Monday, July 11, 2016

Day 12 - Our Search for the Animals of Yellowstone

It was a very long day of driving as one segment of road was closed for ice in the morning!  It started out as a rather gray day but our luck held and we didn't miss any of the sights because of drizzly  rain which seemed to stop each time we stopped!!

 This is particularly important as it was our first sighting of one of the larger mammals at Yellowstone.  It was overcast and rainy and suddenly our driver Vicki asked if they had stuffed buffalo along the road at Yellowstone.  It didn't take us long to convince her to turn round as we highly doubted that there were stuffed buffalo!!  She couldn't believe that we had missed her sighting as this bison was right next to the road!!  He was a beautiful specimen.  We were surprised as we had both seen large herds on our last trip.  This day we only saw one or two at a time except at one spot.

We got up early and drove first to Mammoth Springs, then over to the Roosevelt arch then Tower Falls.  It was closed beyond that in the morning (but did open up later).  Thus we had to drive back around and approach that side of the park (upper northeast) from a different direction.  By the time we had driven over there, the road had opened all the way up so we drove the same path more than a couple of times!!

We did see a total of about ten bears that day but as the weather wasn't good for picture taking and the bears weren't close by, we don't have a lot of pictures!

I did see these adorable bear cubs playing for quite some time back in the woods.  This was about the best I could do for pictures.  Black bears are very hard to photograph -- not enough contrast!!

They ran up and down the tree and then tumbled around at the bottom.  We didn't see mama.

This encounter with a  bison was actually a little scary!  We saw a lot of cars stopped which usually means there is a bear so we were wildly looking both sides for the bear.  Suddenly I noticed this bison heading straight for us.  Vicki had her foot on the gas as we were first in the line of cars going north just in case he took a dislike to our blue car.  He ended up walking about a foot away from the car and encounter averted.

 Another lone bison on the Roosevelt to Tower Falls segment.

 On the Madison to Mammoth Springs segment of the drive, there were many different sights.  This is Sheepeater Cliff which certainly had a different look,  There were many scenic outlooks on the way to Mammoth Springs despite the decidedly uncooperative weather.  We were very glad we had done most of our walking through the thermal features the previous day.  

The previous shot were taken through the car window as it was drizzling pretty consistently and there are not many places to pull over. Our next stop was Mammoth Springs where we were sure we would spot elk.  It took a trip to the old campground where Warren and I had stayed 10 years ago before we saw our first elk.

And there were a couple of female elk there but none wandering around Mammoth Springs like there had been last time Vicki and I were there years ago.  It may because it was more built up or just the time of day.

No grouping would be complete without  Pronghorn Antelope which we saw up around the Roosevelt area.  The next few pictures were taken in the Mammoth Springs area although some may be at Roaring Mountain as well.  

 This was at Angel Terrace -- I have already made three quilts in the past from pictures I took the last time.  Amazingly, the sky is about the same color this day as it was the day I was there ten  years ago!!  It makes taking pictures of white areas so much easier.  This and Artist Point are two of my favorite views at Yellowstone!!

 This is overlooking Mammoth Springs.

 This picture and the former one are also pictures of Angel Terrace.  The first one is almost identical to the view I took ten years ago.

Maybe Roaring Mountain?

 There are beautiful different views facing east on the Tower Falls to Canyon Village segment of the trip.

Still another interesting geological formation.  Looks like it will fall down! 

This and the next picture are views of Tower Falls. 

Of course had to take pictures of some new flowers we saw and try to identify them.  Looks like Trappers Tea. 
 I think this is Beardtongue.
Spiny Phlox. 

Our last day at Yellowstone will be visiting the Norris Geyser Basin and then driving over to Canyon Village and seeing Artist's Point and Yellowstone River and Lake.  It amazes me how different the many parts of Yellowstone are.

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