Author Archive for Buffalo Roam Tour Guides

Fall in the Tetons: Don’t Blink!

The river produces mist during cool fall nights and it filters throughout the valley creating mystical mornings

The river produces mist during cool fall nights and it filters throughout the valley creating mystical mornings

Fall is a fleeting season in Jackson Hole. One morning you wake up and the aspen and cottonwood trees have suddenly turned to gold, the air has become clear and crisp, the river fills the valley with mist and fog, and evenings make the mountains blush with pink.

Cottonwoods all decked out in fall colors

Cottonwoods all decked out in fall colors

Geese head south hoping to find warm weather during the winter

Geese head south hoping to find warm weather during the winter

A pair of trumpeter swans glide across a golden pond

A pair of trumpeter swans glide across a golden pond

The drama of the landscape simply amplifies the drama of the animals. Bull elk are bugling their love songs, hoping to win over a large harem of cow elk. Everyone is eating the last of the summer’s bounty in preparation for the long, lean winter months ahead. And those who can, are on the move to warmer climes.

A distinct change in the sunlight over the valley tells you it's fall

A distinct change in the sunlight over the valley tells you it’s fall

And in the blink of an eye, the march of the seasons will bring us quickly into winter.

Bring your kids to the national parks in 2017!

Future GuideMany of us who love the outdoors as adults have at least one defining memory of nature from when we were children. Whether it was a school trip to the local park, or going on a boat ride for the first time, or using our first camera to capture the colors of nature – we each remember the moment when nature and the outdoors became part of us.

Moose:Snakeriver:kidsOur national parks want to be a part of those memories for each and every child in the United States. Did you know that ALL Fourth Graders and their families can visit any national park for free? All you have to do is visit https://www.everykidinapark.gov/ to get your free pass.

Moulton Barn:People:GTNPDarlene and Bear claw 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re planning on bringing your family to Grand Teton or Yellowstone National Park, let Buffalo Roam Park Tours help you make the most of the experience. As kids at heart ourselves, we can help make your trip to Yellowstone or Grand Teton National Park fun, educational, and memorable for kids of all ages.

Book your 2017 trip right now!

Winter Is Coming

winter-is-coming-memeAs an avid “Game of Thrones” watcher, I relish any opportunity to use that line. But it’s true! In the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, like in Westeros, winter is indeed coming. But unlike Westeros and the dreaded White Walkers, we have a lot to look forward to in winter!

Thousands of elk winter just north of Jackson

Thousands of elk winter just north of Jackson

 

Winter brings cooler temps, and often great wildlife viewing opportunities. There are over 10,000 elk that winter in the National Elk Refuge just north of Jackson. The bull elk sport their massive antlers all winter long and are quite a sight!

Trumpeter SwansIt’s not only elk that make the Refuge home for the winter. Trumpeter Swans, the largest North American water fowl, spend the winters here. Their stark white feathers against a wintery background is so serene and peaceful. Flat Creek, the winding waterway through the Refuge, has open water even through the dead of winter so these beautiful birds have access to food and forage all year round.

Big Horns winterBig Horn Sheep are regularly seen on the road. Like bison jams in the summer, these sheep cause their own traffic patterns! Their thick coats provide warmth, and their sharp hooves can dig down for the forage they need to survive our deepest freeze.

Coyote:Winter

 

The snow itself offers a great opportunity for tracking animals you might otherwise miss. The telltale prints of rabbits with their elongated hing feet, or the paw prints of a coyote, fox, or even a wolf are fun to spot, even when the wildlife themselves have long moved on. However, sometimes you get lucky and find the furry friends who left their marks in the snow.

First snow of the Season : Grand TetonSo even though our warm weather is fast disappearing, the fun never stops in this magical place. Book a winter tour today and experience Jackson Hole, Grand Teton, and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem with us in the winter!

Naturalists of the Tetons

When visitors come to the national parks, like Grand Teton and Yellowstone, they often want to learn more about their surroundings. How did the mountains form? What are the names of the wildflowers? How do the animals survive in the winter? The answers can, of course, be found in guide books and increasingly online, but the magic of having a knowledgeable person at your side, guiding you through your experience of the park is unquestionably the most fulfilling.

Grand Teton National Park's first naturalist

Grand Teton National Park’s first naturalist, seen here on Jenny Lake with Mount Moran in the background.

From the beginning of the national park system, these people have been called naturalists. They are folks who have studied nature and the natural world, often specific to a certain area. More important than knowing all the facts, however, is the ability to convey it to an interested listener. Telling a story about nature and the parks with an aim to connect people to and inform them about the place their visiting is often referred to as “interpretation” – translating the language of nature into the human languages.

The first naturalist in Grand Teton National park was Fritiof Fryxell. His interpretations of this landscape continue to inform and guide how we think about this incredibly special place. More well known, is John Muir, a passionate naturalist who inspired our entire nation to appreciate nature for its inherent beauty and spiritual value.

John Muir, America's most famous naturalist

John Muir, America’s most famous naturalist

Interpreters and Naturalists are often national park service rangers, guides like ours at Buffalo Roam Tours, or teachers and professors, and sometimes they are just people with a passion for sharing the natural world with others. Has someone ever helped you understand more about nature?

