We’re Halfway Home — Gros Ventre Campground, Grand Teton National Park August 1, 2017

panorama_1

Gros Ventre Campground in the southeast section of Grand Teton National Park is the closest campground to Jackson, Wy. For those who don’t know — and there are many of you — Grand Teton is south of Yellowstone and adjacent to it.  Also, it should be noted that Gros Ventre is pronounced “grow-vont”, as the French do.

 

We’re camping here for two weeks. There’s no rush to go here, there and everywhere — and FINALLY we put up our 35 pound screen tent that admittedly takes up too much space in the car. I have gotten a LOT of grief for insisting on taking it — Every time I complain about Terry’s bags of camera equipment, his extensive fishing equipment, the two cases of wine AND the COOLER FOR HIS CIGARS, he gets a look of glee on his face and refers to the “compact” screen tent.

HOWEVER,  we are BOTH enjoying the fly free dining.

Antelope_close_3

Gros Ventre is known for moose sightings — even in the campsites. The other morning I took a walk to look for a moose and Terry took the car to do the same thing. Instead he saw this antelope — which number one grandson says is really a pronghorn.  I was unsuccessful but as I walked I thought that maybe I didn’t want to encounter a moose face to face, so it’s just as well.

Did you know that moose are considered to be the largest members of the deer family?

Anyway, the other day we got out of bed — again without the coffee — and got to the moose overlook just in time to see what follows:

Moose_profile

It was almost too easy. We got to the “moose overlook” around 6:30 A.M. and there was this Mama Moose drinking — and drinking — and 15 minutes later still drinking. We were stunned because two years ago when we showed up at sunset Terry remembers that “all we got were mosquito bites.” It could be that because it was cooler this time, the moose are out more. They can’t sweat, so they really don’t like the heat.

baby_1

After waiting about 10 or 15 minutes the baby came out from hiding and joined its mother. I don’t know how old this young one is, but I learned that there is something like a 50% death rate of young moose (I’ve seen different numbers but they are all high) especially in the first six weeks. They are easy prey for bears and wolves.

calf_kiss

If you look carefully you can see Mama and Baby kissing. Now that Mama drank what seemed like gallons of water, she is grazing. Moose are herbivores and can eat 50-60 pounds a day.

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Taken from Mormon Row — where once there was a Mormon settlement near our campground

A park worker told us the other day that 100,000 people are expected to descend upon Jackson for the eclipse.  The town managers don’t know exactly what to expect so it’s hard for them to prepare.  The National Park Service asked the Federal Government for money to hire 30 extra people on eclipse day to help with the congestion and possible chaos that could affect emergency responders.

Our Federal Government said “No.”

Before we left I was on the phone so much with my congress people’s offices that they were starting to recognize my voice.  I haven’t done that since we left, but this trip is reinforcing my belief that it’s necessary to keep up the pressure on the politicians.  When we were in Custer State Park we met a married couple who until recently were teachers in Arizona.  They decided to move to Colorado while their teaching licenses were still worth something.  Arizona has made it legal for people with two year degrees and no education background to be public school teachers.  According to this couple, the science that is being taught is a joke.  I asked why this is happening and they said two words:  Betsy DeVos.

A couple that we met from Michigan are similarly upset about DeVos.  And while we love staying in the national parks, it’s clear that money needs to be spent for roads and such basic things as camper sinks and bathrooms.

You might ask why I think about politics while on this glorious trip. Well, partly because I hope to see these places be saved for the next generation.  But beyond that —  it is only my white middle class privilege that would even allow me to forget about the politics that threatens so many people’s daily lives.

Mormon_panorama

With love,

Ruthe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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