August brought sunny skies and the heat of summer to Jackson Hole providing lots of tour options and great places to explore. We usually have a wisp of fall in the air by the end of August, but not this year. As we roll through Labor Day weekend, September begins with a similar warm trend. Ripening berries and fall flowers including yarrow, Indian Paintbrush, yampa, asters, and daisies are all in bloom, luring us up the trails. With proper identification, you can enjoy ripe huckleberries, thimbleberries, raspberries, grouse whortleberries, and serviceberries while in the woods.
Wildlife sightings abound! Bears have been spotted on the Moose-Wilson Road foraging for the fruit of Black Hawthorne and Chokecherries. Look for Moose along the Teton Village Road and river bottoms. Soon the cooler temperatures and shortening daylight will spur hormonal shifts and autumn’s migration and mating season will be in full swing. Bull Elk have started to bugle to stake their territory and attract females.
Due to bears activity on Signal Mountain in Grand Teton Park, Park officials have re-closed the road. Visitors fed bears earlier in the month which resulted in aggressive bear behavior and road closure. The road opened for a short period and is now closed once again. Bears don’t think of humans as a food source unless taught. Remember, we visit their homes and should leave no trace. Don’t forget the motto, a fed bear is a dead bear.
2019 studies show Sage Grouse populations have declined in the West. Over the last three years, populations have declined in Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada and Oregon. Food and sufficient cover from weather and predators affect populations. Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Sage Grouse and Sagebrush Biologist, Leslie Schreiber, reported that current counts are in the range of variability seen over the last 20 years but need to be monitored. The current decrease has caught attention and Wyoming legislation supports conservation measures. https://www.wyofile.com/wyomings-2019-sage-grouse-count-dips-21/
“To expand your consciousness, concentrate on the distances of your environment”
— J. Donald Walters
Explore a seated meditation in nature:
Sit down, connect to your body and the earth. Expand your awareness to include the nearby shrubs and trees. Slowly expand this circle as you connect to the earth and the distances around you. Feel the spaciousness and support of the natural world.
What’s in the woods
8/3 – Granite Canyon to tram: harebells, sunflower, spirea, fresh huckleberry and raspberry, baneberry, geranium, flax, Indian paintbrush, penstemon, lupine, osha, groundsel, elephant head, anemone, moss campion
8/7 – Rendezvous bowl: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort- scorpionweed, flax, sweet vetch, valerian, goldenweed, Indian paintbrush, groundsel, lupine, elephant head, townsendia, aster, fleabane, sky pilot, james saxifrage, draba
8/10 – Wilson, WY: cow moose with new calf
8/11 – Snake River: four bald eagles (three mature and one juvenile), four otters (one adult and three young), osprey, raven, flycatcher
8/11 – Teton Village Road: evening- cow and calf moose browsing by roadway, moose near river
8/12 – Cache Creek: yampa, sunflower, harebell, fireweed
8/18 – Stuart’s Draw: yampa, harebell, Engleman aster, thickstem aster, goldeneye, arnica, pussytoes, elephant head, grass of parnassius, monkeyflower, goldenweed, clark’s nutcracker, bald eagle, ravens, sharp-shinned hawk, huckleberry, raspberry, thimbleberry
8/19 – blue bird day
8/21 – Blacktail Butte: boletus mushrooms, aster, ripe raspberries, harebell, amazing views, smoke in /distance
8/30 – Wilson, WY: elk bugling
8/31 – Jackson, WY: great horned owls calling at night
In September, play in the cool Aspen groves or float along the Snake River to enjoy the colors of fall. A challenging hike up Coal Creek in the Jedidiah Smith Wilderness rewards you with a mature Aspen grove. Munger Mountain is a great fall hike on National Forest and can be accessed along Fall Creek Road. Enjoy an evening drive along the Moose-Wilson Road for possible bear sightings and listen for the Elk bugle. A drive down the Snake River Canyon will offer the red hues of Maple trees. Enjoy these idyllic days. Remember to wear orange on trails outside of the National Parks as hunting season has begun. Bears may also be more active, so carry bear spray on your autumn outings.