When I got off work last night at 6:00 it was already -10. This morning when I started my car at 9:00 my car thermometer registered -15. It was a perfect morning to capture the Lower Terrace with all the steam and frosty trees. Then I stopped at the Map Room at the Mammoth Hotel to take in the Xanterra and Yellowstone Association sale. Though it was early in the day the place was packed and there had developed a line of people that wrapped around 1/2 the room as people waited to pay for their purchases. I didn't buy anything but it was interesting to take a look at all the great buys there were there.
Then I was off to Lamar Valley. As I went passed the Blacktail Lakes I came across a familiar sight.......all too familiar.
There was that little coyote right in the middle of the road not letting me pass once again! I snapped a few pictures of him again. I also decided to identify him by name: Trotter. His name comes from him continuously trotting down the middle of the road.The Blacktail Deer parking area now has a new bathroom (important info for those who travel the Park). I true winter Yellowstone experience involves using one of those restrooms at -15 degrees. On the Blacktail I also came across these 4 bull elk. They were all frosty breath and antlers.
In Lamar Valley I watched a herd of bison wandering on the ice over the Lamar River. I enjoyed a sandwich as I watched them, hoping none of them broke through the ice.
As they eventually moved away from the river one stopped to take the opportunity to use this piece of wood to scratch his neck. By the Soda Butte and the Lamar Rivers I watched a couple of American Dippers, tiny birds that will dive into the water and swim underwater to feed. They would perch themselves on the ice next to open water and suddenly dive into the water and disappear and eventually surface. I had heard of them but this was my first opportunity to see them in action. On my way back to Mammoth I came across Trotter once again right in the middle of the road. I finally made my way around him, pulled into a pull out and watched him wander down the road in front of another car. The other vehicles pulled into the pull out and we all watched him mouse (successfully). When I left him I came across three more coyotes just up the road by Lava Creek. One climbed up an embankment and I took his picture as he stood there with this contemplative pose.