Frigid But Fantastic
Back on the Diamonds

Last Day in the Tetons

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You can't visit Jackson Hole, Wyoming without seeing big herds of wild elk.

 

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Just on the outskirts of town is the National Elk Refuge. These elk are wild (the fences along the road just try to reduce vehicle/elk accidents) but the elk like to congregate here in the wintertime because they do supplement their grazing by feeding them pellets.

 


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Our group rode in a horse-drawn sleigh which got us up close to the elk.

 


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One big herd up close...you can see a couple of other herds in the distance....

 

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I am not exaggerating when I say THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of elk!

 


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It was still very cold, but these guys didn't seem to mind it at all with their thick winter coats on.

 

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Antler-shedding season was just beginning. This fella has already shed one antler...I'm sure he was feeling a bit lop-sided as those racks are heavy!

The male elk are the only ones with antlers which they shed each spring and regrow new, bigger ones every year.

 


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There were more females than males in the herds, but they are not as impressive to photograph.

 


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Hard to hold up his heavy head when he's napping...

 


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This time of year, the males are beginning to brush up on their sparring skills. The biggest, toughest boys get the girls!

 


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These youngsters won't be getting any girlfriends yet, but they are honing their skills for future seasons.

 


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You can hear the loud clanking together of those racks. It's dangerous! There surely must be some elk eyes that get poked out during these sparring sessions.

 

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Elk are big, majestic animals. 


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A few minutes of sparring, followed by a snack. Just like human boys...

 


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Then as our sleigh was heading back to the entrance, we spotted a couple of eagles along the stream.

 


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They were eating on some fish along the water's edge.

 


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Female bald eagles (in the water) are considerably bigger than the males (he's on the bank).

 


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"How about a little canoodling, you beautiful bald thing?"

 


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They made quite a racket!

 

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The pretty lady had about had enough of that business...

 

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And just like that, they were off!

You never know what kind of wildlife activity you might see...

 

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Late that afternoon we saw yet another cooperative moose quite close to the road.

 


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Amazing they are able to get nutrition from eating twigs!

 


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Moose are huge! You can see that this snow is a couple of feet deep.

 


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She has a bit of an underbite...

This is a female, but none of the moose had antlers this time of year. Male moose, like elk, shed their antlers each year. But moose lose theirs in mid-winter, so all of the moose we saw were antler-less.

 


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A pretty girl, in a homely sort of way...

 


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So serene and quiet, as she ambled away into the woods...

 

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Just before darkness fell, we finished up our day in a grand way with some trumpeter swans.

Their heads were dirty from digging into the mud at the bottom of the stream.

 


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But, muddy heads and all, they were still absolutely gorgeous!

 

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Back to the Lexington Hotel in Jackson Hole for our last evening together.

 

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We shared a nice meal at a snazzy restaurant...

 


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...AirDropped some silly photos to each other (it's dangerous to give a goofy kitty app to a bunch of old people like us!)...

 


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NatHab group-4


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A wonderful end to a fantastic week with some great new friends!

Our last day in the Tetons.

 

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