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USA 2018 (7) Otters! If I had been disappointed at the lack of snow hitherto, I could have no complaint now. This was the view from my Lexington hotel bedroom at Jackson Hole on the Sunday morning.

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It had snowed!

We set off northwards through Grand Teton National Park.  The views were beautiful, (though not as beautiful as the following day).

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Like many of my photos, taken through the smoked glass of the vehicle window. And the mist.

Wanting the opportunity to take photos in the open, we stopped after a while by the Snake River/Jackson Lake, to be delighted to see through the mist and snow some little dots – which turned out to be river otters! Now otters, along with dolphins and felines, are my favourite animals – not very original, but there we are. P1290463001

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Emerging from their holt

 

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There were swans as well – this is a very long way off…

Right on cue they came bounding in our direction, though they were not aware of us. (These photos were taken with my camera on maximum – x24 – zoom, and I have enlarged them a little since.)  Then two more otters revealed themselves, nearer to us, and the first group ran towards them. P1290481001P1290484001

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I love how you can see their converging tracks.

All enjoyed a playful bundle for a couple of minutes.  Then, just like that, all seven decided to turn back. P1290498001P1290503001P1290506001I decided it was time to take a video,

and the otters disappeared back to where they had come from.P1290512001P1290514001

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The swans were still there

What a magical experience!  Many agreed at the end of the trip that this had been a real highlight.

We continued, leaving the Grand Teton NP, and stopped at the Flagg Ranch Information Station in the JD Rockefeller Memorial Parkway, for hot chocolate and a change of vehicle. (For some reason they didn’t charge me for my hot chocolate as I had provided my own insulated drinking can, a gift, along with a metal water bottle, from Natural Habitat at the outset.)P1290529001P1290527001 We continued climbing, into Yellowstone National Park, the first (1872) NP ever declared in the world. The snow was getting thicker and falling faster.P1290538001 Snowcoaches it was now.

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I don’t know how our luggage made it from hotel to hotel every night, but it was following us on skis at this point!

Our next stop – and descent from the vehicles – was to see the Lewis Falls. These are at the southern rim of the Yellowstone supervolcano caldera. P1290555001P1290561001 Not that I was aware of it at the time.

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The NP is in the NE corner of Wyoming, slightly overlapping Montana and Idaho to the N and E respectively. The approximate line of the caldera is shown here in grey.

Our lunch stop was at West Thumb, in a ‘warming hut’.P1290580

 

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The warming hut – outside

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The warming hut – inside. Two of the Nat Hab water bottles can be seen.

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The loos. Talk about amazing surroundings!

The hut was actually too warm for me, all wrapped up in the great boots and fantastic parka provided by Natural Habitat for the trip.  (The parka was 80% duck down and 20% feather.  I had packed silk sock liners and silk glove liners, which I wore under alpaca looped long socks and Hollofil mittens. I had very few problems with the cold, at which I was very surprised, given my usual hatred of anything below 21 deg C/70 deg F.  In addition, the leaders provided toe and hand warmers as topping up, of which I only availed myself on the last two days.)

We assembled to go for a walk in the snow.P1290597