The Wonders of Wonderland

That perfect capture of the rainbow of color inside a hot spring like Abyss Pool

That perfect capture of the rainbow of color inside a hot spring like Abyss Pool

When people think of the hydrothermal features of Yellowstone, they often think of one or two iconic features like Old Faithful or Grand Prismatic Spring. So visitors on our tours are often overwhelmed and surprised at the massive scale and nearly endless number of thermal features throughout Yellowstone.

Hot springs are ever-changing rainbows of color thanks to the colonies of bacteria that live in the thermal waters.

Let our guides show you their favorite hidden gems of Yellowstone, many of which just require taking a closer look!

 

 

 

 

 

When on a Yellowstone tour, you are actually entering the mouth of the largest volcano in the world! The rim of the volcano surrounds much of the southwestern territory of the park. Inside this volcano live and breathe hundreds of hydrothermal features, each one unique in form and “personality”. Many of our favorite features are off the beaten path and require a little know-how to reach. Let our guides show you the way to all the hidden wonders of Wonderland!

With a little know-how from our incredible guides you can bypass the throngs of crowds and have a view of Old Faithful virtually all to yourself!

With a little know-how from our incredible guides you can bypass the throngs of crowds and have a view of Old Faithful virtually all to yourself!

Mountains & Men Part 3: Mount Wister

The pointy peak of Mount Wister rising above Taminah Lake in Avalanche Canyon

The pointy peak of Mount Wister rising above Taminah Lake in Avalanche Canyon

Some of the most classic and beautiful peaks of the Teton Range aren’t the most famous. Mount Wister, hidden in the southwestern corner of Avalanche Canyon, is a classic pyramidal peak often overlooked by the casual observer of this iconic mountain range.

Owen WisterMount Wister is named for author Owen Wister who wrote the classic western novel, The Virginian. Wister is credited with inventing the classic Western cowboy hero.

Today we have many heroes in the West – cowboys, climbers, conservationists, and naturalists. Continue to follow and read our blog to learn more about all of the heroes of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.

Remajestification of the Parks – Belly Laughs compliments of The Onion

Scrub those beaks!

Scrub those beaks!

This hilarious article from The Onion makes me glad that Mother Nature provides all the majesty of the parks for free, as long as we take care of her!

“The grizzlies reek of hibernation, there’s no fog left in the gorges, and the buffalo only roam when they absolutely need to be somewhere,” said Ken Brunswick of Jackson, WY, a restaurateur and outdoorsman. “I sure wouldn’t want to be the one to drain Old Faithful and clean the trap, but I’m glad someone is doing it.”

http://www.theonion.com/article/national-parks-closed-for-annual-remajestification-17484

Mountains & Men Part 2: Albright Peak

Albright Peak (high point on right) overlooks beautiful Phelps Lake

Albright Peak (high point on right) overlooks beautiful Phelps Lake

Often the lesser peaks of the Teton Range are overlooked, but many are named for the people who shaped this area as we know it today. One of those peaks is named Albright Peak. Horace Albright was the second National Park Service superintendent of Yellowstone. Albright loved Yellowstone deeply, but he also thought that the best part of the area was not protected within the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park – was of course talking about the Teton Range and Jackson Hole.

Throughout his tenure as superintendent, Albright advocated tirelessly to protect Jackson Hole – the mountains, the lakes, the views, and the culture of this special place. It was not until the 1920s that Albright met the Rockefeller family. Together they worked against all odds to protect Jackson Hole for future generations. Read a timeline of events which led to the conservation of Jackson Hole.

Albright and Laurance S. Rockefeller formed a lifelong friendship, and they often spent time on the shores of Phelps Lake. Albright Peak overlooks this beautiful lake and reminds us all of a friendship and partnership which created Grand Teton National Park as we know it today.

Hike to a spectacular view of Albright Peak and Phelps Lake by starting at the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve within Grand Teton National Park.

Hiding in Plain Sight

When I walk the trails in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, I often come across wildlife. Squirrels running up and down the trees storing pinecones for the winter, a chipmunk sounding the alarm to his forest friends as I walk by, hawks and ravens call and soar above me, and sometimes I even come across larger animals – black and grizzly bears, mule deer, and elk.

But for all the wildlife I see, what about those that I don’t? Our national parks are home to hundreds of wildlife species. Many of these animals have spectacular camouflage and can be hard to spot, especially as they sit motionless amidst the dense vegetation. Like me, do you ever wonder how many animals are observing you when all you see is the trail ahead?

Great Grey Owl

A great grey owl sits in the center of this photograph. Can you see him?

Landscape Ecology and Unearthing the Past

Although this TED talk is about the development and underlying ecology of Manhattan, it made me think of Yellowstone and Grand Teton and how lucky we are that some of our most beautiful and breathtaking landscapes are preserved for future generations to enjoy.

Eric Sanderson, a landscape ecologist, used a “relationship web” and marvelously accurate illustrations to depict what once was the natural landscape of Manhattan. I was surprised when he said, “On a per area basis, Manhattan had more ecological communities per acre than Yosemite does, than Yellowstone, Amboseli. It was really an incredible landscape. It was capable of supporting an extraordinary biodiversity.” Although this project allows us to step back in ecological time, isn’t it special when we can experience a place the same way someone experienced it 150 years ago, like when we go to Yellowstone or Grand Teton National Parks?