Flagg Ranch, Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Hole, JD Rockefeller Memorial Parkway, Lewis Falls, Natural Habitat, otter, River otter, Snake River, Yellowstone National Park
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.
We set off northwards through Grand Teton National Park. The views were beautiful, (though not as beautiful as the following day).
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.
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.
All enjoyed a playful bundle for a couple of minutes. Then, just like that, all seven decided to turn back. I decided it was time to take a video,
and the otters disappeared back to where they had come from.
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.) We continued climbing, into Yellowstone National Park, the first (1872) NP ever declared in the world. The snow was getting thicker and falling faster. Snowcoaches it was now.
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. Not that I was aware of it at the time.Our lunch stop was at West Thumb, in a ‘warming hut’.
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.