Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Photos from the Mountains

We camped for two nights on the North Fork of Spread Creek in the huge wilderness area between Jackson Hole and Moran Jct, WY. We camped there in July last summer, so the place was familiar. It is an area where one of the dude ranches takes their clients to experience a wilderness adventure. The "outfitters" bring in covered wagons to use as bunk houses, there is a chuck wagon and supply trucks, and of course a string of horses. The outfitters had just finished a trip, the "dudes" had been moved out by vans and the crew was in process of dragging all the equipment back to the ranch.
I looked out of the camper window when a Dodge truck roared by and realized the mule drawn covered wagons had already passed quietly beyond our campsite.

I walked to the end of the dirt road, about two miles from where we parked. The horses were tethered to a long horizontal rope rail waiting their turn to be trucked back to the ranch. Most were hefty quarter horses, a few were of slimmer, lighter build. By late evening the horses had all been moved with Dodge 3/4 ton trucks pulling horse trailers. [I should say "dragging"--out here that is the term used for moving anything that has to be towed!]

When I approached the horse corral there were several enormous ravens bouncing over the ground with out-spread wings. They were searching for any bits of food dropped by the dudes or [yuk] bits of grain to be prized from the piles of horse droppings. The ravens flew into nearby trees and scolded in their harsh voices while I was there snapping pictures.
Many of the lodgepole pines in the mountain forests are dieing. I understand they are infested by a plague of beetles. The affected trees first turn a rusty color, then dull grey.
I rode on the back of J.'s 4 wheeler for one afternoon, about 50 miles, more than enough jouncing for my cranky old bones! He hadn't brought the pack he usually straps on the rack of the ATV, so I didn't take my camera.
J. and grandson stopped to fish in several likely places on the twisting creek, which gave me a chance to explore on foot. Grandson went under a narrow bridge across the water and called me to see a fantastic nest. How I wished for the camera. The nest was wedged between an I beam and the underside wooden planking of the bridge. It looked like a miniature bee skep turned on its side. It may have belonged to a swallow, although it was larger than the similarly constructed swallow's nests I have seen.
Walking back up the road while the males cast their lines, I heard a mighty squawking and could see a cloud of grey and white birds ahead. I toiled up the hill until I could stand near the crown of a tall spruce where the birds were congregated. This was an odd experience as the side hill fell steeply down to the creek bed and the tops of the trees rooted at the bottom were still way above my head. I beleive that the birds were Grey Jays--known in the mountains as "camp robbers". Just beyond the jay's roost was a pile of "scat" in the dusty track. There are these reminders that not every animal who is at home in the mountains is small or timid. The previous day J. and grandson had come across a "pile" which they identified as bear do.
The mountain flowers were past their peak and the photos I took are not the best; I'm still not accustomed to the focus of my new camera.
Blogger is balking about photo uploads this morning, as it did last evening. I have a shop quilt to finish [7 more rows] so will try later with the flower photos.


  1. When I examined your first photo I wondered why some of the tree looked almost mouldy and then you told us. How sad that they are infested ...will that not spread to all the trees? Seeing the waggons there in shot shows us just how tall those majestic but ailing trees, actually are.
    You live in a world so far removed from mine ...how wonderful of you to let me take a peak in to it.

  2. This world of the interior west is so far removed in climate and terrain from New England where I lived most of my life. I would probably feel more "at home" in Scotland. My ancient clan was, I assume, from the Ross-Cromarty area. The west has its beauty--very majestic, but rather harsh.

  3. Ah, so you have strong Scottish bloodlines then? Ross and Cromarty - yup, not a forgiving landscape . . .

    What an interesting post this was - how I'd love to try travelling in a covered wagon (I really MUST read Wagons West) but not with a pile of city slickers - they would drive me bananas!

    Google/Blogger has locked me out as it doesn't recognize me as Bovey Belle and as I hadn't changed my e-mail addy (forgot to, with all the bru hah with BT and to be honest, didn't' know WHERE to!) I can't access my blog and am having to start afresh as www.Codlinsandcream2.blogspot.com I am NOT very happy with Google . . .

  4. Angie; I looked up western pine beetles--nasty creatures magnified for the page. I read the wikipedia on them which was more than I wanted to know. Then read a bulletin put up by Colorada, our neighboring state. What I should have realized is the beetles are responsible for the dead wood which milled, becomes the desirable "blue-stained pine" lumber which my husband uses for vaulted ceilings.
    BB; how often the words "maddening" or "frustrating" come to mind when trying to deal with blogger, or google or anything to do with the PC.
    Yes, Scottish blood--Ross and Andrews that I know about. The first Ross was shipped over here because he was on the wrong [losing!] side in some skirmish [Battle of Worcester comes to mind] at any rate he landed in Rhode Island as an indetured servant and much about his origins is lost to the dust of time. Some of the little hamlets in upstate New York [my mother's lines] read like a gathering of the clans during the 1800's.
    Must be why I love to hear bagpipes.