I am in Memphis this week with my sister helping out a family member so I haven’t been able to get out with my camera as usual. We are staying at a house out in the outskirts of town and I took the above photo in the back yard. Tennessee is just beautiful and the people are very nice. Everybody it seems everywhere says at least hello, or how are you doing in even the most casual encounters.
So from my Our World post about our hiking outing to Yellowstone Park I mentioned that we were cold and it was getting late so we hightailed back to Jackson. Well, I lied, we made a couple of stops.
As we got closer to the Grand Teton National Park we stopped to gaze at the above scene. The Teton range is all in a line and it is quite a sight. It is also an optical illusion of sorts. The closer you get the farther away it is, if that makes any sense.
We drove on but after a while just had to stop again. The sunset was pretty spectacular over the mountains.
It kept getting brighter and brighter so we just stayed and watched.
No filters on any of these photos. Also, I just put the camera on auto, for good or bad.
So, God turned the lights out, we got our tired, hungry, cold but happy selves in the car and drove into Jackson to get something to eat.
I went and spent my lunch hour at Tulsa’s Philbrook Museum of Art, or more accurately the gardens of the museum. I noticed right away that due to the different light and the lower angle of the sun that it would be a good day for shadows. Plus I am a sucker for arches.
The plantings provide nice shadows against the textured walk.
My favorite of the day was this shadow of a wrought iron fence against an old flagstone steps.
On our final day last week of our Jackson Hole trip we had a relatively early checkout time from our condo and a pretty late in the day flight back to Tulsa.
So we got up, cleaned out and checked from where we were staying, got breakfast, grabbed our bear spray and headed up north of Jenny Lake for a final hike along String and Leigh Lakes. A hike that a Ranger we had talked to was easy. It was pretty darn cold, and the trail was snowy but off we went.
It was cold and we were by ourselves but gradually we started seeing more people. Never enough to make it feel crowded. I had read in an online trailguide where somebody had come across a grizzly bear lolling around in the lake near the trailhead.
So we had an invigorating hike, on alert and cold but gradually we relaxed.
It helped that the scenery was stunning. Yeah we were away from the big Teton mountains but these were no slouches and the water was crystal clear and blue.
We allotted enough time to go about 2 miles up the trail and return. You can tell that Heather is pretty happy above.
Last year I spent a few days with my sister, who was working as a seasonal Ranger at Yellowstone Park at West Yellowstone. She took me on a few hikes in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and it really opened up my eyes to just how beautiful and wild the parks are when you get out of your car and venture down a trail a few miles. So this year Heather and I followed down a couple of the trails Ellen took me on last year and found one ourself. We’ll be back!!
What a great treasure our National Parks are. October is a great time to visit, if you can. Dress warm is what I say!!
The other thing I say is rent the bear spray, instead of buying it. We rented them for $7 a day, max $28 and then we just took them back when we were done. If you fly in, you can’t fly back out with it and I was worried about how to dispose of it properly if you buy it and you are flying back.
So I am not going to do trip in chronological order. I will do them as I feel led. I am not an organized blogger who has his act together, but I think that you have already figured that out.
The Grand Tetons National Park in Wyoming is a spectacular place and may be the most photogenic area in the world, I don’t know. From majestic mountains and lakes to amazing animals, it has the whole package. I love all that but one of the sights that has amazed me is the Moulton Barn on Mormon Row.
Before there was a National Park there were settlers, including several Latter Day Saint members who in the 1800’s claimed land in what is now Mormon Row and put their homesteads on a road close together. They were there for several decades but the growing season was too short, and the work very hard, and they ended up selling their land and although most of the their buildings are gone there a few left standing including the T.A. Moulton Barn above and what I call the most famous outhouse in the world.
The buildings are all underneath the Grand Tetons and it makes for a very spectacular setting. I cannot imagine what it would be like to live with such a view every day. Of course the day I was there, the Tetons were obscured by clouds. These buildings were built to last and last they do, although the Moulton family still shows up every few years to do some maintenance. For a while the policy of the Park Service was to just let the buildings go away one way or another (they now deny that this was ever the policy) but now they are more receptive to the preservation of the buildings that are left. Mormon Row is now a National Historic District and so hopefullly they buildings will stand for future generations to come.
