"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

Monday, November 2, 2009

Destination Lamar

I saw this little fella this morning and this picture just goes to show that littering is very bad. I hope he didn't end up with a belly full of plastic.

This is just a few of at least 100 bulls and cows that I saw walking across the valley in single file this morning as I headed to Lamar Valley. I enjoyed this sight the most because of the herd of bison walking across the mountain in the background.

This is the partner to the plastic water bottle carrying coyote. I had to add this caption to the picture because for a time he seemed completely oblivious to the herd of bison coming his way.

Yesterday and today are my days off and I spent most of the day curled up in my recliner. I was feeling a bit under the weather and decided to relax. In the afternoon I got to see Barney, a co-worker from Canyon, when he came back to help Connie (co-worker from Canyon and also a co-worker at Mammoth this winter) move her trailer from Canyon to Mammoth. I hadn't seen Barney is about six weeks and it was great to see him again. His wife Becky is a regional auditor and I've been seeing her a few times a week since coming to Mammoth but now they both will be gone for the rest of the winter.

With what
appeared to be another beautiful day brewing (in the 50's yesterday) I decided to head to Lamar Valley this morning. All the other roads in Yellowstone were scheduled to be closed as 8:00 am so I knew that today was the day that I would start my next 6 months worth of treks to Lamar.

Rounding a corner about a mile west of
Hellroaring I came across two coyotes meandering in the road. Just past them was a herd of bison walking down the road toward me. I took a few pictures of them through my windshield (the pictures came complete with some glare - darn) but when the coyotes came by the side of my car I got some out of my open window. I had noticed that one was carrying something and eventually realized it was a plastic water bottle carelessly discarded by someone. Following the buffalo chips on the road I could tell that the herd had spent some time on the road and had originated by Floating Island Lake where there was another herd. I watched them for awhile before continuing on.

I eventually came to quite a sight before heading into Lamar. It was a herd of about 100 elk walking in single file and crossing the road. Some would get spooked by something and trot back until a bull elk would make them turn around and go back. There were bulls of all ages and sizes, some very large and some just yearlings and there were a few bugling to each other across the road. It was a great sight and one that I hadn't seen of this proportion.

When I finally got in Lamar Valley I found that I was going to experience quite a treat. From the time I entered the valley, drove to the far end, and drove back out I had seen approximately 10 cars! Unbelievable. It was just me, 4 coyotes hopping and jumping by the Lamar River and those 10 vehicles. I'm sure if I would have spoken I would of heard my echo. There were not any bison in Lamar that I could see, and even though I scanned the entire valley I saw no wolves.