the sun was beginning to set in the west. Regardless of the hour, they were always magnificent subjects, and I can see why my grandmother selected them for one of her paintings.

Given the number of photographs that I would like to share, I have divided my photos into four sets. Two are included with this post, while the other two will be profiled in my second post on Grand Teton NP.

When my mother passed away in 2011 and my brothers and I were dividing up her personal effects, my grandmother’s paintings were some of the most cherished pieces. When it was my turn to select a painting, the first one that I chose was the one of the Tetons. As you will see in the second photo set below, I have shot two different, timeworn barns with the Tetons looming in the background, one of which is depicted in my grandmother’s painting of some 50 years ago. I would like to think that perhaps my grandmother would be pleased with my choice of subject.


If you click on a photo, you can see a larger version of it.  You can also use the arrows at the bottom (click on the photo if they disappear on you) to scroll through all the photos in a photo set.  The sets are arranged to be viewed from the upper left corner across. To close a photo set, click on the
‘X’ in the top right corner.



THE GRAND MOUNTAIN RANGE





TWO BARNS