Note: When Sharon adds comments, they will be in {curly brackets}.

{When I get a chance to. About every other report, Bob send one out without my remarks because I haven't had time to read it. Sorry, he is so eager that he does them until 3 or 4 in the morning, and I often don't put enough priority to read them when he asks. I'll try to add any comments about Day 4 in this report if I see any. For example, in yesterday's report, Bob told you about a phrase that Josh and Sieren said to each other, "Take your mouth and shut up, but what they really said was "Take your mouth and shut IT" In a regular review I do before Bob sends out a report, I would have just talked with him about that, checked both our memories and then made the change. Adding it in this report seems so "nit-picky" but I guess it's the only way, Sorry, Bob}

Day 5. Sunday Sep 13, 2009. Grand Teton National Park and the Snake River Raft Trip

It's 7:14 am and we're up, eating breakfast and getting ready to go. We decide to take both parka-type clothing but wear lighter clothing, then decide which we'll use when we get to the pickup point in Moose.

By 7:30 we are on the road. We get a flight of sandhill cranes which alight by the road. Excellent! We also pick up some pronghorns, but no photos of either. I DO get a photo of a small group of elk, with one buck and several females, but I only get their butts, so I won't bother with those photos.

On the drive, we get fantastic views of part of the Teton Range.


We also stop and take video of the range, picking up a nice Clark's Nutcracker (a raucous, high elevation bird).

We come to the Snake River bridge, but don't know whether we're to be on this side or the other side. I pull off before the bridge, at a group of stores called Dornan's, and ask. They say Solitude picks up their passengers on the other side of the river. We turn around and as we're partway across the bridge, both Sharon and Shirley spot a moose in the river, just about to climb up the other side. I pull over when we exit the bridge, and we quickly walk out on the bridge, but can't see any moose. We get back to the truck and drive into the parking lot where we see lots of people waiting for pickup for the raft trip. But before we can ask questions, we get a load of this:

xx Now, to me, and just me, it looks a little like a moose who's just come from the barber.

Then coming behind her, we see this:

Check out those ears!

They feed on the willows for a while, basically ignoring all the tourists clamoring to have their spouse take photos while they are practically petting the meeses. Tourists! Hah! Wait... What?

Here's one who got right in the calf's path. I couldn't believe the mom didn't come over and gently move the guy out of the way with her two hind feet or something. {One tourist yells to his wife "get up there so I can get a picture of you with the moose" She goes running up and there goes the moose, gone, scared by her rush. We will continue to see tourists who seem to forget that wild animals are WILD ANIMALS! All the park information tells you of people trampled by the bison or moose, especially a mother and baby like this, but I guess people don't think it applies to them.}

Three vans come in with "Triangle X" logos, and they pick up most of the people, but that's not our company, so we continue waiting. After a while, two Solitude vans come in, each pulling a raft on a trailer. They read off one set of names, including ours, and we're to load into the first van. Everybody else gets in the second van.

We head up the river, about nine miles, as I recall. We will float down the river, winding up at this point, where they will let us out and pull the raft out of the river.

We introduce ourselves to our fellow rafters, and before you know it, we are at the dropin point. We exit and are given safety instructions plus our life jackets. We put them on and get a fellow rafter to take our pitcher, as the Little Rascals used to say on the TV.

Sharon is either remarkably relaxed or has to pee, with that leg-crossing thing. I do have pants on. They are camo's, so they blend right into the background, don't you see? Those camo's are just remarkable. {This is the first time I heard that phrase "camo's". Jerry and Shirley kept talking about bringing and wearing their "camo's" and now I get it. Way to go, Sharon}

Before you know it, we're in the raft, heading downriver to spectacular moving scenery.

It's an extremely windy day, and based on the breeze, the other three have correctly chosen parkas or warm camo jackets. I just brought a light jacket. Pretty quickly, the other three have their hoods up to keep the wind out. I just laugh at them and think, "Dangit. Why didn't I bring my parka?" {One woman had on just a light blouse and a skirt with bare legs! Wow! IT WAS COLD! Luckily the guide had blankets and soon she was wrapped up in them to keep warm. Way to go, Morgan (our guide)}

During a small lull in our guide's descriptions, I tell a man-walks-into-a-bar joke, to a fairly enthusiastic reception. To Sharon's chagrin, since I got a little encouragement, I tell a whole raft (get it?) of more walking-into-a-bar jokes. It goes quite nicely.

When I start telling jokes to stangers, Sharon inches away from me a little at a time. Oh, I know. {Secretly, I love it but Hush, don't tell Bob}

We come to a small boat, and our guide Morgan says there is a two-day tournament going on with prizes for biggest fish and biggest total weight of fish caught. In each boat is a guide and apparently a referee or judge to track the fish taken. It's all catch and release. It's also $5,000 to enter the tournament. Each entrant gets exactly two fishing flies, and when they're lost, you're done! So the guide earns his money, unsnagging hooks from bushes, rocks and other non-fishy things. I imagine they're earning some pretty good tips.

Fishing for Dollars.

We see several bald eagles, some vultures, but no bears. I tell our guide that the last time Sharon and I took this raft trip, our group saw two black bears mating on a sand bar. OK OK OK. Two bears walk onto a bar... . Sorry. I do know better. Or I do no better.

