"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, September 2, 2009

The Road to Cody

I made my weekly sojourn to Cody today. I had an appointment for an oil change. I left with extra time to spare in case I ran into any jams on way through the Park. Lucky for me I gave myself extra time because it was one jam after another. Bison herds are everywhere. My first hangup was in Hayden Valley, then just south of Devil's Cauldron, another just east of Fishing Bridge, and then yet another by Yellowstone Lake. I made it to my oil change in time but I had to go through each of those jams on way back. Rangers were posted by the herd by Devil's Cauldron because they kept come on the road. The rangers would drive back and forth with their lights, blow their sirens and play the bison sounds while lines of cars waited until it was all clear. On my way back I pulled into the road to Nez Perce Ford and watched and filmed the action for awhile. I decided the situation wasn't improving and I might as well get in line with all the other vehicles and make my way through it. Besides it's a great time to roll down the windows and watch the bulls with their big blue tongues pushed out and listen to them bellow. Sometimes the bulls start pushing each other around and a huge cloud of dust will rise up.

The road from Yellowstone to Cody is one of the most spectacular drives I have ever been on. It has it all: history, geology, wildlife, scenery. I will never get sick of the sights on that road. I highly recommend taking the East Entrance into or out of Yellowstone on your next visit. On my way back to the Park I came across 4 mules on the road. Someone was using them in their logging operation and the 4 had escaped still wearing some of their tack. When the cars came upon them they figured it was safer back at the logging location and they trotted back up the dirt road. I sure didn't expect to see mules on my trip to Cody.

I only had two pictures of The Magnificent One so I went on the prowl tonight looking for him. He was not too hard to find, he was grazing off the side of the road north of Roaring Mountain. And just my luck, there was a pull off right across the road from him. With my 35mm camera perched on my handy new monopod and my digital in hand I came up through the sunroof and waited patiently until I had a profile of him. I could actually hear him snapping the grass away from the ground and chew on it while behind me a thermal creek bubbled away. It was quite a moment. I was eventually joined by a couple other vehicles who sat and watched him. So here it is, the picture of The Magnificent One for you to enjoy until you too can come to Yellowstone and see him.

On my way to Norris this evening I saw yet another coyote. This one was mousing in the field to the west of the junction. It was a perfect opportunity to grab my 35mm. That was when I realized that it's not so easy to grab it and shoot with a monopod attatched to it. One smack to the car window and I decided to just keep on going.