The moisture in May was perfect to launch into spring, balance our mild winter, and start nature thriving. Presently, the valley is green, green, green! It rained throughout the month so spring flowers hang heavy on the vine. Herbivores are migrating as they follow new plant shoots. Young bison and moose can been seen.
May strums with life. It means morel season, trails opening, leaves emerging, the start of birthing season and magnificent spring flowers. Continual moisture has everything thriving and budding in amazing glory.
May is the month to follow the spring storms, emerging sun and the elusive hunt of morel mushrooms. I have the most luck searching in cottonwoods so along waterways but have also found morels in Aspen and Lodgepole Pine forests. Burned areas are also good. A wet month means more mushrooms. This May has been reported as “the best morel season ever.” I don’t know about best ever but they certainly are out in abundance. They are a great mushroom to hunt since fairly easy to identify and quite tasty. If you desire t0 hunt, make sure you can properly identify the species. Morels grow in spring and early summer when optimal conditions allow the microbial mat in the soil to produce the fruiting body, or mushroom.
May is also bear month. It’s the time of the year, the female grizzlies can be found near Oxbow Bend, Jackson Lake and Colter Bay in Grand Teton Park. This year, a blond grizzly, has also been seen. She is appropriately named Blondie. I have not seen them personally but they are out and visible. I believe Blondie and 610, another female grizzly, both have cubs with them. They spend part of spring quite visible in the park. Researchers believe this gives the females and cub’s protection from the male grizzlies since males won’t come so close to humans.
May 1 ends winter wildlife closures so scouring the hills to look for antlers is a fun spring activity. The elk antler auction is held on the town square and the local boy scouts sell the antlers collected on the National Elk Refuge. The total yield for the scouts was over $195,000 and 75% of this revenue goes back to the care and feeding of the elk. Many gather to sell and buy antlers. You don’t need to be a boy scout to partake in the fun. There are many areas in the national forest to search.
The energy in Jackson Hole is changing with the start of the summer tourist season. Town is buzzing with visitors and park roads are getting more crowded. June begins with more storms in the forecast. Here’s to a safe and fun summer for us all.
What’s in the woods
5/2- Jenny Lake- buttercups, yellow-bell lilies
5/3- Old Pass Road- arrowleaf balsamroot, steershead, spring beauty, waterleaf, larkspur
5/8- Grand Teton Park- elk, mule deer, bison, osprey, kestrel, American white pelican, pronghorn
5/11- Wilson, WY- goslings with geese, muskrat
5/11- Highway 22- coyote
5/13- snake river- belted kingfisher, American white pelicans, mallards, ravens, lupine
5/16- overcast, rainy
5/17-rafter J, near flat creek- flax, osprey, sparrows, mustard,
5/19- spring gulch- bald eagle
5/27-Snake River in Cottonwoods- morels!, lupine, scarlet gilia, woodland star, larkspur, mallards, yellow warbler
5/28- rainy, clematis on Josie’s Ridge
5/30- Snake River- bald eagle, lupine
5/31- Boulder, WY- sunny, warm, Oregon- grape, serviceberry, leopard lily, lily of the valley
Exploring trails south and at lower elevations will give you the driest conditions and most beauty. The high country is still snowy and many trails are muddy. Dog Creek is a great spring walk near Fall Creek Road. Biking or hiking on Munger Mountain is a perfect option and home to Great Grey Owls. Teton Canyon near Driggs, Idaho is a great spring walk. Leopard lily, clematis, bluebells, arrowleaf balsamroot, lupine, and larkspur can be seen dotting the hills. Have fun and be prepared!