Brrr it’s been chilly here in Miami
The evenings are riding the low 60’s and the days are in the mid to low 70’s…
Maybe that’s not that cold, but I like 80 degree weather or maybe even warmer
I’ve never been one for the cold actually, in spite of that I still decided to visit Jackson, Wyoming this December.
I wanted to be near the mountains and the snow, but wow was it freezing. The temperature was around 15 and 20 degrees and even dropped below 5 degrees one day. It was nuts
It wasn’t all bad though, you know I wanted to get out of Miami for a little while. I had been feeling a little bit suffocated and stuffy here and I’m happy to say that, in spite of the freezing temperatures, Jackson really helped me clear my mind and find a little bit of peace.
Wyoming was very scenic, I really enjoyed the snow, the people were very nice, I had a fireplace in my airbnb, so I was just loving it. I’d also take a nice long bath every day during the evenings while relaxing to some of Leon Bridges’ songs.
The highlight of my trip was this little safari-style tour that I took to Grand Teton National Park
My group and I went out scoping for some elk, moose, eagles, mule deer… that’s it I guess. I was really looking forward to spotting some wolves, but unfortunately I didn’t get to see any, also the grizzly bears had all gone into hibernation. At some point we spotted a whole group of moose, and even though there were a bit far I could see them very clearly through some binoculars that I had with me.
I did bring my camera, but seriously it was freezing, my hands, my fingers, toes, ears, just everything so I really gave up on trying to take some pictures. I did come out with two semi-decent ones I think from the Grand Teton National Park -
Some Elk roaming in Grand Teton National Park
My tour group also stopped by the Elk Refuge, but there were no elk there yet. It was too early, apparently they start making their way down to the refuge during mid to late December.
Our guide shared a lot of history of the park and info on the animals of the area. Specially the Elk, also known as Wapiti, a Shawnee and Cree Native people word for “white rump.” Unfortunately, the elk numbers in the Grand Teton area have been decreasing due to wolf predation and disease, specifically a disease called the Chronic Wasting Disease or the “zombie deer disease” that affects other types of deer as well.
Also the moose population in Wyoming has been in decline for many years now also due to the wolves, grizzly bears, wildfires and loss of habitat. The moose are also highly afflicted with winter ticks and other parasites that eat their bodies from the inside.
This is gonna sound ridiculous, but I didn’t know that elk and moose shed their antlers each year. I just thought that they grew them and then they just had them? Apparently, the moose lose their antlers around December or January and start regrowing them again around April… or maybe March. Also the antlers for moose and elk are primarily for attracting a mate, well, mates actually, plural. The bigger the size of the antlers means the bull is healthy and strong, and they’re used for intimidating rivals and attracting all of the hotties. Then, if another elk messes with a big bad bull, the antlers also help that bull in fighting, and it’s all good unless the two elk end up getting their antlers stuck together forever and die.
In brief, my trip was rewarding and I hope to visit the area in the future, but only during the summer of course. I've learned my lesson and will never try to go back during the winter months. Hell no.
Also, if you're interested about the (American) history of the Grand Teton, there's this very short book that summarizes it very well called the Grand Teton National Park (Images of America). I got the kindle version, it's a fun read and it's super short.
I hope you're enjoying the holidays, and here's to a happy New Year 🥂🎉
Me navigating the snow like a pro