Wildlife Crossing In Grand Teton National Park

“Pay Attention:  Wildlife On Road!” 

 This sign greets all visitors to Grand Teton National Park, but let me be the first to tell you it is absolutely true!  You never know when you will have something or a herd of “somethings” dash in front of your car… and let’s just say some of the animals in this park will take on a truck and win!

Let’s just take a quick look at a few of the animals I have had cross my path since arriving her in May!

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A relatively large elk…

Now this buckaroo, decided to mosey across the road right in front of our car.   We were lucky we saw it in time because he would have caused a lot of damage!

 

Bison sml

A Bison…

This guy really doesn’t seem to care who is on the road…but I recommend staying far away from him as they can run up to 30 mph without warning!  In this case, I guess he decided that the grass was greener on the other side of the road!

 

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A Moose….

As we came around the bend in the road, she was right in sight.  Luckily she was just beginning the cross and quickly headed into the brush so other cars wouldn’t be surprised by her!

 

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A Grizzly Bear….

This guy is definitely the king of our forest.  So when he crosses your path, you definitely want to stop!

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A Car Jam!

I’d say the most dangerous road hazard in Grand Teton National Park can be the other drivers, so pull to the side of the road if to stay clear of other Park visitors if you do see something of interest!  Most speedlimits within the park are 45 mph, that’s to help avoid an encounter with an animal.  We know there is a lot of open road, but the wildlife is abundant as well, and staying safe is everyone’s top priority!   Keep your eyes open because you never know when a bear, moose, elk or bison jam is going to sneak up on you!  

 

From Melissa’s Corner!

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Colter’s Floatin’ the Snake River

Hi everyone!  It’s me Colter Moose and today I’m floatin’ the Snake River with the Grand Teton Lodge Company boatmen.  These guys get to cruise the river all day long as their job…and I thought I had it good!

Anyway, I’ve heard all about the dinner they put together on the banks of the Snake River, so I thought I’d try the “Supper Float Trip”.  You see our meal site is located just below the Snake River Overlook ~ the place Ansel Adams made famous for his photos of Grand Teton National Park.  It’s a pretty scenic place to have dinner….

Moosin Around 039

 

Speaking of dinner, the chef (shown above) cooks steaks and trout on an open grill.  I’m told there is something special about meals cooked outdoors.  Since I don’t really eat the same types of food as our guests do…I’ll have to take their word for it…but let me know what you think if you join us on this activity!

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During dinner I made a few friends.  This is Katie sitting at one of the picnic benches before dinner began. 

After dinner, we put on life jackets, listened to the boatmen talk about the trip and how best to prepare for our adventure…here’s a photo of Katie and Kelly as we boarded the rafts!

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 The big boats hold up to 20 people.  This is a photo of the rest of the people on our trip who were just about to depart for their 10 mile scenic journey down the Snake River.

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 The guides make each trip unique as they talk about the area, tell folk tales, provide historical information and help guests search for wildlife along the way!

08Jackson Lake Lodge

This here is Mike, a boatman who helps guide river trips ~ he also grew up here in Grand Teton National Park…so he has lots of stories to tell!

(I’m not that great at taking photos, so I asked a friend of mine who is a photographer,Dan Sullivan,if I could use a few of his.)

This photo was taken by a real photographer...Dan Sullivan

The scenery is so unique…And it just keeps getting better and better along the way!

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 On our trip we were lucky to see lots of wildlife.  I’m new to this park so I haven’t made many friends.  Everyone thought it was just because I was along that we saw so many animals along the river, but our guide assured them…this happens often ~ especially on the early morning and evening trips.  Above, can you see the bald eagle in the tree?  This was one of my photos…sorry it’s not clearer, but I hope you can make him out – he’s in the center of the photo.

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 …and here, now this is a challenge…but that rock-like ball sitting just in the water on the right side…that’s a beaver.  There were 5 of them on this trip that we came across – it was pretty cool to see them swimming in and out of their homes along the river banks.

We were also able to find a “real” moose on the river banks, had a heron fly right along side the raft, and encountered many ducks in the river as well

Once we ended the trip, everyone else got out and I was the last one in the boat.  Sort of looks like I’m one the one in charge here doesn’t it??  Hmmm….maybe I should entertain a career change. 