He is impressed by our tale of this rare sighting. As I recall, before we figured out what they were doing, one lady offered, "Look, they're wrestling." Maybe they were, but I don't think so.

We drift very close to a resting moose.

We enjoy taking wonderful photos and video, and after about two and a half hours, we're back to the pull-out part. Our guide lands us on the edge of the river, and we all get out, tipping him for his most excellent job of keeping us informed and entertained.

During the trip, it looked as if rain clouds were going to move in, but it only sprinkled a little, {Those of us with camo's and hoods were OK} and let me tell you, we're glad of that.

We're hungry, so we start to drive back across the river to Dornan's, an area with food and gift shops. But there is a huge crowd on the bridge, so I pull over, grab both my cameras and we head for the center of the people, on the bridge. Orange-vested rangers have cones down and they are directing traffic so no one gets run over. Soon, I see what the fuss is over.

A couple of bull moose, having a rest.

Fantastic. We go back to the truck, then cross the bridge and turn left, driving the hundred yards or so to Dornan's.

A huge white tepee holds picnic tables for people who order burgers and want to eat under shelter.

We go into the main restaurant, but Sharon and I want buffalo burgers, which are only available outside. We get the ok from our table's waitress to bring them in here and eat where Jerry and Shirley will order. We go over to the open sided barbecue building and put in our orders. While we are waiting, we wait in a covered picnic building, to stay warm. It has thick, clear plastic lashed onto one open side, so the wind doesn't whip through. But it's tryin' to.

As we're waiting, suddenly we hear rain hitting the roof, and as we watch, the rain instantly changes to hail, which practically covers the ground before switching back to rain. They call our number, and we hurry across the open ground, pick up our order, and go back to the restaurant and to Jerry and Shirley's table.

Actually we ordered one buffalo burger, and we split it. It's excellent.

After we finish, the sky has cleared, and we go out to where we saw ice cream being sold. Everything is half price, or two for one because this is the last day of the season for outdoor ice cream. We each have a double cone or scoops in a cup. Maybe Shirley has a single. {We order a single scoop, but the girl is trying to get rid of all the ice cream she has left, so she just keeps scooping until she fills the cone. Yum}

While we're downing them, we hear bluegrass music, and see a number of people holding what seems to be an impromptu outdoor concert for themselves. We go over and join a number of other people who are listening. It's foot tapping time. One fellow is playing a three-stringed instrument I've never seen before, that he says are like the first three strings of the dulcimer. There is also a dulcimer, a guitar, a banjo and a fiddle. They are excellent singers, with good harmony, and we are sorry when they wind up after playing only one or two songs. We just got in on the tail end. Our friends Scott and Julie Jackson's kids, Ben and Amanda Jackson would have done well in this group.

We load up in the pickup, and as we drive out to the road, there are still people on the bridge. So again, I bring my cameras and this is what we see.

The big fellow is munching his way into the greenery.

The smaller-racked moose stays in the open.

As we watch, they both seem to set their antlers into bushes or limbs occasionally and twist their antlers. It's not clear to me what they're doing. Maybe trying to strip leaves off of limbs? Scratching? Don't know.

We talk to some people who recommend a walk around Jenny Lake. There is a shuttle boat you can take across, then walk back. Or do it in the other order. We decide to walk, but we are going to walk part way around, then turn around and return the same path instead of taking the boat.

We make our way (driving) to Jenny Lake, park and head for the marina. Some bears mark our path.

zo go;; i[ ,u vsm/ Dangit, I did it again. They let me fill up my water bottle for free, and then we're off. We quickly encounter a set of trees with interesting bases. I think it's Jerry or Sharon who works out the reason they curl at the bottom, but I don't recall the explanation. {When the saplings are young, the snow every year bends them over from the weight. Then in the growing season, the tree grows up straight again, but can't straighten out the bend. It looked like for some trees that this happened many years over again.}

We continue on the well-marked path, and find a pair of Bald Eagles in a tree, being enjoyed by perhaps 8-10 people. Awesome. The upper bird is a full adult (four years or older, I think), and the lower one is probably three. His head is not completely white yet.

We continue walking. Here are my walking partners, heading up the trail.

Hut, hut, hut. Tent, tent, tent. Tent, hut, tent, hut. {We loved Shirley's plastic bag which she brought along in case it rained (it looked like it could again). She intended to put the bag over her head as a cover and that idea solicited many "supportive", Ha Ha, remarks from Bob.}

We finally feel like we're going to run out of energy, so we turn around, and make our way back to the truck and then back to our camp. Hiking back on that trail made it feel a little like we were walking where the hand of man had never set foot.

This was an excellent day, the Tetons playing their part to a T. Get it, get it? Now the French trappeurs named these mountains and I learned what Grand Tetons means. It translates to Large Tetons. Cool, huh?

That night, I wake up to pleasant rain on the roof. Before I went to bed, I moved all our chairs under the front of the trailer, the part usually occupied by the bed of the pickup, when we're hitched. So they'll stay dry.

Pleasant dreams. I'm out.


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