September has been the perfect fall month with fresh snow in the Tetons, fall colors, and softening light. In the early mornings or late evenings, you can hear the bugle of the Bull Elk calling for mates. Fall colors dot the hillsides and a short drive south of the valley shares the red maples along the Snake River Canyon. Aspen leaves gently fall to the forest floor. Town quiets. Aaahhhh!
Word around town is winter is coming! It seems many locals have noticed recent changes predicting a snowy winter. Hummingbirds left the valley early. Squirrels have cached piles of cones. Mice came inside in early August. Bighorn Sheep were seen on Miller Butte near town. Numerous Black-Rosy Finches flocking in the alpine environment. It seems nature is preparing for something big to happen!
The weather forecast seems promising. This winter is predicted to be an El Nino winter which usually means above average precipitation in Jackson. El Nino is the warming of the waters in the Pacific due to warm equatorial water coming of the west coast of South America. This winter is predicted to be a major El Nino winter but will it be cold enough? Our last major El Nino winter was 1997-98 and that was a big snow year. One forecast stated warmer temperatures overall with December snowfall below average, then cold in January and February crazy snow. It all sounds good to me.
Fall began on September 23 with locals thinking snow. I can’t imagine predicting weather but it is fun to contemplate and prepare for the season change. With the beginning of fall, the autumnal equinox, days will continue to shorten as light moves to the southern hemisphere. All species notice this change. We gather wood, pull out our fleece. Squirrels gather nuts. Bears prepare dens. Large mammals mate. Light softens and days shorten. Vacations are planned.
October could be perfect weather so get out and enjoy the end of the season. My travels take me back to Bhutan. I won’t return until mid-November so will publish the next nature news when I return. Here’s to a glorious fall!
What’s in the woods
9/10-black bears close Moose-Wilson Road. Feeding on black hawthorn
9/11-Grand Teton Park- bison near triangle X, pronghorn on highway 89/191
9/12-Yellowstone, Bechler- pine marten, American dipper
9/14-Teton Valley, Idaho- aspen changing color
9/15-weather pattern changes- rainy
9/16- fresh snow in the Tetons
9/16- Wilson, WY- cow and calf moose, elk bugling
9/20-maples turning red in Snake River Canyon
9/22- Aspen and cottonwoods turning color
9/23- Autumn begins
9/24-Munger Mountain- Aspens turning color, feel of fall in the air
9/25-LSR preserve- lots of bear sign but no bears
Hard to predict the best places to recreate with change in the air. The LSR preserve is a great place to visit with access to numerous trails. You can walk to Phelps Lake on mostly level trails. It’s 3.0 miles round trip. You can also continue into Death or Open Canyons. Lots of great fall colors. Bike paths are a good option when the weather changes and trails get muddy. This summer, Friends of Pathways, completed many new trails near town. Enjoying a drink on the deck of Dornan’s in Moose is always nice and local restaurants will begin fall discounts. Have fun and be prepared for cool temperatures and weather changes.