Yellowstone National Park 2019 Trip Reports
Trip Report ~ by John William Uhler
25 through 28 April 2019 - Yellowstone National Park
~ April 2019 ~
Thursday - April 25th
The crew for this trip was my wife, Carlene, and myself. We had everything prepped Wednesday night so I could pack up Thursday and pick Carlene up at work and head to Parkadise.
I picked Carlene up and we were on the road by 3:50 p.m. and we headed north to Yellowstone. The temperature was 67 degrees with clear blue skies. Not a lot of traffic on the road. We did have one construction area by the bridge over Fall River that put us behind due to four large trucks in front of us. Once we made it to the Ashton Hill the trucks were behind us and there was very little traffic to the park.
We arrived at the park at 5:15 p.m. and no traffic at the west entrance. It was 56 degrees as we entered the park. We saw buffalo just before and at the wildlife viewing area before Madison Junction / Madison Campgrounds. There was also buffalo by Terrace Spring and the Gibbon Meadow. There was one area with a lot of folks parked and viewing wildlife. There was a coyote, ravens, and buffalo at Norris Meadow.
We had a nice easy drive through the park with elk and buffalo in the meadows on our way to Norris and the construction zone. We had a short stay of about 12 minutes waiting for the lead car and traffic from the north. The construction zone is about 2.8 miles not the 5 miles as posted, but that probably is likely to change. The construction area is a one lane dirt road (during normal working hours) with some rough spots. We had another coyote out in a meadow after the construction zone. We had ducks and geese and four sandhill cranes in Swan Lake Flat.
There was a nice size elk herd just below the Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces and some buffalo in the grassy area by the Albright Visitor Center. Also elk were by the Mammoth campground. The temperature in Mammoth was 65 degrees. We exited the north entrance at 6:44 p.m.
There were antelope, elk, and buffalo just outside the north entrance in the large open area (called the triangle) between the north entrance and the Roosevelt Arch.
We checked in to the Yellowstone River Hotel and unpacked and got all settled and headed to the Mine for supper. Great day in the park and excited to be here to enjoy Yellowstone and all that we can and make new friends and chat with old friends.
Friday - April 26th
We were up at 6:30 a.m. and getting ready to head into the park. The temperature in Gardiner was 44 degrees this morning, with partly clear skies. We had antelope, buffalo and elk in the Triangle as we headed into the north entrance. There was a small group of campers at Mammoth who braved Yellowstone's ever changing spring weather. There was a herd of 30 elk by the campground and their winter coats look kind of scrungy. There were 10 buffalo in front of the post office at Mammoth (all waiting in line for it to open).
There were about 60 to 70 elk by a small glacial pond just before the high bridge over the Gardner River. We had a nice young deer at Elk Creek. We had a lot of buffalo and elk along the way from Mammoth to Roosevelt. The Petrified Tree road was open this morning and that is nice. We usually see moose and bear back in that area.
Upon arriving in Little America (about a half mile from the Roosevelt / Tower Junction headed east towards the NE entrance) we encounter a good size buffalo herd with three new calves (called red dogs). It was 37 degrees in Little America.
At about 9:00 a.m. we saw fives wolves of the Junction Butte pack from the Slough Creek campground road. We watched them travel away from the den and disappear over the ridge at 9:15 a.m. There were four black wolves and one gray wolf involved in this sighting. The clouds moved in and about 9:30 a.m. mother nature started spitting on us.
We were told that there was a grizzly bear seen at Round Praire and seven moose at the Footbridge pullout. So we headed east to the Footbridge pullout looking for moose. We had no luck finding the moose or grizzly bear. We stopped at a pullout just east of the Soda Butte Cone and the folks there were watching a grizzly bear sow and a 2 year old cub wrestling and playing in the snow. We could hear them growling and bawling from our pullout. They must of been in the perfect area for the sound to carry that far. We watched them until about 11:10 a.m. when they disappeared from view. I hate it when they do that. We went to Cooke City for lunch and headed back to Lamar Valley. We parked at Coyote pullout and listened to some sandhill cranes calling and I took some photos.
The weather turned bad, hailing and raining on us in Lamar. We headed west and stopped at Slough Creek but nothing was happening at this time. So we headed to Little America to see if we could find some red dogs to watch and photograph. No red dogs seen in Little America but plenty of buffalo. We did see a newborn red dog just south of the Tower ranger station. We had a nice slow drive back to Gardiner with the usual buffalo, elk and antelope in and around town.
