Thursday, May 20, 2010

Grand Teton & Yellowstone - May 20, 2010

Our last morning in Grand Teton started out COLD. 26 degrees to be precise when we headed out at about 5:45AM. There was a little cloud cover and some morning mist which made for some great pictures with the tetons as the back drop. Here's a panorama shot of Jackson Lake and the tetons:

Here's one at Oxbow Bend at sunrise:

We spotted a couple coyotes at the Cunningham Cabin where the view from outside was spectacular:

The view from inside was nice as well:

We stopped at the Snake River Overlook and the pro photographer taking pictures via a camera hung from a helium baloon couldn't distract us from this view:

At Schwabachers Landing the beavers had built a couple impressive dams and a huge lodge:

We spotted a couple moose at Blacktail Ponds Overlook. But, once again the view was hard to ignore:

We saw another coyote at Antelope Flats along with a Bald Eagle and this moose near Dornan's:

After breakfast, we made a quick loop up to Oxbow Bend where we spotted a bald eagle, and stopped to talk to a photographer standing in the rain. A grizzly had taken down an elk calf on the hill and he was waiting to see what happened. Since the bear wasn't visible and the rain was coming down pretty good, we decided to push on and head back to Yellowstone.

The trip up to Yellowstone was uneventful until we came down past the hoodoos outside of Mammoth. In the meadow down below I spotted a running grizzly and lots of cubs. We pulled off at the next pullout and ended up seeing the grizzly sow and 4 cubs that had been spotted in the area. They were a long way off, but it was still very special to see this rare sighting. Hopefully, all the cubs will make it. If so, that is one good grizzly mom. (Over the course of the next few days, the bears hung out in that area and created a monster mass of onlookers that was just about the biggest we have seen in Yellowstone.) Just before Mammoth, there was a black bear napping in the woods. It attracted quite a crowd as well so we didn't stop.

Next, we stopped at the Hellroaring parking lot to look for pika but a black bear pretty much got all our attention:

We pressed on through the Lamar Valley where bison and calves were everywhere:

We saw two more moose at the confluence. It was a cow moose and a juvenile that we would see in that area again. Just past Icebox canyon we spotted yet another moose. This was a bull moose who was starting to re-grow his antlers:

Before reaching our cabin in Silver Gate, we stopped to scope some Mountain Goats at Mt. Baronette. We only saw two but I am sure there were more. It's tough to see off-white dots on a cliff face covered in patches of white snow. It was late when we arrived at the cabin so we just called it a day. As we were eating dinner, we got a call from the cabin's owner who was next door, stating that their were 2 moose in front of the cabin. It was a great day considering we saw 8 moose and 7 bears let alone the great morning views and the usual wildlife suspects. Ho hum, another perfect day in Yellowstone and Grand Teton.

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