We are halfway through June already! It doesn't seem possible :-).
We have been busy beavers here at the ranch, and we have a great, hard-working crew this year. Spring cleaning was finished quite early, and everything was sparkling clean when the guests started arriving. And they have been arriving in droves! It's shaping up to be an incredibly busy season here in the Tetons and Yellowstone, what with it being the 100th anniversary of the National Park system.
It hasn't been all work, though. We've finally gotten on our regular schedule of working five days with two days off, now that the crew is trained and we have help both in the office and the laundry. The weather has been beautiful the past two weeks, which is a little bit odd for spring here in the Jackson Hole area. Usually it's very wet and chilly, but we've had beautiful sunny days and even warm weather, up near 80 degrees a few days! People vacationing these past couple of weeks have been treated not only to good wildlife viewing, but beautiful weather as well.
We took a ride up a favorite road of ours one morning, Buffalo Valley Road. It's not in the park, but runs through the Bridger-Teton National Forest. We caught this osprey guarding its nest by the side of the road.
We also found a good herd of elk running up the hillside.
We couldn't resist stopping to take pictures of the famous "Ansel Adams view" on our way to town one day.
This view of Jackson Lake on the way home from town was too nice to ignore as well!
On our next day off, we took a hike with our coworkers Dan and Jonell over at Colter Bay. The hike to Heron Pond and Swan Lake is a favorite of ours. We first hiked this trail with our good friends John and Carol Herr :-)
The view from the Jackson Lake overlook; since the trail to the overlook was first blazed, the trees have become so tall that the view of the lake is obstructed. It's still a pretty awesome view, though.
We saw our first bald eagle of the season across Heron Pond.
Heron Pond is a favorite haunt of the white pelicans as well.
Heron Pond makes a perfect picture spot, especially on a day as nice as this was. Dan and Jonell posed for this opportunity.
I never get tired of seeing these mountains. This year, I can even get a peek at them from my bedroom window!
There have been many sandhill cranes in the area this year. They are much browner here than in Florida due to the high iron content in the water, so I've been told.
Leaving the Swan Lake area, we hiked back towards the mountains and Colter Bay.
Later that night, we took a sunset drive to Schwabacher's Landing, to see what we might find. First up was this elk mamma with her baby.
We also saw several common goldeneye ducks on the river.
A few beavers were busy doing their beaver stuff :-).
We walked pretty far down the river trail, hoping to find a moose around each bend. We did find these mule deer crossing the stream in the fading sunlight.
There were plenty of photographers set up, hoping for a stunning sunset, but it wasn't to be that evening.
It was back to work the next day, and we had a busy week, not only in housekeeping, but I was also training Jonell to work in the office. It's been good to get back to work, the checking account sure does appreciate it, but we have been tired. We have found time, however, to get together with some of our coworkers, and have a couple of game nights. It's been fun, getting to know everyone and learning about their previous experiences and travels. Al and I are also concentrating on losing some weight this summer, and have been doing quite a bit of walking here on the ranch. The dogs sure do love this activity! So between work, card games, walking, and studying for the class I am taking, we've been quite busy so far this summer!
The following week, on our day off together with Dan and Jonell, we went for a drive through the park. I know, why not a hike?? Well, Jonell is going to be out of hiking commission for several weeks, as she had an accident coming out of her trailer one afternoon and ended up breaking the fifth metatarsal bone in her foot. Sp she's stumping around here in a walking boot, but being ever the trooper, hasn't let it stop her from keeping up with her work duties. So we went for a drive to see if we could find a moose.
And we did!! We were so excited.
It was a little boy moose, happily chowing down in the brush alongside Moose-Wilson Road.
Surprisingly, there were very few people stopped to see him, so we were quite lucky to be able to park and find a clearing to get a pretty good picture of him.
It's early in the season, so while they do have their anters coming in, they are still covered with the soft velvety covering. He was quite accommodating, showing his best side in clear view.
We didn't have any more wildlife sightings, but did take a drive down to Lupine Meadows to check out the long waterfalls coming off of the Grand Teton mountain. Even from a distance, you could hear the roar of the falls.
Here's a close-up of a section of the falls.
So we are having a very pleasant summer here so far in our little slice of paradise. It is so wonderful being away from the mainstream hustle and bustle, but sometimes life does intrude upon us, as it did two days ago. Reading the current news, we learned of the tragic mass shooting in a nightclub in Orlando. The horror of what happened is beyond belief, but sadly is becoming all too common. I don't know what the answers are, but something really has to be done. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families. But for the grace of God, it could have been any of us, in any public place. Wouldn't it be lovely if someday we could all live in peace with each other?