by Cathy Shill
The month of May transforms Jackson Hole. Nature is bright, clear, and vibrant. The green valley shines as snow recedes up the mountains. Temperatures greatly affect this rate of change. Rivers become muddy as snowmelt occurs. Animal movement appears to meld with changes in the weather. New flower blossoms are seen daily and birds continue to arrive to nesting territories and others feed chicks. You can’t miss the pulse of nature as species dance with light and the newness of spring.
It is an awesome time to be outdoors to witness all the changes. Hikes share brilliant spring flowers: shooting stars, woodland stars, biscuitroot, larkspur and Indian paintbrush. You begin to see Mother Nature’s creativity as you walk through bright green meadows with the brilliance of color. Most spring flowers are short so as you walk along, you see flashes of color amidst the green plants. In a spring meadow, you see the brilliant magenta of shooting stars, then the yellow of the biscuitroot, the white of the woodland star and the red of paintbrush. It’s like a Monet painting.
Related: Being Present
You can also enjoy spring plants as nourishment since Mother Nature provides for all that live on her planet. You can sauté spring nettle for iron. Enjoy the lemony sorrel as you hike or the pungent spring onion. The plants burst with flavor as they burst with life. Fresh mint emerges. Morels are found near waterways and a wonderful spring treat. All plants have a purpose as we have a purpose and many are a wonderful source of nourishment.
May is birthing season. There is a beautiful female moose, a cow moose, near the Snake River Bridge and Highway 22. She just gave birth to her calf. She is spending her time in a hollow near the river but also near the highway. Many people have stopped to look. Baby bison can be seen near the town of Kelly. Female grizzlies are near Oxbow Bend in Grand Teton Park. For sow 610, it was time to chase her cubs away and she will be ready to mate in June. Famous mother, sow 399, has emerged with two new cubs! She is 21 and a famous grizzly in Grand Teton Park and a wonderful mother. She is often seen near Pilgrim Creek. Let us learn from these wild animals as they flow with life, staying present, and aware. We must be prudent with our vehicles and extra cautious as we drive. The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem teems with life.
Come to nature to be rejuvenated. Spend time immersed in Her beauty and replenish your urn of awareness, consciousness, and our ultimate connection to all species everywhere. It’s a vibrant time in Jackson Hole!
What’s in the woods-
5/3- Grand Teton Park- bluebird day, numerous elk migrating north
5/4- Leaves on Aspens develop at lower elevation/ river turns a dark brow
5/4- Munger Mountain- 2 feet of snow still on trail, lots of down trees. Fox and elk on fall creek rd.
5/5- Hummingbirds return- calliope in Wilson
5/6- Dog Creek- creek high, active beaver habitat, violets
5/7- Wilson, WY- numerous hummingbird moths feeding on daffodils
5/12- Wilson- calliope and rufous hummingbirds
5/13- Flat Creek/Snow King- Sandhill cranes, Canadian geese
5/14- Josie’s Ridge- bluebells, shooting star, fairy bell lily, Oregon grape, clematis, pasque flower, arrowleaf balsamroot, phlox,
5/14- Maple way- raven feeding chicks
5/22- Frost in AM. Cold nights and sunny days
5/23- Baby Robin getting fed by adults
5/23- Cow elk near snake river bridge
5/24- Cow moose along snake river
5/25- Aspen cotton blowing in the wind
5/25- Rain in valley, snow in mountains
5/27- Willow Creek- biscuitroot, wild onion, sorrel, larkspur, serviceberry, shooting star, woodland star
5/28- Morels in cottonwood trees
It is fun to report that options are endless at lower elevations. In Grand Teton Park, you can hike in the front country so the LSR Preserve, Phelps Lake, Tagger and Bradley Lakes and Jenny Lake. In the forest, Cache Creek and Josie’s Ridge are great options. Biking on bike paths is a good choice for this time of year. Whatever you choose, notice how clear nature is: the blue sky, the snow-capped peaks, the brilliant green leaves. It’s a stellar time and the light will change so enjoy and get outside.
Cathy Shill and The Hole Hiking Experience are Jackson’s original nature company to connect to the landscape through lively interpretation. Throughout the year, we share nature and inspire you with our knowledge about flowers, wildlife, ecology, natural history and much more. Nature comes alive as you utilize your senses to connect and discover.
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