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Yellowstone Up Close and Personal

05 - 06 October 2009 Trip Report

by John William Uhler

Black bear cubs by John William Uhler © Copyright All Rights Reserved

~ October 2009 ~

Black bear cubs by John William Uhler Copyright © All Rights Reserved
Black bear cubs by John William Uhler Copyright © All Rights Reserved

Monday - 05 October 2009

We left Rexburg at about noon and headed back home to Yellowstone. It had snowed on Sunday and early Monday morning, but the skies were clearing and all participation had stopped when we headed to Parkadise. The crew for this trip consisted of Carlene, Tamra, Rachel and myself. We took two vehicles as Carlene was still working in Mammoth and Rachel, Tamra and I had to return home before Carlene. Just before we entered Island Park, Carlene spotted a cow and calf moose just off the west side of the road. We saw a few buffalo on our drive from West Yellowstone to Madison, but not too much other wildlife. We did see quite a few people fly fishing on the Madison and the Firehole Rivers. It had turned out to be a fairly nice day after a wet cold morning. The skies cleared and it was a nice partly sunny day.

All the park roads were open except the section from Madison to Norris which was closed for construction. We headed south at Madison and past Old Faithful and over Craig Pass to the West Thumb turn off. Just past Bridge Bay we saw the effects of the Arnica Wildfire as it had come down to and then jumped the road and burned down to the Lake. The rain and snow storm basically put this fire out, so though it was not good weather for visitors, it did take care of the fires in and around Yellowstone. We did see Bison and geese in Hayden Valley and there was still some snow on the ground. We drove up to Canyon and Dunraven was still closed due to snow, so we headed west to Norris and then north to Mammoth. We arrived at about 6:00 pm and got situated for the night with our friends that live at Mammoth Hot Springs. We had supper and a nice visit with them. I wanted to take the family to the Mammoth Dining Room, but it was now closed for the season, so we will have to wait until next year. The Dining Room has been serving the best food in the area for the price.

Tuesday - 06 October 2009

Tuesday morning I got up and took Carlene up to work at the Mammoth Clinic and then went back to our friends to see if I could get Tamra and Rachel up and moving. Rachel was going to go down and go to school with some of her friends in Gardiner. Tamra and I were going to go back into the lower areas of the park to do some filming and wildlife watching. We stopped at Indian Creek Campgrounds, but it was snow covered and I just didn't think that would lend itself to showing what the campgrounds looked like. We headed south and stopped at Roaring Mountain and I took some pictures and video to put on the website.

Next we headed to Norris, the campground was again closed and snow covered. We did stop at the pullout just south of the campground and next to the large meadow. There was a lone bull buffalo in the meadow and two ravens were in the pullout looking for handouts. I took some pictures of the old ranger station and the ravens and then we headed south for the intersection to head east to Canyon.

Just a little ways past the intersection we noticed quite a few vehicles pulled over on both sides of the road. We stopped and joined in. They were watching a black wolf that was lying down in the high grass of the meadow. Every now and then he or she would poke its head up and look around for a short while and then disappear. It was a nice sighting, not too close, but that was okay. We enjoyed the view and since there was not a lot going on, we decided to head east to Canyon for lunch.

Black bear cubs by John William Uhler Copyright © All Rights Reserved

We had packed a picnic lunch se we parked and enjoyed it at Canyon Village. We then drove south and did the Canyon drive and came back out at Canyon Village. I wanted to take some photos and video of Upper Falls, so we again headed south the the Upper Falls road. But, when we got there, the road was still closed due to the snowstorm. Bummer! We decided to head back towards Mammoth so I could do some filming up there. We stopped just before Norris at the wolf jam and the wolf was still out in the meadow doing the same head bob thing. Nothing new, so we headed west and north.

We got to Mammoth and headed east so I could take some pictures of Undine Falls and Wraith Falls. I had the opportunity to chat with some visitors at Undine Falls. They wanted to see a wolf, so I told them about the black wolf at Norris. I hope they were able to make it down that way and enjoy it. From Wraith Falls we headed to the Pertrified Tree road to see if we could spot the moose and bear that had been in the area most of the summer. No luck this time.

We headed back to Mammoth. Floating Island Lake was just about dry, grass was poking out of the water all over the place. We are going to really need a wet fall, a unusually wet snowy winter and a wet spring to bring the glacial lakes and ponds back to where we are use to seeing them.

Back at Mammoth one herd of elk are hanging out around the chapel, one nice bull and about a dozen cows. The other herd was hanging out between the Mammoth Hotel and the old Justice Building. Carlene had told us that this herd had been hanging out right in front of the clinic making it very difficult for folks to get in. In fact, the bull had come up to the lobby windows and was tapping them with his antlers. He had them worried for a while but he backed off with no damage. Whew!

We had a really nice time with family and friends and an enjoyable snowy fall visit to Parkadise. I am hoping we can make one more trip before they close the west entrance.

Until the next time my friends, enjoy the great outdoors and all that is around you with family and friends! Keep smiling, laugh much, and enjoy life.

Roaring Mountain by John William Uhler Copyright © All Rights Reserved
Raven by John William Uhler Copyright © All Rights Reserved Norris Ranger Cabin by John William Uhler Copyright © All Rights Reserved
Raven by John William Uhler Copyright © All Rights Reserved

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