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Archive for July 25th, 2009

Return from Yellowstone

Hello little blog-o-sphere, I’ve missed you! We’ve returned from a very long vacation: Visits with family in Sandpoint , ID and Missoula, MT with family, then 8 nights of camping in Yellowstone National Park. 3500 miles of driving. 8 nights in a tent – luckily the air mattress didn’t pop, but it gets COLD at nighttime up there…which is fine, until you contemplate going to the bathroom.

I saw some amazing things and took 6.5 GB of pictures. I’ll be a long time processing the pix, and I’ll be sure to show you some of the best, but it’s going to be a slow process. It took me a couple of days to work my way through the mountain of laundry, and recover from sheer exhaustion, because although this vacation was fun, and FULL of awesome visual stimulation, it was in NO WAY restful for me. My hubby caught many fish, Liam was happy 95% of the time:

Mammoth_0447 

and Logan was happy 80% of the time,Mammoth_0506

so it was a great vacation.

Today I thought I’d share some of the pix of wild life I took. I’m lucky to have a decent zoom lens, so these close-up pix were taken from a safe distance away. I can’t believe how many people ignore the rules about staying far away from the animals…2 people have already been gored by bison this summer alone!

We had many chances to catch a glimpse of an elk from afar:

Elk-Sighting-#1-3 Elk03 Elk09

but on our last day, we came around the corner of a walking trail and who did we come upon but a young elk loving some big fat juicy leaves:

Liam Logan and the Elk Mud-Volcano-16 Mud-Volcano-19

This is as close as WE got to any large wildlife, and it made us a bit nervous, but not overly so, because of the fence and the age of the elk.

We did see one grizzly bear on this trip, and this one was well photographed…there were 50 cars backed up in both directions because this guy was digging for grubs on a hill right next to the road. There were 3 rangers there directing traffic, and doing there best to keep the people who had stopped their cars and walked back to see more (what are they THINKING!?!) I had plenty of time to snap 30-30 pix out the window, and move along! People, this is a GRIZZLY bear, not YOGI bear!

Grizzly-30 

Grizzly-41

Most amazing of all is how cavalier some people are bison. You always know when there are some bison or elk around, because you’ll see the “bison-jam” – here’s a small one:

Bison_0013 

One the western park of the park, we mostly saw random single bison (probably 1-2/day)

Bison_0010

However in the Hayden Valley on the Eastern side of the park, we came across a HUGE herd of them, this is just a portion of it:

Hayden-Valley--01

Hayden-Valley--13

We had a couple of experiences of Bison vs. civilization too. This group decided that the path from Old Faithful to Daisy was the perfect place to hang out. Here, there was a ranger keeping people back at a safe-ish distance, and answering questions.

Bison_0021

The most bizarre was to come out of the Old Faithful area “general store” to see this guy at the tree next to the gas pumps:

Bison_0044 Bison_0048 Bison_0051

Remember, I’m using a TELEPHOTO lens…please note the idiot biker in the background, he was later joined by another friend, they stood within 5 feet of this guy. Although ultimately, adults are completely within their rights to be idiots, one park employee told me about 2 different instances of small kids being injured by bison because of their parent 1) making them stand close or 2) putting them ON TOP of the bison! One day we came around a curve in the road and were able to slow down for 2 kids crossing the road to meet their Dad who was beckoning them…as we finished the curve, we saw that there was a bison literally 5 feet away he wanted to take a picture of. Yes, there was a fence, but the fence is only a couple of pieces of wood, and if the bison charged, they all could have run from the bison into the road to be struck by a car. ARGH!

Here endeth my lecture on keeping a distance from wildlife.

And, now, I’ve got some making to do!

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