"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, November 21, 2010

The Taco Belles

Mammoth General Store after 2 feet of snow

Coyote out my window

Bull Elk on the Blacktail Plateau

Snowy-Faced Bison on the Blacktail Plateau

Mammoth really got hit with the snow during this last storm. We've had about 2 feet of snow. It really started coming down Friday afternoon and when the NPS employees started leaving work early the store was closed at 4:30. With the snow continuing the next 2 days the store stayed closed Saturday and Sunday. Not much was moving around the Park this weekend except for some elk that walked below my window. The younger elk would squeak while wading through snow that was up to the bellies of their mothers. And the fun is not over. Another 1+ feet are expected by Tuesday night. Thank goodness I love the snow. This is Andrea's first winter in the north (she's from Alabama) and she is pretty much tired of having to clean off her car and/or being snowbound. And it's only November, plenty more winter ahead of us.

This afternoon I happened to look out my living room window to see a coyote, which appeared to have a case of mange, wandering around the parking area. I took a picture of him (I took it through the window screen, thus the distorted look of the picture). His tail is hairless and his hind quarters are in about the same nearly hairless condition. He walked with his hind end slumped down and I thought what a long and hard winter this will be on him.

With a break in the snow and the roads being plowed I decided to head out for a little drive this afternoon. I headed toward Blacktail Plateau. I came across a herd of bison slowly making their way down the road. The travel for them is much easier on a plowed road than pushing their way through 2 feet of snow. I followed them for awhile before they moved off to join a small herd pushing their massive heads through the snow for their dinner. I saw quite a few elk on my travel, a few being huge bull elks.

It's been about 7 months since I've really gotten out and taken pictures. It felt good to get my camera back in my hand and snap a few shots. The wintery white made everything seem so fresh and new. The trees were draped with huge piles of snow and I could make out all of the paths that the wildlife were making.

Since it gets dark before we get off work it was decided that a fun winter activity was needed for in the evenings. So Judy, Andrea and myself decided to join a Wii Bowling League for this winter. A local establishment has 3 tv's and had been looking for at least 6 teams. So team Taco Belles is the newest to join.