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Jackson Lake Lodge Walking Tour

I’ve recently noticed a bronze plaque that stands right outside the portico of Jackson Lake Lodge.  It celebrates the buildings claim to being a historic buliding.  It got me thinking about how little I know about the history of my new home as I am an employee of Jackson Lake Lodge.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that there is a Historic Walking tour of the Lodge that didn’t require me to meet at a certain time or place, instead I just had to pick up a guide at the Activities Desk and get to walking. 

The tour begins right inside the front door in the lower lobby.  The phone booths, Arts for the Parks paintings and the staircase are some of the highlights of this space.  But my favorite tidbit was about the Indian Dress behind the Front Desk.  Did you know that it is an original dress that was used for parade or pow-wow purposes? Apparently, at one time it hung in the Stockade Bar, until it was stolen by some wranglers who cut it in half.  You can see where they stitched it back together right across the bust line.    Indian Dress

 From here we head upstairs to the Upper Lobby.  Of course the first thing you notice about this room is the amazing view!  The windows are 36 feet high and 60 feet wide and look out over Willow Flats, Jackson Lake, the Dam and the Tetons themselves.   

windows

When you finally stop looking at the view, the tour takes you into the Mural Dining Room where you are able to check out the Rendezvous Murals.  Carl Roters painted the two murals at the request of Mr. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. not long after the hotel opened.  It took him two years to paint the ten panels that span two walls and make two complete murals. All together they total nearly 80 feet and they depict the events and people who participated in the 1837 Rendezvous.

murals

 The next stop on the tour is the Pioneer Grill.  This place is great as it feels like something you would find in an old movie.  I feel like I should have a poodle skirt on as I order my huckleberry shake and sit in the swivel stools at the counter. 

 Pioneer Grill Server

Apparently this room is the same as it was back at the opening of the building in 1955.  Snaking throughout the room is one large, continuous counter and it is rumored to be the longest in the US.  Even if you don’t stop for a bite or drink, definitely check out the pictures on the wall and the items over the kitchen!

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 After my little snack, I then headed back out to the lobby where I checked out the giant fireplaces (seriously I would be able to walk into them unhindered!), the old Stockade Bar (now a gift shop) and the Peace Table.  Interesting fact about this table is that it was an old door that they took off the hinges and made into a table to host the 1989 Baker-Shevardnadze peace talks between Russia and the US.  Talk about a doorway to peace!  peaceOn my way back to the Main Lobby I went down the “Historic Hallway.”  This display is pretty cool because there are all sorts of old photographs and documents about the history of the park and area.  Definitely something to check out!  

Finding myself back in the lobby, I actually take the time to check out the other displays.  There are several islands with Indian artifacts, as well as a stuffed grizzly bear and trumpeter swan.  I never realized how large these two species are!    I also took the time to look up at the ‘wooden’ beams above, which aren’t actually wood but reinforced concrete that were stained to look like wood.  You couldn’t tell by looking at this building, but it is made almost completely of concrete!

 

 The last stop inside the building is at the Blue Heron Lounge.  This bar was one of the few additions to the building when it replaced the Stockade Bar.  Here is the place to go if you want a drink and to take in a great view!   The decorations in here are quite cool too and include various Indian artifacts like headdresses and moccasins.  You’ll also find the only television at Jackson Lake Lodge and a painting called “The Trapper’s Bride” by Charles Banks Wilson. 
 
From here there are several outdoor activities you can do ~

Lunch tree

 You can head up Lunch Tree Hill and check out the view that is said to have inspired a legacy or…

You could head out to the corrals to check out some of the vintage buses.

I did a bit of both and would definitely recommend doing this tour yourself as I learned so much about this remarkable place!

From Melissa’s Corner

Two Incredible Days on the Paintbrush-Cascade Canyon Loop

 

Looking at the Tetons from the Mural Room window, it was hard to imagine canyons between the mountains.  Actual canyons?  Like the Grand Canyon?  Coming from New Jersey, this was a difficult concept to wrap my brain around.  The plan was to hike through Paintbrush Canyon, camp for the night (after getting a back-country camping permit), and cross the Paintbrush Divide into Cascade Canyon.  From there, we’d end the trip at the Jenny Lake ferry.  The canyons could be hiked separately as day hikes as well, but our group was fired up to give camping a shot.  Driving up to Jenny Lake, we saw the route – journey into one side of a mountain and come out the other.  We had a long trek ahead of us!