We are in Jackson, Wyoming this week enjoying a late autumn vacation in the shadow of the Teton Mountains. We were treated to quite the evening show. No filters used, no tricks, just God’s glory and nature putting on a spectacle. I’ll have more photos in future posts. Blogging with an iPad is possible but painful.
I visited the Gilcrease Museum here in Tulsa earlier this week. They have a lot of nice exhibits going on but what really struck my eye was a great big cottonwood tree right outside a giant window that was shimmering in the wind so I made a brief video of it and posted it on social media.
A cousin from South Dakota told me that she thought the Lakota Tribe called the cottonwood, the Tree of Talking Leaves. I have googled a lot and have not been able to confirm that that is true but have found a lot of references that the tribe holds the tree sacred and represents a magical time of hope, healing, and transformation.
I have always liked cottonwood trees but never much thought about them until my cousin’s remark and then I thought, you know I have lived all over the west, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico and they all have cottonwood trees. I think they may be a symbol of the west, where the west includes the midwest. I just love seeing and hearing their leaves when the wind is blowing.
Late in life, the Cottonwood is now the Talking Leaves Tree to me as well.
I work in downtown Tulsa and most lunch times you can find me roaming downtown, carrying my camera seeing what there is to see. After 27 years of doing that, I still see new stuff. Anway, Tulsa Community College’s downtown campus has a building with a platform overlooking Boston Avenue in downtown Tulsa.
I’ve tried to get up there several times and only once has the door been open but I had only had my iphone so I did what I could with what I had. This time I had my new Fujifilm point and shoot so what the heck, I’ll see if I can get up there. Plus the blue chair on the platform gave me a little hope. I know the route pretty well now, take the elevator to the third floor, and go right through the door to the stairwell and guess what!!
And the mostly locked door opened. Yeah for me. There were some people in the classroom to the right but I decided to just ignore them.
So here is the view to the northwest. Holy Family Cathedral.
And straight north up Boston Avenue, the heart of downtown.
And straight south along Boston Avenue.
That is Boston Avenue Church. An art-deco treasure.
Just so you know, I didn’t pass any “No Trespassing”, “Students and Staff Only,” visitors please check in or any other blah blah blah signs during my little venture up to what the school calls the “Ninth Street Overlook.”
Earlier this week I wanted some outside time and wanted to try something different so I decided to do some running/hiking at Oxley Nature Center. Flat, no rocks, no people, perfect.
So I took the back way in which is the closest access to downtown and I knew they had some gates they close on weekends and late at night. When I got there I found this locked gate??? So, okay, I’ll just go with it. So I parked outside the gate and stepped over it and off I went. There were no signs saying I couldn’t.
Just before the trailhead I found this group of wildflowers.
I got to the trail and started down it and noticed that it hadn’t been mowed or much of anything done in the way of maintenance. Oxley holds half the worlds population of ticks and chiggers and so I had doused myself with deet before I left the car so I wasn’t too worried.
The boardwalk had damage and had not been cleared or anything. By now, I was thinking that maybe I shouldn’t be there but I was also kind of into it pretty far so I just plowed on ahead.
I didn’t get any photos because I wasn’t fast enough but I saw lots of deer running through the woods, a raccoon, and a turtle. Also, lots and lots of small frogs hopping here, there and everywhere.
At the far reach of the North Woods Loop the trail was completely overgrown and I was convinced that the trail was probably closed. See that bench up there? I am a rule follower and if I had known the trail was closed I wouldn’t have gone down it. I guess that I should check the web site. I don’t generally do that before going hiking.
I love being on trails where there is nobody else. In maybe fifteen years of going on this trail I have literally seen maybe a dozen people, probably less. I love it especially on bitterly cold sunny windy cold days. There is no wind at ground level but you can hear the wind howling through the trees above. I know I am weird, but I love that.
It is quite watery their. The area borders Lake Yahola, Bird Creek, and some oxbow lakes formed off Bird Creek. I am glad I was deeted up as this is mosquito heaven.
Toward the end of my outing, the sky reflecting off one of the oxbow lakes.
And another sky photo.
And an aerial view of my outing. Not very long but I enjoyed myself immensely. And I can report that apparently I put enough deet on, I only have two mosquito bites on the back of my neck.