For my first three days in Jackson Hole, at least as far as I was concerned, The Tetons existed only in theory. It was fall and the famed range had been shrowded in moody, low clouds. While it was a thrill to enjoy the park’s resident moose and thunderous herds of bison and elk in relative solitude given the off season, the idea of leaving without at least a glimpse of the peaks felt akin to going to a movie theater only to experience the popcorn. Thankfully, the morning of my departure, the clouds finally rose and as they departed so too did the Snake River’s role as the area’s primary attraction.
As a photographer, the Tetons are empowering to photograph but also wildly humbling. The range’s scope is such that one struggles to find a shot that a better version hasn’t already appeared on countless postcards and posters for a century. Fortunately, on this day, when the clouds broke, I stumbled upon this group of horses grazing in front of some low fog, revealing only the mountain’s peaks. I’d found the shot that I was looking for. The Tetons did exist and did so in a grand fashion. It was time to enjoy the movie.
I hope you enjoy the image as much as I enjoyed taking it!
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Horses and Cowboys is downtown Pawhuska
Before I moved back to Oklahoma, a trusted travel writer and friend of mine said that among the most beautiful places he’d ever been was the Tallgrass Prairie in Northwest Oklahoma. In addition to the thousands of acres of blue stem and three thousand bison, several Prairie Chickens called this prairie home and it was a hell of a place to watch the sunset.
Sunset at the Tallgrass Prairie
Bison and the sunset at the Tallgrass Prairie
Eager to see it, I made a point to visit after doing a small piece on Ponca City, an hour or so away. After getting lost and wandering down several dirt roads for considerably more than an hour, I finally came across a cattle guard and a sign warning morons that it is best not to try and touch buffalo. I’d made it.
Barn outside Pawhuska
After a beautiful drive and a visit to the visitor center, I came out the other end (the correct entrance/exit) into the charming town of Pawhuska. Not only was this the (correct) entrance to the Tallgrass but one of the most soulful and up and coming towns in Oklahoma.
night sky at the Tallgrass Prairie
In and around this magic little town clouds dance, the prairies beckon and cowboys still walk their horses down the street. Bison graze and the sun and stars playfully try day and night to outshine one another.
Buffalo on the Tallgrass Prairie
Read more about Pawhuska and the Tallgrass Prairie here. And enjoy more photos below.
Cowboy working a herd at sunset.
Working cowboys outside Pawhuska
On the first morning of seven days and nights in the southern passages, I woke up to icebergs. Perched above the iceberg was an eagle and above the eagle on an iceberg was a rainbow… All of which was happening in front of a waterfall.
An hour later, while watching a brown bear bumble adorably along the shoreline, just off the bow of the boat, a humpback whale leaped out of the water. By day’s end, the sun made a royal departure, turning the night purple and gold for just a moment until everything was silent. Pics are below and link to my two stories are here for 405 Magazine and here for Lost Tribe.
Killer Whale just off the bow of our sister ship.
Nothing like waking up at 4am with the sun already up surrounded by icebergs. One of the most memorable mornings of my life.
Nothing rivals the EXPLOSION that follows as this glacier shed its primordial ice.
The view above Mendenhall Glacier
Salmon is always the best choice in Alaska.
An eagle perched on an iceberg looking for some lunch.
One of many waterfalls in the eastern passages.
an old volcanic plug
Dancing at Turtle Island
As our skiff cut its way across a remote, narrow channel from Turtle Island to a remote village fifteen minutes away, I was surrounded by beauty. Despite the bustling colorful coral reefs below us and the towering volcanic mountains that made up the surrounding Islands in all directions, I was less overwhelmed with beauty that surrounded me and more focused on the experience that awaited. Like a kid before prom, finally about to meet his first girlfriend’s parents, I was nervous. Read about what happened on that beautiful day here!
There is something to be said for finding a fungus growing from the earth, plucking it and then putting it into your mouth. Wild food foraging and morel hunting with Wild Food Adventures out of Asheville, North Carolina is a curious and often delicious experience and one that you can read more about here in this link!