On Monday, a business trip required traveling to the Grand Tetons, and the fall color provided us with spectacular scenery during our drive.
Grand Teton National Park, located south of Yellowstone (about three and a half hours from my home), offers me a dose of an Eastern Sierra-like basin and range landscape with its expansive valley surrounded by 12,000 feet plus granite peaks. There’s a definite shortage of granite in Yellowstone—volcanic rocks form a good part of this park’s mountainous terrain.
As we circled Jackson Lake and the surrounding terrain, the local flora--willows, aspens, cottonwoods—proudly displayed their fall costumes of yellows, reds, and oranges. The shiny grey peaks and the sky blue lake added their color to the painting of fall, while the breeze caressed the leaves off the trees and brought a slight chill to remind us of winter’s approach.
I donned my Patagonia down sweater and tried not to think about the onset of subzero temperatures, while nearby Mt Moran, having witnessed over 9 million winters, remained indifferent to the changing seasons. Maybe after a few more seasons here I'll be as detached as the mountains to the winter's bitter cold.
On the drive back to Yellowstone, we observed a hungry bear foraging for food near West Thumb. This bear, probably experiencing fall hyperphagia (basically the intense urge to gorge on as much food as possible before hibernation), did not even stop his feasting for a moment to raise his head--much to the dismay of those of us with cameras.