Grand Teton

American Avocets in Teton

We are in a motel again in Jackson tonight. [flush toilets, showers] We plan on camping in Teton tomorrow. Today, we entered Teton as day campers and hiked the Taggart and Bradley Lakes trails. These are two alpine lakes at the base of the mountains. It was on Taggart that we spied the avocets. They are rare in these parts. The ranger didn’t even know what they were, but from all my visits to Monterey, I recognized them and iBird confirmed me. Unlike in Monterey, they were in breeding plumage here. The correct name for a flock of avocets is a colony. Maybe this seemingly lost group of birds are actually explorers?

In the park tomorrow, we will most likely lose cell service and consequently any further blog posts. Don’t Panic! I have put on autopilot the morning photo posts. Anything else is live. Expect something on Sunday. Vagaries in cell reception may allow for earlier posts, but don’t count on it. Signing off, for now… 

Jackson, WY

Anne in an Elk Antler Arch

We left Glacier early this morning, but not early enough to catch sunrise on Lake McDonald at Apgar Village. That occurred at 4:30 AM, I was told. It was a full day of driving and we are at a motel tonight in Jackson, WY. Tomorrow we head into Grand Teton National Park, our fifth this trip.

To pass the drive time, we started another Montana themed audio book, “The Whistling Season” by Ivan Doig. It was number two on the Goodreads list, right after “A River Runs Through It.” Published in 2006, it tells the story of a 1909 Montana prairie family from the 1957 perspective of the eldest son, Paul. By the year of Sputnik, Paul is the now venerable and respected state superintendent for all of the one-room schools in Montana.

In 1909 the father and his three sons are getting by, but only just so, after the death of their wife and mother. They answer a newspaper advertisement for a housekeeper position entitled, “Can’t Cook But Doesn’t Bite.” After some negotiations, off steps the train, Rose Llewellyn, also recently widowed. They are surprised though, when from the same train also steps her brother Morris.

The book gets its title from Rose’s habit of whistling while working. Although quite erudite and knowledgeable, Morris appears quite useless in the face of early 20th-century Montana life. That is until fate takes a hand. The boy’s teacher elopes with a traveling tent preacher, leaving the school in a jam. Morris steps in and is soon installed as her substitute.

We hadn’t gotten much further, before we arrived here, but there appears to be more to this brother and sister than they are telling. We’ll soon find out though, because we have twenty hours of driving yet to get home. Our current plan is to work our way through Wyoming and Colorado and then make a dash home.

Last Day in Glacier

Avalanche Creek

We had a great day today, there was almost no rain and the sun eventually came out. We got to Avalanche Falls early, beating the crowds, at least on the way up to Avalanche Lake. On the way back the throngs rose up to greet us. Avalanche Falls is the current terminus for the Going to the Sun Road on the west side of the park, so it is quite popular. On the way up, I spotted two moose, a mother and a yearling. They were headed up Avalanche Creek too. We saw them again closer to the lake. I got pictures at both meets. We also got a Mule deer buck. The alpine lake was beautiful and was being fed by multiple waterfalls cascading down the opposite rock face. Unfortunately, it was also quite muddy around the lake and I slipped and fell and got covered in mud. But I had clean clothes to change into back in the car and I’ll be doing laundry when we get to Jackson, WY. The only thing still hurting then was my pride. The walk back was manic and the parking lot was worse, so we bailed to Lake McDonald Lodge for another scrumptious lunch. To round out the day, we took the boat tour from the lodge on the DeSmet, which is just turning ninety this year.