Paintbrush Canyon
Paintbrush Canyon

The trip started at the String Lake trailhead, curving up through cool mountain forests.  All of a sudden, we came upon a clearing where the view opened up to Paintbrush Canyon.  It took us a few minutes to stop gasping at how beautiful the streams, flowers, and mountains were that surrounded us.  The sight was truly a treasure to see, one of the most spectacular I’ve seen anywhere.  The climb was steady, but not too taxing, and we made it up to our “Outlier” campsite after about five miles.  We set up camp, took a few more pictures, and called it a night.

The next day, we climbed three miles to Paintbrush Divide, passing by carpets of wildflowers and mini lakes created by moving glaciers millions of years ago.  You feel small next to these gigantic and ancient landforms, but awed by their incredible beauty.  Reaching the Divide at 10,700 feet, we felt like we were standing on top of the world!  The views were breathtaking, unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.

View From Paintbrush Divide
View From Paintbrush Divide

From the Divide, the rest was all downhill – quite a relief after the climb we just had!  We descended into Cascade Canyon, stopping to relax on the shores of Lake Solitude.   It seemed like a fantasy: idyllic hidden lake surrounded on all sides by snow-covered mountain peaks.   It just kept getting better and better!   The Canyon was out of this world!   As I came to realize, the Canyon was simply a deep valley edged by mountains, with a stream flowing through.   We wound our way through the Canyon, past cascading streams and quite a few marmots.   It was humbling to be in the shadow of the Grand, and we got closer to this range’s highest peak as we pushed through the Canyon.   After a few miles, the trail made a turn into a dense forested area.   This new change in scenery came complete with a moose!   It’s amazing how you see wildlife when you least expect it.

View of Lake Solitude
View of Lake Solitude

The loop also included a visit to a few of the most popular sights on Jenny Lake, Inspiration Point and Hidden Falls.   After winding through the two canyons, it was wonderful to see a different view out onto the lake from Inspiration Point.   From this spot, we were close to the ferry, but had just missed the last ride of the night (for future reference, the last trip is at 7 pm).   With our last adrenaline kick, we finally made it back to the Jenny Lake parking lot.

Those two days definitely opened my eyes to how incredible the Tetons really are.   I’ll never forget looking up at the Grand, watching waterfalls cascading down the face of a mountain, awing at a field of multi-colored wildflowers.   I just couldn’t believe how many jackpot views were contained on this hike, and all so close to the Lodge.   This loop will be a tough one to beat!

From Ellie’s Corner

GTLC Moosin’ Around

 

Well, he’s yet to have a name, but our moose mascot sure doesn’t hesitate to get out and about!  He’s making friends quickly with the nearly 1,000 employees we have this summer and they’ve invited him on many excursions.  We’re excited to showcase a few of his adventures here for you. 

Be sure, he’ll be seen playing in the park more and more….we hope you enjoy his adventures.

“Hi everyone!  I thought my first adventure would be a horseback ride.  Being without an allowance I had to work cleaning the corrals before I could take my ride….This wrangler stuff is hard work!”

Earnin' My Keep! 
Earnin' My Keep!

“After all that work, I needed a rest before going riding!”

 

Resting Up for Adventure...
Resting Up for Adventure...

 

“A short rest, and I hopped atop my trusty steed…and off we went!”

Giddey Up Butterfly
Giddey Up!!

 

“After a long day of hard work in the corrals…it was off to the employee housing for a good night’s sleep with some of my co-workers.”

Me and My Gang!
Me and My Gang!

 

“The next morning it was time for a hearty breakfast…the food sure is good here!  Must be the fresh air and outdoor adventure!”

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“Off for another day of fun…can you guess where I am in this next photo?”

Bet You Can't Find Me!

“I hope you’ll tune in as I’m off on another activity within the park.  When are you headed out this way??”

