We woke up yesterday at 4:30 and were on the bombs (snowcoaches) by 5:15 a.m. The trip was relatively smooth, even with the lack of the snow, and by the time we reached Madison the sun was up. At Norris we got off the bombs and boarded buses, and just like that we were at Mammoth and our winter season was over.
We drove into Gardiner for lunch, and a whole herd of Pronghorn were grazing along the Gardiner River.
On the way back from lunch, they were joined by a herd of elk.
We headed out to the Lamar Valley and settled in to our cabin at the Buffalo Ranch. It's still my all-time favorite place to wake up and fall asleep. This is the view of the valley, with the Buffalo Ranch in the lower left corner.
I made Steve some tea and convinced him to go out for a drive before dinner. It wasn't long before I screeched "pull over!"--how could you not stop for this guy?!
He was hard at work doing...well, he was doing SOMETHING to this sagebrush, but we're not sure what. It looked like he was attempting to pull it up by the roots, and he was pretty determined.
After a while he grew bored and strode away--just about the time his friend arrived on the scene.
I'm glad I was able to get just a *few* more coyote pics before we left.
This morning we woke up at 6:30 and hit the road. As we approached the Yellowstone Picnic area I spotted a few bison and then...STOP THE CAR! THERE IS A BLACK WOLF RIGHT THERE!
Steve looked at me to make sure I was awake and then backed up the car. But I wasn't dreaming.
He trotted a little further from the road and then laid down not far from the bison.
The bison watched him for a minute and then lost their patience--the biggest bull charged him and told him to get lost. He pretended to think about it for a minute
and then took off.
He paused for a moment to give us one more glance and then disappeared into the sagebrush, and over a ridge. This was closest wolf encounter we've ever had in the park, and there wasn't anyone else around.
To top it all off, as we came around the bend at Elk Creek we spotted this moose partially hidden in the shrubbery.
It was hard to leave the park, even knowing we'll be back next month. But the lure of Target and deep dish pizza calls, so we're off...