Thursday, September 16, 2010


The Teton Range rises abruptly from the Jackson Hole valley, provoking feelings of insignificance.  I cannot imagine the early settlers in this wild, open country.  It was a beautiful blue sky day without a cloud in the sky - and, yes, the sky is that blue!  The air was clean and dry and about 25F cooler than when we left the heat of Salt Lake City.  We drove around, stopped, parked, walked and took photos here and there.  This is, apparently, the iconic image that transfixed Ansel Adams. 

From sagebrush flats to wet meadows and lakes and ponds, Grand Teton National Park has it all.  It was a beautiful place. 

Along the way we stopped at a place called Mormon Row  where an old farmstead still stood and a bison herd roamed freely.  No fences, no wires, just the herd walking from place to place and people stopping to take photos (from a safe distance away, hopefully).

This guy was on the side of the road and I snapped him as we stopped for several crossing in front of a few cars.  They seem to gentle but occasionally look at you with a beady eye and snort to tell you this is not a petting zoo and don't be stupid enough to think you can get closer to me without a car in between us.

Have you seen Old Faithful erupt?  Apparently, it does so with such regularity the park service posts the times in the Old Faithful Inn.  Dozens of people sit on the balcony facing the geyser and wait, drink in hand, making it a party atmosphere.  That's if you don't want to go ahead and walk the few yards from the hotel to the geyser, sit on the benches there, and wait.

Jerry and I took the long walk along the boardwalk the next morning, after spending the night in the Old Faithful Inn (no t.v., no internet access: it was like all you were supposed to do was walk around the look at geysers and sulfurous pools! ha ha).  A nice, brisk walk with just a few other hardy souls out that morning as we walked past Old Faithful, Castle Geyser, and on to Morning Glory Pool. 

When it was first discovered and documented, Morning Glory Pool was a cobalt blue color - the hottest of the lava/water mixes produce the bluer colors in the pools.  So they called it Morning Glory for what it most resembled.  Since that time (1871), people visiting have thrown coins and other junk in it, clogging the vents and making it look more green in the center and cooling on the outside to an orange and brown color.

A brisk walk back, breakfast at the Inn, and we were on our way through Yellowstone Park up towards the northern entrance to Mammoth Hot Springs.

Come back again to see more photos from the trip until I get back to painting (first the laundry, grocery, house cleaning, shopping for shoes - for a party Saturday, petting the cat, etc.).  But I'm thinking about Nick Simmons and his comment of wanting to see some serious watercolor acreage...couldn't ask for more acreage than what's in some of my Yellowstone photos so maybe that will make it's way onto a large sheet?


Irina said...

I like so much the photos done by artist, "ready to paint" images).
Looking forward for more.

Elizabeth Seaver said...

I went there when I was a child, and your photos took me right back. Lovely! I'm so glad you got to go.

Pam Johnson Brickell said...

Fantastic, Rhonda! But, but, but, where is your sketchbook?

RHCarpenter said...

Thanks, Irina, I'll be sharing a few more tomorrow and the next day :)

Elizabeth, I'm glad the photos brought back good memories for you.

Pam, thanks. Yes, I'm embarrassed that I no longer travel with a sketchbook or my watercolors. I knew I would be repacking and moving each morning and just didn't want to try to keep up with things - plus I don't really work in front of others like some brave artists do so...well, it's an excuse and not a good one. I'm more likely to travel with my watercolors and sketchbook when I know I'll be staying in one place for a few days and can create a work space for myself. You, on the other hand, are inspiring with your sketches.

Nick said...

That last one looks like it could inspire a cool watercolor, already looks like one. I'm getting that John Denver Grand Teton High from your photos! I have a workshop and judging out there, wish it were coming up sooner. Have fun Rhonda, come back ready to paint!

debwardart said...

Lovin' this reminder of my honeymoon and can't wait for more photos! It's an amazing place to see. And somehow I'm perversely happy to know that there were grafiti artists and stupid tourists long before our current generation - tossing their coins and other detritus into those fabulous pools and trying to pet buffalo! So, it ain't just us!

RHCarpenter said...

Nick, I can understand the high - the air is so clean and clear and dry it's amazing to see for miles and miles. Yes, watercolors may come from this trip - now just to weed out the ones that would work and ones that are just vacation snaps.

Deb, yep, stupid is as stupid does and stupid has been around a long time, apparently! Honeymoon memories? That's got to be a good thing! Hope you are feeling fine as frog hair these days :)

Linda Young said...

I lived in Wyoming in the 80's and visited Yellowstone and the Morning Glory Pool. I have a picture of it from then and it was bright blue as you stated in your post. It makes me sad to see how the color has changed as in your picture. My photo means that much more to me now. Beautiful pictures Rhonda.

RHCarpenter said...

Linda, it is sad that such unbelievable beauty can be ruined by stupidity and carelessness. But then, humans want to leave their mark on everything. There were aspen trees marked with names carved in them in places, too. As Henry Ellis said, "The sun, the moon and the stars would have disappeared long ago...had they happened to be within the readh of predatory human hands."