Contributed from Moose Corner

 

 

Kids Appreciate Grand Teton National Park

Each year the National Park Foundation sponsors the Junior Ranger Essay Contest.   The focus is to ask kids their ideas about how to protect and preserve the national parks. 

In 2009, the essay contest question was “Why are our national parks important to you and what is your best idea to protect our parks for the future?”

Grand Teton Lodge Company was please to learn that the 2nd place winner this year was an essay contributed by Jason Roy Maki of  Marysville, Wa.  Jason’s essay focused on treasured memories of time in Grand Teton National Park.  Below you will find the essay he contributed.

jason-maki_npfwinnerWay to go Jason!  We hope you continue to enjoy and promote our national parks…and return to Grand Teton National Park very soon.

“When I see or even think about a national park, it is like no other feeling I’ve ever had. A national park is like a special cabinet that contains memories that are filled with truly special natural treasures. When you see a picture of a national park on post card, on TV or in a movie, you will probably say, “Wow! That is beautiful!” But actually being at a national park and seeing it in person is even more wonderful and breathtaking. When you go to the zoo and see an animal up close it is very interesting. But imagine that same thrill in the wild – in an animal’s habitat. Habitat is the natural place where an animal lives — like the forest, the meadows, the lakes and ponds, the rivers, mountains, valleys and the prairie.

I love Grand Teton National Park the best. When I visit, I always see elk, deer, black bear, grizzlies, moose, bison, wolves, bald eagles, and more. I’ve seen an eagle and an osprey fighting over a fish. I’ve seen a little baby moose with its mother at the edge of the Snake River. I’ve seen a pair of grizzly cubs wandering out in the middle of a green meadow with their mother close by. And I’ve even seen a rare black wolf running across a snow field. But not all things are exactly what I’d call peaceful. I’ve watched a huge bison lit up against the night sky when lightning struck the mountains. I went swimming with my cousins and came out of a beautiful lake covered in leeches! Ahhhhh! I was even surprised by a black bear ten feet away when I walked around a pickup truck! Even though I’ve had a few scary experiences, it should never stop you from visiting a national park.

National parks are fun places to learn about things that you could never experience anywhere else. That’s why we have to take care of them. We have to follow all national park rules. They are more than just rules. They are choices we make to help our parks survive forever. Don’t litter a park. Don’t feed the animals because they forget how to feed naturally. Make sure campfires are dead out with water. Forest fires are caused every year by careless campers who do not put their fires out. I would like to propose a contest where school kids everywhere come up with a few things to protect and preserve our national parks. We could have a reading program where school kids read about a neat national park. Then they could maybe visit one for themselves some day. I know they will enjoy every moment. That I can promise.

We the people own the national parks. They are ours. That is why we need to protect our parks and preserve them forever.”

Source:  National Park Foundation website

Introducing Our New Friend…

We have a new friend at Grand Teton Lodge Company. A fury moose has joined us in the office and he’s quite the explorer. The stuffed guy enjoys hiking, horseback riding, float trips, biking, rock climbing… there really isn’t an activity that he won’t try. He also likes to take time out to relax by the Jackson Lake Lodge swimming pool or grab a drink up at the Blue Heron. He’s a bit of a romantic, taking strolls along the shoreline of Elk Island and catching sunset at Lunch Tree Hill. He’s also been known to take a lady or two out to a special dinner at Jenny Lake Lodge.

 What's My Name?

This moose is quite the environmentally-friendly fellow. He is part of the Fuzz that Wuzz family. This means he is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. Approximately two million plastic bottles are used in the U.S. every ten minutes and 51 billion go into landfills annually. It takes 700 years before plastic bottles start to decompose and less than 30% of plastic bottles in the U.S. are actually recycled. Each Fuzz that Wuzz member keeps over ten bottles out of landfills.

 

Our fluffy friend will be out and about in Grand Teton National Park. Keep you eyes open, if you spot him in our photos and tell us where he is, you could when a prize from Grand Teton Lodge Company.

The moose is missing just one thing, a name! We are asking for your help in selecting one. Please leave a comment with your suggestion and we will review potential candidates. The contender with the name we select will win a $50 gift certificate.  We look forward to hearing your ideas by Monday July 27th!