This report is provided by Cathy Shill, owner of The Hole Hiking Experience.
October. This month dominated by park closures and the unsettling of so many as they look for lodging, activities and places to explore. Some travel from foreign countries to come to our parks. Some save for years. Make reservations months ahead. It is so unfortunate that our government can’t find middle and come to an agreement.
How are we supposed to learn to stay in the center, compromise, become good, stable, loving people when we look to the decision makers who don’t lead by example? A sad day in our valley and for many, let’s hope they figure it out before the next deadline.
Fortunately, nature does her thing and stays present. Dealing in each moment with what is shared-weather, climate, predator/prey. Bears continue to prepare for hibernation. Elk migrate. Sandhill cranes gather to head south. They are reacting to changes in light and weather. Each year at this time, they adapt to change or they might die in a deep winter. They live for the moment and survival. They don’t create stories. They evolve. Can we learn from them since we can’t learn as easily from ourselves?
Our weather has been unsettled with a rain/snow mix in the valley and more snow in the mountains. The end of the month shares sunny days. All in all, Indian summer was brief this year with most fall days being cool and wet. Not the same opportunities to play as in other years. The current weather is a pleasant change.
As day length wanes, I reflect on the summer. Wetter than normal but I could not find exact specifics. Lots of mushrooms since the cool, wet temperatures encouraged the mushrooms to fruit. I found morels and chantrelles. Inky caps were seen at Phelps Lake and stood tall within pristine conditions. Some were hard to identify but fun to gather to review the mushroom key. Maybe found white chantrelles but unsure so did not eat them.
This summer, Bear 399 emerged from her den with three new cubs. She is 15 and a mature grizzly. This is her third set of triplets that we have witnessed. She is a great healthy mother. Her daughter, 610, placed her three male cubs near Jackson Lake Lodge and was seen mating with a male in June. Haven’t heard any recent sightings but the gut piles from fall hunters might bring them into the public eye once again.
All the moisture created an amazing flower year which resulted in numerous blossoms and berries. With a reduction in the nut crop, many bears gorge on the heavily laden bushes.
It is hunting season and the wolves made the press once again. They are listed as a predator in most of the state (about 85%) so can be shot any day of the year. In our protected areas around Yellowstone, the hunting quota has been met. A total of 26 animals have been shot. Genetics are being monitored to make sure the population is diverse.
The wolf controversy continues in our state and I don’t foresee an amicable conclusion. Might remind me of the government- can we reach the middle way and protect all species? May all species be free, safe and have ease of being.
I am off to Peru. Our office closes and will reopen on November 25 in time for Thanksgiving. Happy fall!
What’s in the woods-
10/6- red fox near Kelly, WY
10/8- cow and calf moose in Teton Pines
10/9-Grizzly Lake-clark’s nutcracker, stellar jay
10/12- Boulder, WY- calm lake, rainbow trout, coyote, mule deer
10/19- deer on moose-wilson road
10/22- sunny and fifty
10/24- elk refuge-magpie eating a grasshopper
With the park closure, many were displaced and looked for other areas to explore. 97% of our valley is protected. Grand Teton Park is a small part so the national forest land gives endless options. I would recommend getting the Trailhead magazine from Skinny Skis in downtown Jackson. Some of my favorite areas near town are Cache Creek, Josie’s Ridge and Game Creek. Teton Pass gives numerous options. Ask around and expand your focus since endless areas do abound.