Exploration: Ashton – Jackson Hole

7/29/2017 Shanna and I needed to go do something as just us.  We may live and work at the same places, but our lives don’t actually connect except around mealtimes and other household activities.  So we decided to go explore a little dirt road that I found on the paper Idaho atlas.  It looked to me that it would take us from Ashton to Grand Teton National Park.    It was quite a drive.

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Stairway to?

The drive was really slow, in part because there were so many things to take pictures of.

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Decay
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Ashton side of the Tetons
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Lake and Aspens

It has been super hot all week high 90s, and we were hoping for a cooler drive.  Our wish was granted and a light sprinkle of rain drove the temp down (of course we were also climbing in altitude too).  It was in the 70s for a large part of the drive.

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Cool reflections

As we were driving we came around a bend in the road and saw all of these lightbulbs on long stalks.  It was quite a surprise, they were magical.

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Beargrass

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Camp LOL.  What a great name.  Later, when we were in Texas we found out that one of my nephews was at that camp when we were driving by. JLS06228

I was surprised at how many lovely little and large lakes were nestled in the hills and mountains of this drive. Grassy Lake was one of the largest and Loon Lake had loons at quite a distance and lily pads.

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Gorgeous Grassy Lake Reservoir

This little chipmunk was so adorable. He scampered off the road and paused long enough for pictures.

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Least chipmunk

Coming down from the pass we entered a burned area.  My guess is that this was a burn from last year.  It cleared all of the brush and undergrowth but left the trees. Dead, but still standing with lots of bark burned on the outer edges but still on the tree.  Eventually weather will remove most of the branches and bark and the trees will become more stalagmite-ish.  JLS06338

I loved the indian paintbrush  and other wildflowers washing color through the dead trees.

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Echos of fire
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Scars

It took us a lot of driving to get to the other side of the Tetons. Sometimes the road was wide with good gravel and at other times it was narrow and twisty with difficult surfaces.

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Northern part of Jackson Lake & the Tetons

Skittles (the stuffed animal) came with us on the adventure.  Skittles is a rainbow creature who looks a bit like a horse, or a goat, or a giraffe, or a…  We really don’t know what he is, but he does make a good adventure companion.  The car is Rafael Jr.

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Skittles and Rafe

It was truly a gorgeous day and drive.

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Jackson side of the Tetons
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Female mountain bluebird

We did see a few birds and a couple of mammals:

  1. Red tailed hawk
  2. Prairie falcon
  3. Western kingbird
  4. Crows
  5. Brewer’s blackbirds
  6. Cliff swallows
  7. Lazuli bunting
  8. Chipping sparrows
  9. Mountain bluebirds
  10. Robins
  11. Dark eyed junco
  12. Wilson’s warbler
  13. Barn swallow
  14. Osprey
  15. Dusky grouse (formerly Blue)
  16. Townsend’s solitaire
  17. White crowned sparrows

Mammals

  1. Mule deer
  2. Least chipmunks
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Images of the West: horses and the Teton range

This flowering shrub was just so fluffy looking from a distance.  I wish I knew what it was. Clearly I don’t wish to know enough to dig through my flower books.  At least, not yet. Maybe I can do that this winter.

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Fluffy unidentified flower
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Le Grand Tetons
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Idaho Falls Sunset

The plan was to have a lovely exploratory drive and get home at a reasonable time. 13 hours is not a reasonable nor short drive. We got home really late and that was more than fine as a trade off for so many wonderful sights. — Jenny


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