19 Dec 2009

Grand Teton, Elk Reserve & Jackson Nights

Friday turned out to be the first day of vacation for me, had to work Thursday

We went to an Elk Reserve here in town: http://www.fws.gov/nationalelkrefuge/

It was very cool. While it turns out you can drive up the highway a mile or so and see 100s of elk, the ones that wander close to the sleigh (by their own choice) give you a chance to get up very close

We rode out on sleigh, only two other folks (from South Carolina) in addition to our excellent guide

This guy lost part of his antler during mating rituals (or so he says)

This guy is in good shape

These pics are self-explanatory...

We also caught a bald eagle in flight

Nice view

And the hardest working guys on the tour

After the ride we drove over to a road that goes through the reserve. Plenty of elk over here keeping their distance from people - pretty smart, it was hunting season until Monday

We ran into our big horned sheep pals again. We thought it was pretty cool that we were able to watch two of them easily climbing a steep hill. Tough to see them, the guy is in the middle and the girl just to the right of him (she blends in with the snow)

Well, it turns out we were watching a romantic encounter. She doesn't seem too thrilled (she's running away)


Friday night we cruised into town where the town square is all lit up with an arch of elk horns at each of the four corners. We took The Hud

Today (Saturday) we cruised through Grand Teton. We need to buy another camera with a more powerful zoom...still, it was a great drive, quiet and some excellent pictures

We started at the Visitor's Center. Both Jackson and Teton have great centers. This was a cool shot

Entering the park...

First were Bald Eagles...

...then Winter scenes...

Hot Springs (or something like it)...



And finally Moose...

Tomorrow we are in Bozeman, MT until 2010

15 Dec 2009

The Holiday Season!

So...last update was two days before my birthday. We had just gone to get our family photo with Santa for the local Humane Society. Here is the Harvey clan:

All was going superb. Durango was as fun as ever, I was running about 6x / week, all was good

Then it went to heck

First, we got snowed in for a day as Durango got hit with 14+ inches. Hud loved it

Next, my birthday. After we got plowed out in the late afternoon we went into town for a few things. Sadly we didn't make it up our pretty steep hill in 4WD. After the 3rd try fell just short, we decided to back down the hill and put the chains on. Unfortunately the car ended up off the road in the snow, stuck. An hour later the guy who plowed our rural road came by with a tow rope and got us out. After he plowed more we made it up. I was going to run down the hill and toss him a tip...but my wallet was now MIA, probably buried under a few feet of snow

The next day was better but not great - driving 10 hours to the Father-in-Law in Utah. Generally it was ok...but once we got through Moab it was freezing (as low as -4 Fahrenheit) and when it's dark in rural Utah, you can't see much. The worst stretch was the curvy mountain pass Soldier Summit in Utah. Maureen was driving so I just dozed off and assumed all would be good or we'd be dead, not much I could do. Still, the scenery was awesome

The first few hours was in Colorado and driving was done at below the speed limit

Utah is spectacular

Moab should be on our post-Christmas itinerary

The visit in Utah was cool, complete with a birthday cake from her sister. The next day we were off to Jackson Hole. Much easier drive, although there was a long stretch with no one else and no cell coverage through national forest in Idaho

This was leaving Salt Lake area

Entering the National Forest in Idaho

Grumpus was impressed

Entering Wyoming

So far not bad here in Jackson Hole but not enough snow to warrant spending $200 on skiing - limited runs and patchy. What a disappointment. The town of Jackson is nice, good coffee at the bagel shop (and good art)

Saturday we drove through an Elk Reserve...saw Big Horn Sheep

Sunday we cruised up to Jackson Hole (the ski resort)

Hud still loves the snow...

Today I finally mailed presents to my parents. Mom got ripped off - not allowed to ship perishable items. So...Mom, here you go - Merry Christmas!

My Christmas vacation starts tomorrow (Wednesday) at 6pm sharp!

6 Dec 2009

Back in (Freezing) Durango

The pics are great but the quality may be a tad less as we're getting used to a new camera. I broke our other one (simple drop). On our honeymoon 6 years ago I damaged another camera by getting pummeled by a wave during a storm on Vancouver Island. Whoooops!

Anyways, we wrapped up our time in awesome Taos. Below was one of our local friends we'll miss

We made it up to the ski resort before we left. Looked fun but not much snow

We hadn't booked our next place so we decided to go back to Durango, one of the best times we've had on our travels. The drive up North on Monday was on some pretty remote mountainous New Mexican roads. There was more snow up here

The beauty did not amuse Grumpus

And it was beautiful...

We crossed into Colorado early afternoon

Still no access to the network...

...but the scenery was still fantastic...

We are staying in a different home this time on the other side of Durango, a bit more rural. Plenty of natural gas sites, including one just behind our house

The area is really nice...plenty of farmland...

We get some excellent views of snow capped mountains. The other night was a full moon and until this weekend it was perfectly clear every day - and thus extremely cold. The night of the full moon it was 0 Fahrenheit

Here is the moon the later in the morning going down behind the mountains

We haven't always remembered the camera and have missed herds of deer and elk coming out just before sundown. Very cool. Fortunately one of them came up to visit The Hud

This is the house next to us (we don't see them as we are on 22 acres)

The sunsets seem quicker up here but are still stunning. This one may not be brilliant but we haven't seen many that are so purplish

We are here until Tuesday, when we'll head to visit Art in Utah (Maureen's Dad) for 2 nights. After that it's off to Jackson Hole for 10 nights and then 7 miles outside of Bozeman, Montana for the Christmas holidays