Nancy Vandermey, Author
Yellowstone trip Spring 2015
I flew into Bozeman Thursday PM, my husband had driven up from Los Angeles to bring lots of gear, including a telescope we use as a spotting /viewing scope. On Wednesday he saw male elk, the resident lawn elk at Mammoth, one at the top of the hot springs, marmots, voles, and one grizzly bear with traffic jam.
We rented a 30 foot RV from CruiseAmerica. Drove down to Gardiner Friday May 29 AM. Pronghorn greeted us at the entrance.
First bear jam was Rosie and her 3 cubs just west of the bridge near Tower.
Lots of bison and babies. Beautiful scenery.
Did a panoramic shot of the Lamar Valley. Walked around the Pebble Creek campground, not open yet. A herd of mountain goats at Baronette.
Lunch in Silver Gate, then a black bear on the way back in.
Moon rising over the Footbridge turnout. A very distant grizzly mother with 2 tiny cubs, well over a mile away on a hilltop meadow. Baby bison being cute. Another black bear sow, past the Tower junction, at least one black coy.
Saturday May 30, got up early to head into Lamar. Got to Footbridge just after the wolves left. Saw an older carcass in the river. Bighorn sheep on the cliffs.
Coyote den was active, watched one parent hunting, one sleeping, 3 puppies playing.
Small bison herd ran to cross the river and it looked like one wouldn't make it, but he did.
Turned down Slough Creek road, many big lenses pointed down into the bowl to the left. It was bear amphitheater, good views of a black bear sow and 2 yearling cinnamon cubs. Lots of moving around to reposition, great location. Robin in the trees. Mom spooked one cub up a tree.
Car accident near the trees with the bird nests, we never stopped there, we're not birders. Turned up the Dunraven Pass road. Cooperative marmot before Tower Falls, more bighorn sheep, peregrine falcon, violet-green swallows. Scraggly looking bighorn walked through the parking lot and up the hill. Bear jam past the falls, black sow with 1 black 1 cinnamon yearling, couldn't pull over, 1 shot through the window. Had a late lunch at Canyon just before they closed, then back out to Lamar Valley (pine marten ran across the road in the river area) to see if the wolves returned, 1 black female did but very far away.
Sunday May 31, osprey on the drive in from Gardiner. Moving down to Madison today, husband's family joining us. First a trip into Lamar - black bear before Tower again, coyotes out, both bald and golden eagle at Footbridge. Grizzly mom and 2 coys still way up high in a meadow, watched thru the scope as they played on a big rock.
Returning, the female coyote was hunting east of the den, had just caught 3 voles and we watched her catch a few more and a mouse. Yum yum.
Closer to Tower black bear sow with two tiny cinnamon coys, all 3 up a dead tree (plus a bluebird) then they came down.
Saw my only baby elk of the trip coming into Mammoth.
Heading south to Madison, momma grizzly with yearling near Grizzly Lake. Walked to Harlequin Lake from campsite, bison stampede. Thunderstorm just as we were cooking dinner, the RV came in really handy!
Monday June 1, headed south from Madison, stopped with 2 elk across the river and my husband wondered what the white thing was - goat? Coyote, said my sister in law ? Š I got glass on it and it was a wolf. Very white female, turns out itÕs the Canyon pack alpha and she is lactating. She tried chewing on an old carcass then headed south along the river with us on foot on the opposite side of the river. Passed a deer not far away. Great experience, few other cars.
Then it was time for me to head back to Bozeman (with a trip up the Lamar Valley first of course), just a point&shoot camera so no pix of the black male wolf with pronghorn calf (he's in the shade in my landscape picture somewhere), a wolf watcher with a scope let me see him, thanks! There was also a bison carcass across the river near Hitching Post, no one but crows while I was there. Finally I stopped at Petrified Tree and the female fox was walking up the valley, yay! Thanks to Ynet I knew to look for her there. Brief hailstorm at Mammoth and a massive one just after I got to the Bozeman airport. My husband remained in the park another week with his family, I'll hear about what they saw next week. Also I'll get the pictures from another camera that include a bunch of landscapes, male elk, and more.
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