Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Yellowstone - May 13, 2009

We woke up to clear skies today and quickly headed into the park to put the troubles of yesterday behind us. We made it all the way to the Yellowstone bridge before seeing something significant. The black bear was back and was working its way up the slope. It looked intent on crossing the bridge so I assumed it was the same bear we had seen a few days earlier. With the pullout so close to the edge of the bridge I was able to get some nice close ups from the car before the bear headed across the bridge.

Black Bear Closeup

As we headed through the Lamar Valley we spotted a grizzly at scope distance and had a close encounter with a coyote that crossed the road. Further on we spotted a bald eagle sitting in a tree watching the river and another coyote near Soda Butte. Snow was still on the ground in the Lamar which made grazing a bit harder for these pronghorn.


Since the skies were clear today, we wanted to finish what we started yesterday so we headed back towards Mammoth intent and heading down to the Hayden Valley. We made a quick stop at Hellroaring to find pika and we were in luck.


After lunch in Mammoth, we headed down towards Norris. We passed Norris and continued over the pass to Canyon. We tried to find the location of our slight detour from the day before but the snow had retreated a lot and everything looked different. We stopped at Canyon to take in the view from some of the overlooks. It was spectacular.

Canyon of the Yellowstone

Venturing on, the Hayden looked beautiful as it was still mostly covered in snow. At Mud Volcano we stopped to watch a coyote in the snow. We were hoping it would start mousing and we weren't disappointed.

Mousing Coyote

We continue down to fishing bridge and all the way to the Lake Overlook hoping to find grizzly but we only found a lone coyote, tons of elk, and more bison. Incidently, this is our 5th trip to the park in 3 years and we have never seen as many elk. There were everywhere. The bison and pronghorn also seemed to have good populations and that is good news for the park.

On the way back towards Canyon we decided to stop at Le Hardy Rapids hoping to find the elusive Harlequin Ducks that everyone but us seems to see here. The 2 ft of snow on the boardwalk made the footing tricky but we made our way down to the rapids and the slippery trip was well worth it.

Harlequin Ducks

Harlequin in Flight

As the evening wore on, we found ourselves in Mammoth with a desire to stretch our legs a bit. We had spent a ton of hours in the car this trip and hadn't done much hiking. With the Upper Terrace road closed to traffic (for an extended period by the looks of it) we decided to hike it. While there weren't a whole lot of photo ops, I didn't manage to take this one of Canary Springs I believe.

Upper Terrace Vista - Mammoth

As the sun set, we headed back to Gardiner for dinner. Today was another great day in the park and yesterday's troubles were quickly a distant memory.

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