"There is nothing so American as our national parks. The scenery and wildlife are native. The fundamental idea behind the parks is native. It is, in brief, that the country belongs to the people, that it is in process of making for the enrichment of the lives of all of us. The parks stand as the outward symbol of this great human principle." Franklin D. Roosevelt

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Blue Skies

Yesterday was a beautiful day. The sky was bright blue and not a cloud in sight. During my afternoon break I took a drive to Hayden Valley (saw nothing) and up Dunraven Pass. It was great to open the sunroof and drive in the sun.

Last night I took the north loop with my intended destination being Lamar Valley. By Roaring Mountain, north of Norris, I watched a grizzly bear meander through the grass and trees and then came upon a ram grazing on the side of the road by Roosevelt. Upon arriving in Lamar I saw a huge herd of bison crossing over a mountain through a pass. They were all running at top speed down the side of the mountain, across the grass and then eventually over the road between cars that were parked to watch. There had to be a couple hundred bison and it was quite a show. I pulled over and took out my video camera and watched in absolute amazement. I imagined how the west was before the buffalo slaughter of the 1800's. It must of been spectacular seeing the huge herds on the plains.

I had originally planned to meet up with Jackie and John in Lamar Valley to watch a wolf den where there were pups. I never made it as I turned around after spending quite a bit of time watching the bison. On Dunraven Pass I managed to watch another grizzly root around on the side of Mount Washburn. Upon returning to Canyon I hurriedly grabbed my flashlight and headed off to listen to the fireside ranger talk. It was very interesting. It was a combination of Yellowstone history and the sights, sounds and smells (rotten eggs!) of Yellowstone. Since the talks are different each night of the week I decided I'll try and make the one again tonight.

This morning, with my day off, I drove to Roosevelt via Norris and Mammoth. I watched a bull elk with a huge velvety rack dozing just off the side of the road. Also I watched a couple of black bears wander through the trees. North of Norris I had to stop for a bison jam when 6 bull bison decided to cross the road. I think they are the same bison that have been causing traffic havoc in that part of the park. They don't seem to wander to far from the road and I believe that they enjoy standing in the road being the center of attention. That's ok to me, I take my time during bison jams to get my squirt bottle and roll of paper towels out and clean the interior of the car. A few of my co-workers say that I should start walking down the road cleaning windshields for tips. We're an amusing bunch.


Grizzly Bears: 30
Black Bears: 15
Moose: 2
Coyotes: 4
Wolves: 12