where the wildlife roams
[September 7th] and it is time to pack up and move on. The Lamar Valley in the northeast corner of the park beckons. We are off to look for wildlife while B&G do some serious fishing.
It is an enjoyable drive and it is not long before Galen’s sharp eye spots an owl perched on top of a sapling in the middle of nowhere. Further on there are cars pulled to the side of the road, and where there are park wardens something is going on. We drive by slowly, spotting nothing when just by chance I turn around and there it is the little bear trundling up the rocky gorge.
We have attempted to leave early, as the campsite for the next few nights works on a first come, first serve basis. Our first choice of camp is closed to campers due to fires in the area, which means we have only this one chance. We make it by the skin of our teeth with only one site big enough for 2 tents still available. Britt jumps out to declare it taken!
We register, pack out into our very own bear box this time, and then set out in search of fish. After a peaceful brunch beside the river, B&G choose a spot where they will test the waters for an hour.
We take a drive.
They decide to stick to their spot on the Soda Butte Creek. Bison graze not too far off and Canada geese enjoy the meandering waters. We passed many fishermen along the way, so hopes are high today; it must be a good river.
We leave them to do their thing and drive out again in the opposite direction to see what we can see.
The bear season is over; bears have had their fill and are preparing for the winter, but bison are out in numbers, as are the pronghorns, a couple of bighorns and later another crowd draws us in…
On the way back to meet up with B&G, a traffic jam has us worried that we will keep them waiting yet again. There is a motorbike up front on a bend and he is not moving an inch. A string of cars has bunched up behind him, but the holdup remains a mystery. Finally, we spot some movement. Bison. Bison ambling around right there in the middle of the road and going nowhere fast despite enticing fields in every direction. Eventually, one of the vehicles from the opposite side can stand it no longer and makes a dash for it. He is lucky, and with him, a few cars get by quickly. Suddenly, though, we watch as a little calf runs into the road and behind him the rest of the herd. They stop dead, right there in the middle of the road, again.
Where are the wardens when one needs them most?
Anywhere else coming upon a sight such as the one in the photo below would be a sure sign that a rare bird has been spotted. We waste no time pulling over to join the crowd on the mound. There are 2 people with scopes.
Wolves they say!
They are very far away, and really very small, but still, they are wolves; scopes do not lie. A most unexpected bonus to our day to be sure!
Back at Tower Falls, we set up camp, pull out the beers and light the fire.
And so ends another great day in Yellowstone!
More about the wolves:
“Your wolf may be like this one – a split second gasp, a fragment shared between naked eye and mythic mammal. Or, if you are lucky, perhaps you will have a longer moment, even long enough to note wolf behavior in your journal, to jot notes down in the diary at night about how your wolf did this or that. Perhaps your wolf will be seen with the aid of a long lens set upon a sturdy tripod at the edge of the Lamar Valley, a zoomed-in close-up and intimate look at this amazing creature. Whatever form your wolf takes, you can be sure that your wolf will live with you. He will give you the kind of image that cannot be rubbed out or faded by the years. That vision will last.”
~taken from Changes Seen a Decade After Yellowstone’s Wolf Reintroduction