My husband and I love to travel. We've had the privilege of visiting some amazing places–both manmade places and natural ones. For me, the natural places beat the manmade ones hands-down, because you can see the glory of God in the created world.
A couple of years ago, Bruce and I went on a long road trip out West. We saw national parks, lots of animals, and the most amazing scenery I can imagine. It was an incredible trip.
So this summer, in the hopes of inspiring you to check out God's marvelous creation, I'm going to be blogging about some natural places we have seen! (I will share several photos, but be sure to follow my page on Facebook to see even more pictures, that I don't have room for here.) First up is…
Grand Teton National Park!
Grand Teton National Park (a.k.a. “the Tetons”) is a place of unparalleled beauty. It gets its name from its highest peak, Grand Teton. (In the photo above, the high peak towards the right is Grand Teton.)
The Teton mountain range rises out of nowhere. The valley in front of it is a nice, almost-flat plain. There are no foothills or anything. But when the mountains start, boy do they ever start! They jut right out of the earth and soar to massive heights. Grand Teton is so high it usually has a plume (of cloud/snow) blowing off it!
If you love scenery, you MUST visit this park. There are so many amazing photo opportunities in the Tetons. (Ansel Adams, for example, shot many famous photos of the Tetons. It seems to have worked out pretty well for him.) 🙂
Also, critters abound. It's so much fun to keep a lookout for the animals.
For example, we really wanted to see moose and bear; we had never seen either in the wild. So we prayed and asked the Lord, since He owns all the moose and bear on a thousand hills, could He please get out a few to show us?
You may laugh at that prayer, but He answered! When we drove into the park for the first time, guess who we saw, right by the Willow Flats visitor's center?
Uh huh. That, my friends, is a mooser. (Keep in mind, we were there in June, so all of the animals were still growing their antlers. They lose them every year, and then grow them all spring/summer.) But yes, Mr. Moose was the welcoming committee. First thing we saw. I thought that was downright nice of Papa, to get out His moose for us. 🙂
We also asked Papa to see a bear… and the 2nd day we were there, we found ourselves in a bear-jam. (You identify the nature of the traffic jam by what kind of animal caused it: e.g. bison-jam, elk-jam, bear-jam.) Here was the first black bear I ever got to see:
I thought he was a grizzly at first, but no luck. That's ok. He was a very nice black bear, I'm sure, and I was grateful to see him. I did stay far away, though… seeing a bear walking by when you are on foot does not exactly inspire feelings of safety. 🙂 There was a ranger there with a can of bear spray, though, just in case. But Mr. Bear wandered across the street, through the picnic area, and through the woods. He didn't have time to hang out.
There were also LARGE herds of elk everywhere in the Tetons when we were there. Here's a nice herd in the photo below.
You can tell the difference between elk and deer not only by their rack and their size, but also because elk have a large, very pronounced white rump.
There are also a number of bison…
and smaller, unidentified critters… (anybody know what this is?)
And we even got to see 5 coyote puppies, playing together near their den! Here are a few of them. (Check out the little guy's expression on the bottom right.)
That's a whole lotta cuteness right there. 🙂
It's not just about the animals, though. As I mentioned above, the scenery is so amazing. It's worth visiting the Tetons for, even if you didn't see a single animal!
When we were there, flowers were blooming everywhere. My favorite was this one, called arrowleaf balsamroot:
And here's what arrowhead balsamroot looks like en masse:
There are also glaciers you can see, like this one in the center of the photo. (Those grey lines and layers on the left side of the snowfield in the middle are exposed glacier.)
And there are beautiful places to photograph reflections, like Schwabacher's Landing:
And Oxbow Bend (with Mount Moran, my favorite of the mountains, on the right):
I have many more amazing photos, of birds and other things, but I will share more on Facebook. (Head on over and “Like” my page if you haven't already!)
Needless to say, I LOVE the Tetons. I want to go back next year and spend more time there, if it works out.
Have I convinced you to go yet? Have any questions? Please ask in the comments! Also, if you have been to the Tetons and have thoughts to share, please do so! I'd love to hear about your experience.