"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

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Time Of My Life

I have developed the habit of playing music according to where I am in the Park. I guess each area of the Park has its own impact on how a person feels. For instance, when I'm in Hayden Valley I tended to play Pachelbel's Canon. It just seemed to fit the atmosphere. Between Canyon and Norris I seem drawn to The Doors. Now I almost feel compelled to find the perfect music for Lamar and the Blacktail. I've tried everything from Judas Priest to Elton John. I haven't found the perfect singer or song for those areas.......until today. More on that later.

When I left the Mammoth area to head toward Lamar I came across the bison that I've seen here. And since I like the idea of having something to identify certain creatures with I have christened him Big Boy. And he is a big boy.

Once I got to the Blacktail I found myself stuck behind this little coyote as he winded his way down the road. Since no one was around I certainly didn't mind driving at a snails pace behind him as he went left, then right, then left. He did not want me to pass him which was fine since watching wildlife was the whole reason I was out there.
He did some mousing in the ditches and he came up with this little pile of snow on his nose.

He eventually left the roadway but as I was checking my picture on my camera he made his way back to the middle of the road and I followed him some more. This time it was the animal that used a pull off and I continued on my way.

When I came to Floating Island Lake I found 3 coyotes in the middle of the road. Above is a picture of one of them. One had a radio collar, which is the first one I've seen with one. One, when he saw me, ran for the hills while the other two wandered the edge of the road. The one with the radio collar made a successful kill of probably a mouse (he did a triple pounce to get it).

After watching a herd of elk near Tower Junction I came across this beauty between the junction and the Yellowstone River. He (and this I know positively since he lifted his leg on every stationary object) is only the second fox I've seen this year.

By this time I'm feeling pretty giddy. I just couldn't believe the incredibly luck I was having seeing interesting things. As I was snapping pictures I realized that the lyrics to the song that was playing on the radio were: "I hope you had the time of your life." And that I was.

After climbing on this rock he got down and did some mousing. I captured a couple fox pouncing shots. Finally something other than a pouncing coyote.

On my way back to Mammoth I had to slow down and go around Big Boy as he lumbered up the hill east of the Gardner River. As I drove around him he stopped and looked at me with that one huge eye on my side. He is indeed a massive and beautiful animal and I think the name Big Boy fits him perfectly.