Have you ever heard an elk bugle? It’s an amazing, haunting, primal sound that a bull elk makes when in rut. (Rut is the mating season and when the mature bulls compete for the attentions of the cow elk and will try to defend females in their harem. Rival bulls challenge their opponents by bellowing at them.) This bugling is something we hear starting in mid-September and it’s really a special thing we love to share with our guests. You can hear it here.
It’s also one of the reasons September is a favorite time of the year here for many of us on staff. US News & World Report agrees with us and also says it’s one of the best times of the year to visit. It’s nice and cool for those who don’t like the heat of summer and the aspens and cottonwoods are starting to change color to deep golden yellow and orange. For photography buffs, there are a lot more contrasting colors and sharper definition on the Tetons as the sun is moving south. And nothing beats that moment on the river when you turn the corner and get your first glimpse of the Tetons, which in September just might be covered with that first dusting of snow.
Other B’s we see in the Fall– bears, beavers and bull moose
In addition to the elk bugling, we have some bull moose that hang out and sometimes we see them scraping the velvet off their antlers (something they do in preparation for the mating season) and that sure is a treat. A lot of times we’ll see a big old moose browsing in the willows along the river and he won’t even notice us. This year we’re about a 114% of our summer precipitation so it’s very lush out here. And soon the bears will be beginning to hyper feed in preparation for winter so hopefully we’ll get a lot of bear sightings. The beavers are getting busier too and we tend to see them more on the evening floats. They are stashing food caches for the winter and doing repairs to their homes, called lodges. They cover their lodges late each autumn with fresh mud, which freezes when frosts arrive. The mud becomes almost as hard as stone, thereby preventing wolves and wolverines from getting in to the lodge.
Jackson Hole in September
There are fewer people in the valley in September so it’s a much mellower time to visit. When you’re not on the river with us, you’ll be able to enjoy the hiking trails without masses of people and have an easier time getting a reservation at some of the more popular restaurants. Not to mention checking out the fabulous Fall Arts Festival which is happening September 3-14. For a complete list of happenings in Jackson Hole check out the Chamber’s website.
But don’t wait too long. Our last float down the river this year will be on Saturday, September 27 (weather and water levels permitting, of course!).