Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Another Day in Yellowstone

Our goal for our last day in Yellowstone:   drive the northern half of the Park, then head to Billings.

We started early - 6am - and were rewarded with an elk right next to the road as we left Grant Village.   Further down the road, we spotted a mule deer doe with her fawn.
While I appreciate the geological wonders of Yellowstone, I'm more than a tad nervous when I think about being in a 30x45 mile volcanic caldera.   So when I pulled into a parking lot at the Mud Volcano Trail, I planned to stretch my legs - not go on a hike.   The "rotten egg" smell hit us as soon as we opened the car doors.  Tom, the chemist, said:  hydrogen sulfide.  But it was the groan of the Dragon's Mouth Spring that pulled us up the trail to Dragon's Mount Spring.
Native Americans described it as "snorts of an angry bull bison."   We stopped to watch the steam and listen for birds (Yellow-rumped warblers, Chipping Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos).
But it was the manic antics of a Uinta Chipmunk, darting back and forth that captured our attention.   We watched, but we couldn't figure out what the little guy found so irresistible that he was willing to dodge the scalding shower of the Dragon's breath.
Then it was on to Hayden Valley and another traffic jam.

I saw bison, then a "mob" of ravens off to the east.  At first glance, it looked like they were following a herd of mule deer.  Nope.  It was a pack of wolves!  Before we knew it, they were gone.

Later that afternoon, we got much closer looks at two lone coyotes, hunting along the road in Lamar Valley.   More bison.

When we arrived at Mammoth, the northeastern corner of Yellowstone, we were puzzled by the new signs everywhere.  ELK ARE DANGEROUS - NOT NOT APPROACH.

We didn't have to drive very far before we discovered what was behind the signs.

Remember - it is illegal to get within 100 yards of bears - or 25 yards of other wildlife

No comments:

Post a Comment