Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Wonder of Wyoming

Last week I was with my wife's family on an absolutely spectacular vacation in Wyoming, with the Rustic Elegance kosher program. Here are some photo highlights:

The town square in Jackson. That's a lot of antlers! Some people react by saying how terrible it is that so many elk were hunted. But in fact not a single elk died for this - they shed their antlers annually.

Schwabacher's Landing in the Grant Teton National Park was perhaps the single most beautiful natural scene that I have ever seen. What made it even more incredible is that this lake was created by beavers, whose lodge can be seen slight to the left of center.

Hiking in Yellowstone, with bear spray.

This marmot was completely unafraid and I was able to stand within three feet of it!


Teepee at the Spring Valley Ranch

Old Faithful prepares to erupt. Note the vast crowd watching!

One of the scaldingly hot thermal springs in Yellowstone. Beautiful, but deadly. Many people have died by jumping or falling into these.

My youngest looking out at the vast beauty of Yellowstone's Grand Canyon.

Another part of the Grand Canyon. This picture does absolutely zero justice to the incredible scale of this scene. If you click on the picture and enlarge it, you can make out the tiny trees in the far bottom of the valley.

Bison blocking traffic in Yellowstone


 Bison in the foreground, Teton mountains in the background


Finding a huge herd of bison, surrounding my car, was incredible!


A herd of elk (females and juveniles, hence no antlers)


 Wyoming stop sign.

A pronghorn antelope in the appropriately named Antelope Flats

A closer view of the pronghorn, second-fastest land animal in the world, and very beautiful.

A bull moose! Not an easily animal to find. Thanks to R. Yitzi Kessock of Rustic Elegance for showing me exactly when and where to find it.

A female bison and her suckling calf.

A bison's head is truly extraordinary.

Large male bison with a mouthful of grass.

I also attended part of a rodeo. This was an experience which raised several questions, which I plan to discuss in a future post. Meanwhile, if you're able to visit Wyoming, I strongly recommend it!


  1. Very nice as I am a WY resident born and raised. We have a beautiful State. Loved the pictures and info fr the people that did this.

  2. AS you know, there was/is a European bison or Wisent, that was indigenous to eastern Poland/western Belorus (Lite in Jewish Geography). The Rama and other Ashkenazic poskim were, no doubt, familiar with it and and understood it to be kosher. The question is whether a bison is a behama or a chaya.

    1. Another interesting question is whether bison are kilayim with domestic cattle. The hybrids are easier to manage than bison and have superior meat than domestic cattle in many respects.

  3. Did you see any of the coal mining areas in Wyoming? Coal dominates the state's economy.

  4. We lived in Jackson for 6 years. Try to visit every year for a much needed refresher.

  5. Please note the name of the Ranch is Spring Creek Ranch not Spring Valley Ranch

  6. We just got back from Jackson Hole last week. I miss it already. It’s beyond words how beautiful Wyoming is. I absolutely love it.

  7. The pronghorn isn't really an antelope but from a different family. Lewis and Clark called it an antelope and the name stuck in English.

    1. Pronghorns are goat-antilopes. the only other member of the genus is the saiga which is found in Mongolia and other regions of the Gobi.

  8. Pronghorns are much faster than any of their living predators. No reason for this until you realize that there used to be cheetahs in North America (in addition to lions, elephants, camels, and the famous saber toothed cats, most of which left fossils that have been found at the famous La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles). I have read suggestions that cheetahs from Africa be reintroduced into the western US as an attempt to restore something close to the original ecosystem.

    When we were on the recent African safari I kept thinking that North America had equally spectacular wildlife -- ten thousand years ago.

  9. I've been over-the-road trucker for 41 years and seen just about everything after seeing Glacier National Park middle of July everything else is second


  11. RS - GREAT PHOTOS. American Bison have to be among the most inspiring awesome animals on planet Earth; yet were hunted to virtual extinction by the white mad men of the USA. How awful. I am no Rabbi, but Bison have the cloven hoof and chew the cud and so I think they are kosher. But for me they are too awesome to eat.


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