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Trip Report ~ by John William Uhler

28 September 2010

Falls Colors at Indian Creek by John William Uhler © Copyright All Rights Reserved

~ September 2010 ~

Fall Colors at Indian Creek by John William Uhler Copyright © All Rights Reserved

Tuesday - 28 September

My daughter, Tamra, our two pups Gracie and Scooby, and myself left Rexburg and headed to Yellowstone for a day trip into Parkadise (Yellowstone National Park). It was a clear warm fall day and we had a nice drive to the park. We saw some swans on the Henry's Fork of the Snake River on the west side of Island Park. We were celebrating my birthday with a trip back home. There was not much traffic on the road, so we made good time to West Yellowstone.

The traffic in the park was pretty light. We saw some ducks on the Madison River on the way to Madison Junction. The distance from the west entrance to Madison Junction is 14 miles. There is a bridge crossing the Madison River half way between the west entrance and Madison, so it is called 7 mile bridge. We saw one trumpeter swan on the Madison right before 7 mile bridge. We saw a few bison on the south side of the road but no elk. They must of been back in the trees. We did not see the bald eagles on the nest or in the trees along the Madison. At Madison Junction we turned left or north and headed towards Indian Creek Campgrounds. I wanted to take some pictures and video of the campground to add to the website.

We parked at the entrance of the campground and walked in to take pictures. There was one other car parked there and they probably were hiking the Bighorn Trail. The trailhead is right at the beginning of the campground. The brush had some great fall colors along Indian Creek. There was one park worker at the campground getting things ready for winter. There were a few gray jays looking for handouts as we hiked along into the campground. I was able to do all my filming and we just enjoyed the nice warm fall day. We hiked back to the car and had lunch before heading to Norris Campground. All the Campgrounds in the park were closed except for Lewis Lake, Madison, and Slough Creek.

Upper Falls of the Yellowstone by John William Uhler Copyright © All Rights Reserved

We next parked at the entrance of Norris Campground and hiked back into the campground. The Museum of the National Park Ranger is just before the campground on the entrance road. The Norris Meadow grass was golden and really looked great with the Gibbon River running through it. There is usually a few bison that hang out in this area, but they were not there at this time. We did see them when we turned left or east to Canyon. There were two bull bison hanging out between the turnout and the picnic area.

We were headed to Canyon Campground and the Upper Falls of the Yellowstone. After filming the campground we headed south on the Grand Loop road to the Upper Falls of the Yellowstone. Tamra waited for me by the car as dogs were not allowed on the trail. I hiked down and took some photos and video from the brink of the Upper Falls. At this time in the afternoon there was a nice rainbow at the base of the falls from the mist and sunlight. There was a small group there enjoying the river, falls and the rainbow.

When I was finished I headed back to the car so we could head south to the Fishing Bridge RV Park and Bridge Bay Campground. There were a few cars in Hayden Valley but not too much traffic. We saw a few bison and there were ducks and geese on the Yellowstone River. Just about a mile north of the Mud Volcano area there were a few cars pulled over and folks were looking at something through spotting scopes. We slowed down and I looked east to see if I could find what they were looking at, I saw what looked like a grizzly bear off on the distant hillside. We pulled into a pullout and got out the spotting scope. There was another couple parked there and they were scanning the hillside with binoculars. I saw what looked like a large grizzly and a cub. As I was setting up the spotting scope I asked the couple if there was just two bears, they said that that was all they had seen. I setup the scope and watched the larger grizzly. It looked like it was just laying on top of something and eating. The cub was walking around and just grubbing along in the meadow. Soon another cub appeared from behind a small hill and tall grass. This was the sow grizzly and two cubs that a lot of folks have been watching the past month or so. We stopped at about 3:00 PM and watched the bears and talked to the couple for about a half hour. We then packed up the scope and headed south to Fishing Bridge. After filming the RV Park, we headed to Bridge Bay.

Yellowstone Wildflowers by John William Uhler Copyright © All Rights Reserved

My first experience camping in Yellowstone was at Bridge Bay. It is a nice campground and a good location to tour other areas of Yellowstone. The first time we camped here, we camped in the lower section. We had a large family tent. We left the tent staked, tied down and zipped up just in case of bad weather. When we got back, our tent had partially or mostly blow down and one tent pole was broken. I went to the camp store by the marina and was able to find a pole that I could jury rig to fit. That was the last time we camped in the lower section. We learned that each and every afternoon the wind blew in pretty strong off the lake through the campground. We did not know that there was an upper section in the trees that were a natural wind break. The next year we camped in the upper section and we had no problems with the wind.

Bridge Bay was also where I and my family went to our first ranger campfire program and where I fell in love with the park. The rangers gave great programs and we could tell that they loved their jobs and what they were doing. It was contagious and I caught it as well as many others. I love the ranger campfire programs.

We made a slow drive along scenic Yellowstone Lake to West Thumb. We drove over Craig Pass and the Continental Divide and past Old Faithful and the Upper Geyser Basin; past Black Sand Basin, Biscuit Basin, Midway Geyser Basin, Fountain Paint Pots and the Lower Geyser basin on the way to Madison Junction. We saw a few elk and bison along the way as we were headed home from a great day in the park. We did see a lot more elk on the drive from Madison to the West Entrance, they were coming out of the trees as it was getting towards evening.

We had a great time in Yellowstone and as always I was sad to leave but it is nice to know it is less than an hour away. Until next time my friends, take care and enjoy being with family and friends wherever you are.

Wolves near Canyon by John William Uhler Copyright © All Rights Reserved

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