Saturday - April 27th
We are up and headed out to Little America and Lamar. It was a brisk 37 degrees in Gardiner this morning. Beautiful clear crisp day to be in Parkadise. We had antelope, elk and deer in the Triangle on our way into the park. Elk were scattered all along the hillside on the way up to Mammoth. The Gardner River has not changed too much, well below the spring run off stage. Boiling River soaking area is still open for those brave enough to endure the cold temperatures. There were about 20 elk in view just before the high bridge over the Gardner River.
Just before the last pullout in Little America we met some friends from our Yellowstone Up Close & Personal Facebook group and other friends (Mark and Liz Hadfield and Kevin and Rosie Nyman). They were watching a mating pair of America Kestrels, and flickers and ravens. We chatted for quite a while while watching bird life and looking for bears and wolves. Great folks to spend time with and share the experience.
We then drove a short ways to the Slough Creek campground road and parked. We did not see any bear or wolf activity. We headed on to Lamar Valley to see if we could find the moose that have been hanging about. We stopped at a pullout just east of the Soda Butte Cone where folks had been watching a sow grizzly and her two year old cub. They had just disappeared down a rivine when we arrived. We chatted with the folks there and then headed east to Round Prairie to look for moose and maybe a grizzly bear that have been seen regularly. We did not find either, our timing was off.
We headed back west and much to our happiness, the sow grizzly and cub had crossed the road from south to north and they were in great view for a long time. Folks were great at sharing the road and viewing of the grizzlies. We stopped and took some photos and then went to find our friends to share the bears. They had moved on down the valley so we did not find them. We then headed back and saw the grizzlies just grubbing along the hillside in a grassy area.
We continued on east down the valley planning to have lunch in Silver Gate. A small crowd had gathered at round prairie. We saw our old friend Bill Hamblin and he said the lone grizzly was out in the open below the snow and tree line. We pulled into a pullout and setup our scope and sighted in on the griz. We shared our scope with all who had stopped to ask what we were watching. It was a fun time, folks from all over the states and Europe. After a while we packed up the scope and headed east to Silver Gate for lunch. It had warmed up to 42 degrees at Warm Creek.
After lunch we headed west into the park and Lamar Valley. The sow and cub were still out in view grubbing in the grass. We continued on and stopped at a pullout and looked for bears and wolves. While at the pullout Liz and Mark and Kevin and Rosie stopped to see if we had anything in view. We did not. They were helping a young couple who were making their first visit to the park. The couple really wanted to see a grizzly bear. So they were going to show them the sow and cub that were east of Soda Butte. I know that will be a trill for them. It is great to have friends who were willing to help folks have a fantastic trip to Parkadise. While at this pullout, elk were half way up the mountain with some buffalo joining them and some buffalo down low in the valley. We did not see any more bears or wolves in Lamar Valley or Little America. We stopped at Boulder Pullout and looked for muskrats with no success. The wind was starting to howl! We also scanned for bears and wolves and red dogs.
We did a nice slow drive looking for bears and wolves along the way. We were told of a pullout that had some Blue birds hanging about but again with no success. Most of the time enjoying viewing wildlife has to do with timing and luck. We still had a great day with three grizzlies and being with new and old friends.
Sunday - April 28th
We drove to Livingston to visit with our son and family. We had a great time and just a restful easy day.
Monday - April 29th
We left our family in Livingston after a nice visit and headed south to Parkadise. Nothing too exciting on the way south to our home. We enjoyed the normal wildlife of antelope, buffalo, elk and deer on our slow drive to the west entrance. We left Parkadise and headed home. It was a great trip with lots of wildife and new and old friends. Until next time my friends enjoy the journey with your family and loved ones. Life is short, tell them you love them and about the fun you had in Yellowstone or wherever.
NOTE: The park service has made the Madison Junction a Three Way Stop and the Mammoth Junction to Roosevelt a Three Way Stop. These will make life very interesting when the full tourist season hits.
Buffalo herd with calves (red dogs) in Little America in Yellowstone
Small Deer herd in Little America in Yellowstone
Video of Deer in Little America on Facebook
Raven in Little America in Yellowstone
Video of Raven in Little America on Facebook
Sandhill Cranes Calling in Lamar Valley in Yellowstone
Video of Sandhill crane calls in Lamar Valley on Facebook
Glacial Ponds in Little America in Yellowstone
Video of Glacial Ponds in Little America on Facebook
Yellowstone National Park
Lamar Valley Map - Yellowstone National Park
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