Smoke from forest fires was really bad in British Columbia and Alberta on my way south so getting to Glacier NP was my destination. Unfortunately there was a bad fire on the west side of the park with the east side covered in smoke. That made for unpleasant conditions and I left after just a few days. From there I went to Mammoth Hot Springs CG in Yellowstone. The cg is all first come first served which works out fine for me. I got a favorite site and settled in for nearly 2 weeks. I haven’t been to the upper terraces for several years so I went there one morning while the sun was at a nice angle and the crowds hadn’t yet descended
I went to Lamar Valley a few times but didn’t get much in the way of images. Managed to get out one night up to Bunson Peak Trailhead for the Milky Way. Good friends from TN joined me at Mammoth for a few days. It’s a spot they’ve never been to and I think they enjoyed relaxing and seeing the sights. Always fun to spend time with Lynne and David.
From Mammoth I moved down to Canyon Village cg, another favorite place. From there I explore Hayden Valley and a few other spots. This year I didn’t spot but one bear but I made good use of my new spotting scope in the evenings watching the bull Elk come down into the valley with the cows. Fascinating to see them in action though I wish they had come a bit closer. The first evening I took a few images but after that I just watched them with the scope.
The bison were around with 2 or 3 herds moving from one side of the valley to the other, at times causing some massive jams. On the other hand they also created some unique opportunities for photos.
I did get up early one morning to see if I could get the mist rising from the Yellowstone River, that worked out well.
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Friday May 26 I was up bright and early to drive from Mammoth Hot Springs campground down to Canyon Village campground. That was the day it opened for the season and I had no idea if there would be a long line of folks waiting or not. I had to take the road on the west side of the park down to Norris then across to Canyon. It snowed a bit and I encountered a group of Bison with some calves making their way along the road. Eventually I got to the campground and was surprised to find I was one of the first to arrive and check in. Good thing they weren’t facing a rush of folks because their computers were not working right. The campground had obviously been plowed out and there were great piles of snow everywhere. When I first pulled in it was like backing the trailer into an icebox. As the days warmed up a bit the snow started to melt. I was assigned a nice site with good exposure for the solar panels which I set up promptly. This year I was pleased to see a few other trailers also had solar panels of one sort or another. It was extremely cold and snowed off and on the first couple of days I was there and I was amazed at the number of tenters. So glad I had the trailer even though the furnace was not working consistently.
There were some Bison in Hayden Valley, along with lots of Elk. I stayed at Canyon for 9 nights and didn’t see any Elk calves until late in my stay. The Bison were often close to the road but the Elk tended to stay on the other side of the Yellowstone River, a long ways away, even with the telephoto lens I have.
One afternoon while hanging around at a pullout I saw a black Wolf. It it was by itself, sort of chasing some Elk. I lost sight of it quickly and moved to another pullout later on. Lo & behold I saw movement and realized it was the Wolf, directly across the river from me. Managed to get a few shots of it, what you see here are greatly cropped.
Late one day as I was headed back to the trailer I came up to what was a growing “bear jam”. There was a pullout with no cars in it so I swung in and grabbed my camera. Just had time to catch it as it ran across the road and across a small open area into the woods.
Bison do swim, not going to win any awards but they can get from one side of the river to the other, with some drifting in the current.
One afternoon I was surprised and dismayed to see some obviously foreign visitors using a drone. Drones are not allowed in the park and it is stated plainly in various info sheets handed out. These people, along with the make and registration of their vehicle,were reported to the Rangers. I really hope they were caught and that the drone was confiscated.
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Bison licking my truck, taken through the windshield.
What would Yellowstone be without bison? And how many folks have a bison get as up close and personal as this? This one was causing a jam, had many cars stopped as it stood in the road. Finally it moved so some cars could pass by moving in front of my truck. As I sat there it moved closer and closer and then started licking the truck….. After a few licks he moved to the passenger side, gave a lick or two then moseyed off onto the grass. Needless to say I was dumbfounded and the folks in the approaching lane were cracking up, getting quite a laugh from it all. I think this was a yearling, guessing by its size.
Bison calves (red dogs) playing
The calves sleep, eat, play and follow along where their mothers go.
The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone is impressive in its own way.
Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, looking west to the waterfall
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