When I started this new style of living, I anticipated maybe a week to get used to all the new mechanical gizmos and driving this much vehicle. I was clearly overly optimistic! I head back to Colorado later this week to take care of a few things before venturing back out again. I am thinking this is more like a soft launch for probably a month or two. I am not venturing beyond the states bordering Colorado until later in October. I have significantly scaled back my plans for each month and hope to continue settling into a routine where I can make this a profitable venture.
This past week I have been visiting Wyoming via Utah. I have previously spent a lot of time on the roads of Wyoming but, like Colorado, there are still so many places I have never seen and many places I want to revisit.
Sandhill_cranes_Jensen_2015_2A sandhill crane (Grus canadensis) flies against a clear blue sky near Jensen, Utah So over the last week I left Jensen, Utah, where I photographed some sandhill cranes (the migration has started) and headed to Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. From there into Green River (where my dogs visited a sweet country-type veterinarian), up to Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge, back into Rock Springs and then up to Jackson and Grand Teton National Park by way of Pinedale.
The western side of Wyoming contains a lot of sage brush landscape with canyons and buttes before changing to beautiful mountains in the northwest.
From Grand Teton I will drive across the state with the goal of reaching the eastern side of Wyoming in a couple of days where the landscape is significantly different - more prairie and open landscape.
It has been a great week.Pronghorn_buck_FGNRA_2015_3A pronghorn antelope buck (Antilocapra americana) looks towards some nearby does as he sports some sage stuck in his horns in Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area near Green River, Wyoming.
Flaming Gorge is a huge reservoir - 91 miles in length - with a wide variety of wildlife. On the southern end in Utah there are moose, bighorn, elk and Utah's largest concentration of nesting osprey. Unfortunately I didn't have a lot of time to explore that area but have it marked for a revisit, maybe in the spring.The northern end of Flaming Gorge, which sits in Wyoming, is more high plains desert with pronghorn antelope, lots of desert cottontail rabbits and golden eagles. I found a few ponds as well with some migratory birds.
From Flaming Gorge, I visited Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge a few times. It is one of my favorite refuges but I haven't had much luck photographing wildlife until this trip. The biggest reason is because I had the time to take at the refuge rather than just a drive through. The ability to have time at each location I visit to really spend time with the local wildlife is the biggest reason for making this significant lifestyle change. It takes time - typically 3-4 days - to really get to learn where wildlife can be found in a new location. As I am on the road longer, my visits to locations will get longer to take advantage of the time flexibility I have created for myself.
Moose_Seedskadee_NWR_2015_2A cow moose (Alces alces) stands with her offspring along the Green River at Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge near Green River, Wyoming Seedskadee sits along a stretch of the Green River. A large majority of the refuge is dry, sage brush landscape complete with greater sage grouse and pronghorn antelope. The corridor along the river, however, is a lush, riparian habitat that is home to mule deer, moose, bald eagles and river otters.
Although I don't stop to photograph wildlife when driving the RV like I do in a vehicle (not very safe to park that big thing on the shoulder), I did see a lot of pronghorn along the way. I do hope to photograph their migration back north one spring in the near future.
Once in Grand Teton, wildlife became significantly more abundant. Late September is peak season for fall colors in the cottonwood and aspen trees, as well as peak season for moose and elk rut. Many animals are also frantically working on preparing for the upcoming winter by creating caches of food or bulking up on pounds to get them through the months of hibernation. The active wildlife makes for great photo opportunities.
Teton's RainbowA rainbow, with a faint second rainbow, reaches down towards the Snake River on a rainy morning in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Tomorrow we hit the road, where I hope to find locations to photograph mule deer, more pronghorn and maybe some wild turkeys.