Migration Time

Barker-Ewing, Rafting, Wildlife

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Last weekend at my home in Bozeman, I was startled to awareness by a distinct clattering that reminded me of summer afternoons on the Snake River. Except much, much louder. Entranced, I listened for a moment, wandered to the backyard, and gazed skyward for the source. Turns out the cacophonous clattering was emanating from a large flock of at least 60 Sandhill Cranes. They wheeled above me in giant circles, calling out in unison while rising higher and higher into the sky. I was mesmerized. Though I’ve often seen Sandhill Cranes along the Snake River, I’ve never seen more than five or six at a time. And here I was, seeing dozens and dozens, right in the middle of town. It was migration time.

Sandhill Cranes have many distinct vocalizations, but the one we most commonly associate with these majestic birds is that trademark squeaky clatter. The Cornell Bird Guide tells us that the tone is derived within the bird’s long trachea, which serves to lower the pitch of the vocalization and creates multi-layered overtones. To hear such an enormous flock calling out together was a truly memorable experience.

…continue reading Migration Time

It’s tick season!

Barker-Ewing, Hiking & Climbing, Jackson Hole, Rafting, Wildlife

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images-1It’s tick season!

This time of year, we welcome visitors from all around the country to beautiful Jackson Hole. And for those of you from the East Coast, the thought of “tick season” might be truly scary.

The good news: our Barker-Ewing scenic raft trips don’t travel through tick habitat, so we’re extremely unlikely to encounter them on the river. But many folks who float with us will also be hiking or biking in the woods around our valley, and should pay special attention to tick prevention. …continue reading It’s tick season!

Grand Teton National Park: The park that almost wasn’t

History, Wildlife

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Grand Teton National ParkIn addition to seeing amazing wildlife and stunning views, one of the things our guests always comment on about our scenic float trips is how much they learn from our guides about the history, geology and botany of the Park. So we thought we’d spend some time in our next few blog posts sharing a little about those things. Today it’s history.

We are incredibly lucky to have Grand Teton National Park. The formation of the park was one of the longest, most bitterly fought of all American conservation battles. It took 50 years and three separate governmental acts (holy cow!) whereas Yellowstone (the nation’s and the world’s first national park) took only two years from idea to reality.

The early years of Grand Teton National Park

As early as 1897, several proposals suggested expanding Yellowstone’s boundaries southward to encompass portions of northern Jackson Hole and protect migrating elk herds as well as including the Teton Range and northern Jackson Hole. Neither the Department of the Interior nor Congress acted on these early proposals. A small version of today’s park was eventually established in 1929, protecting the major peaks of the Teton Range and six glacial lakes at the base of the mountains. But much of the valley of Jackson Hole remained in private ownership so conservationists decided to seek private funds to purchase land in the Jackson Hole valley. …continue reading Grand Teton National Park: The park that almost wasn’t