Smoke Gets In My Eyes
In Full BloomSticky Geranium (Geranium viscosissimum) and Twin Arnica (Arnica sororia)
First order of business is capturing green season: my favorite time of the year. As of this past Sunday it was - surprisingly - still looking quite green in much of the park but
Forest OrnamentsAbundant wildflowers decorate the forest floor
Green will give way to gold and tawny brown.
(If you're wondering what unusually warm means, it was 87 degrees yesterday in Jackson; 99 in Idaho Falls; 100 in Pocatello. Normal highs would be 10-15 degrees cooler.)
Overlapping with green season is wildflower season. On the valley floor, both the Arrowleaf Balsamroot and Mule's Ear have come and gone - but we're now at the point where a wider range of plants are in bloom. There's still plenty of yellow: the Twin Arnica (Arnica sororia) are having a particularly good year, especially around Antelope Flats. See above. At first glance these might resemble the aforementioned earlier-blooming yellow flowers, but the Arnica are taller and present as single stalks rather than "bouquets."
Lupines are abundant right now on the way up Signal Mountain, paintbrush dot the landscape in many locations, and sulphur buckwheats seem to be everywhere. I saw some sticky geraniums at Antelope Flats along with Monument Plants which are just beginning to flower. Then there's field chickweed, phlox, Bolander's Yampah - and more.
As for water, the bulk of the snow has melted so the rivers are running clear rather than brown from all the runoff. Much more photogenic.
Hidden Falls and Canyon Creek were running very full and fast over last weekend. Snowpack was below normal last winter; I didn't expect to see that kind of volume.
Ivory TreasureHidden Falls
The water level at Jackson Lake remains very low. Colter Bay Marina isn't opening at all this season; that should tell you something. Leek's was still operating last time I went by there, and Signal Mountain Marina (pictured below) is also open.
As of the end of May the reservoir was only 25% full; it's projected to reach a maximum of just 45% this year.
Mirror, MirrorSignal Mountain Marina - Jackson Lake
So it begins...
Odds and Ends
The fire danger rating for Grand Teton National Park, Bridger-Teton National Forest and the National Elk Refuge was elevated yesterday to high. Don't be deceived by how green the landscape looks.
The park has been far less busy than usual so far this summer. (At least it seems that way; I haven't seen the numbers for June.) I've got to think that has something to do with the price of gas, which is currently in the neighborhood of $5.50 in western Wyoming. It was actually cheaper inside the park than in Jackson the other day. Paying a king's ransom for fuel is crazy but the extra elbow room is nice. Silver lining.
Campgrounds are filled but sites do open up. If you're hoping to snag a spot, keep checking Recreation.gov. I've seen the inventory situation change multiple times over a single day.
Keywords: Antelope Flats, Grand Teton National Park, green season, Tetons, wildflowers
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