Sunday, September 30, 2007

Yellowstone - September 30, 2007

Since I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all the trip reports by others, I thought it was time to give back. I will try to get one of these done each day.

Left Bozeman around 1PM (what a nice little airport). Our "spotting" sense got tuned on the way to Gardiner as we saw mule deer and pronghorn before entering the park. Once we passed under the arch, we were all ready to go.
The elk herd was being lazy in Mammoth but it was still cool to see them as we passed through.

The Blacktail Plateau road was open so we took it. We had never been on this drive and it provided some great fall color and scenery:

But, no wildlife was spotted as we heading down the hill. No sooner did we turn a corner to encounter our first bear jam. Mother black bear and cub were being active along the road:


Best of all, they both walked right past our car. The cub looked us square in the eye as he passed. What a thrill :!:

As we passed through the Lamar Valley, more fall color was evident as were bison, pronghorn, and a coyote way up the hill. I will never tire of driving through the Lamar Valley:

As we approached the NE entrance we decided to pull over at the Mt. Barronette turnout. We saw 7 goats high up but without a scope, they weren't much more than white dots. Good thing we had a rented scope waiting for us at our cabin in Silver Gate...let's go get it :!:

We dumped our stuff (literally), grabbed the scope and headed back out. We ventured back into the Lamar Valley and stopped at a mini jam near the Institute. There was a grizzly hanging out in the valley. Out comes the scope and voila...instant close up. Why didn't we rent one of these babies before? They are awesome :lol:

We were running out of light now so we headed back to the NE entrance. On the way we saw a car pulled over which is the YS signal that something cool is within sight.

We met a nice couple from Spokane who had what they thought were 4 wolves scoped just west of Soda Butte. Out came the scope again. My gut told me that these were coyotes since they all were pretty much the same color and had a black tip on their tails. Anyway, they barked and yapped a lot which summoned a 5th one. This was great fun to watch and we ended up leaving thinking that these were wolves (but something in my gut told me we were mistaken).

Saw some mule deer on the way back to the cabin near Pebble Creek and the NE entrance.

So, for those playing at home, our first 1/2 day in the park recorded the following:
7 goats, 5 wolves?, 3 bears, 2 coyotes, 1 successful Y-Net tip, and the usual bison, deer, elk and pronghorn. What a great way to start the trip :!:

Tomorrow is our first full day in the park, could it get any better? The answer is "Yes" because tomorrow is "Moose" day, so stay tuned...