South from the Grand Tetons, Wyoming

October 6-10, 2008

Sunrise at Jackson Hole.









Autumn in the Tetons. Leaves shimmer and glow overhead, blustery winds send them showering down, swirling around us. We kick up leaves that line the pathway, like gold coins and red doubloons, a magic forest currency beneath our feet.




After only a couple of days hiking in scenic Jackson Hole, we heard on our trusty weather radio that a major winter storm was headed our way; wet weather from the Pacific would be colliding with a cold front blowing down from Canada. Sadly, we decided to head southward leaving the brilliant colors behind, making our way down through eastern Wyoming to southwestern Colorado. We were in Durango when the southern fringe of the storm hit us, bringing with it rain, hail, and high winds that whipped through town.



Where the dear and antelope play -- pronghorns in southern Wyoming.





We saw flocks of Sandhill Cranes flying overhead in the blue, blue sky, then noticed hundreds were feeding in the just-plowed alfalfa fields along the Green River, near Dinosaur National Monument. Stopping along the highway in the early morning, we listened to their wonderful calls, a pre-historic rattling and cooing, rising and falling as they settled and then stirred. Pairs were leaping and pirouetting in the air, feet extended, gracefully dancing on their long thin legs.

Sound Recording: Sandhill Cranes (3:19)




"The scenery was on a grand scale and never before did I live in such ecstasy for an entire month," said Major John Wesley Powell. In 1869 he explored the Green and Colorado Rivers, entering in what is now Dinosaur National Monument.