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Wyoming Part 2

Started by Damselfly, October 12, 2007, 21:57:45 PM

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Damselfly

After watching the moose & elk until our eyes watered from the strain in the low light, Sleepytrout & Flygirl & I said our goodbyes and I headed North to Colter Bay Village- I'd rented a cabin for the next two nights.
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Suddenly I started to stress- it was well after 6pm, I hadn't called the cabins for late check-in, didn't know how to find the place and was wondering if I was doomed for a chilly night in the car. Btw- all my warm clothes plus a hidden $100 cash (a mistake I won't make again) were somewhere in a missing checked bag....
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Do yourself a favor and stay there sometime!

Check in went smoothly (the office was 24 hrs), and, starving, I dropped off my things and raced to the restaurant for a steak dinner before they closed. When I walked into my cabin again, there sat my bag! Everything intact, too. And it being a clear, crisp night with ridiculously huge full moon, I put on my warm sweater and went for a wander. Actually, I only meant to go to the car for something, but the breeze carried an elk bugle with it, and mesmerized, I began walking toward it. What a great sound. And who knew there were soooo many stars? And how in the world can the big dipper look like there are miles between each star?! Somehow it was refracted at the horizon like the moon had been... all these thoughts tumbled through my mind as I strolled, no flashlight, no agenda, just enjoying. Unable to resist a dirt road- especially one that's blocked off- I hiked up a hill into what appeared to be a section of canvas-wall tent spots, without canvas in place. There were about 20 or so concrete pads with firepits and skeletons ready for canvas, with back walls of brick with fold-down cot frames. As I explored in the gloom, I listened to elk calls back and forth- some fairly close. Then, in a moment of stillness.......there it was. A wolf howl...then another and another and another until there was an entire chorus of singing howls! I gazed at the huge moon through the mist of my breath and grinned. I felt a sudden surprising chill on my cheek and was shocked to find a tear had slipped out.....I felt like I'd been given a gift.

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I heard him last night....

The next morning I managed to wake around 5am and bolted out of the cabin to find a likely spot to photograph sunrise on the Tetons.
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I found another interesting looking gravel road and had the place entirely to myself all morning- except for a chipmunk who thoughtfully squeaked for my attention as he scrambled to the fencepost and posed for photos-
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A sleepy-acting mountain boomer, and an erratic ruffed grouse who managed to keep a cottonwood tree between us every time I tried to get a photo.
Then, as I started for the car to suit up to fish the creek, a sudden overpowering urge for coffee hit- after all, it was around 10 am and I'd bolted without java hours ago!
So, I started back down the gravel road to the cabin.....

And, coming around the bend, I slid to a stop- not believing what I was seeing ahead of me....!

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Bears?? YES, BEARS!!! A Grizzly Mama and her three cubs! I took many, many photos while sitting in the car as they cautiously padded past.
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I couldn't believe my luck. And not another soul in sight. This was a gift just for me. If not for a horrible craving for coffee, I would have been fishing the creek, totally unaware as they walked by....
Obligatory Bear Butt pic- You can't help but smile, can you?
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I pulled a Uturn and followed far behind, not wanting to spook them, but following. As they got to the trailhead and parking lot I'd taken photos from moments before, I watched as Mama checked out the outhouse (Imagine swinging that door open about then!!) then led her cubs up the trail I'd just explored myself.
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By now, I've gotten out of the car and am following at a discrete distance, always in sight of Mama.
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I had just poked around in these very willows, and had taken a photo of what I'd thought was a bed-spot!
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At this point, Mama had had enough of me, and looked me in the eye and stood up. She wasn't angry and I wasn't afraid- but her message was plain, and I slowly left. But I'll never forget that one moment when an animal that embodies all that is wild looked me square in the eye. I sincerely understand now why Native Americans call the big bear "the Original One" or "First Man".
(But- I did manage to mis-frame that photo, which might be understandable)

I carried that glow with me the rest of the day.

I ran into a couple fellows, Bryan & Royal, who were heading up the same path, so I shared my photos with them and we ended up talking, laughing and fishing together most of the morning, until they went on their way to another lodge.
I continued fishing Pilgrim Creek
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(I tried holding it close to the camera, but it still looks puny)

until dark when, on the far side of the water, the big bull elk started to come out in the meadows.
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Then it was back to the cabin for a Moose Drool and sleep-


Woolly Bugger

wow....you've been blessed with an eventful trip! how cool to have a bear encounter w/o anyone else around ;hb

ex - I'm not going to live with you through one more fishing season!

me -There's a season?

Pastor explains icons to my son: you know like the fish symbol on the back of cars.

My son: My dad has two fish on his car and they're both trout!

brownhunter

Wow!!! That was quite an amazing trip, and you haven't even given it all to us yet. I can't wait to see the rest and read the rest of the stories. The bear pics are magnificent, thanks for sharing.

"Why, he wondered, did rich people call it sushi while poor people called it bait?"   -- Same Kind of Different as Me

Sleepytrout

Cool!

Very nice to have a bear encounter like that. Your pics are incredible.

If fishing is religion, then flyfishing is high church.-- Tom Brokaw

Peddler

The early bird may get the worm,
but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Trout Chaser

 Wow!!  Awesome, truly awesome 0--0 0--0

TC


Gofisher

Yankee by birth, Rebel by choice.

pelcrk

really amazing pictures.great trip so far.

Steve

It's all good drifts

Al

Great photos and great story Lauri. Hope you are now inspired to reduce some of it to paint and canvas.


Damselfly

Thanks y'all! I really was blessed with a great, great trip.

Al- don't miss Part 3 of this tale... I can only hope/pray to do it justice.

And I'll be posting the last of the trip shortly....


richard bernabe

Amazing Grizz images. What an experience!


Damselfly

I was beyond thrilled Richard- but I can only imagine what magic you could have done with your cameras & talent. I was just point & shoot and planning on working my magic on canvas later.  ;)



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