"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, December 6, 2010

Rocks With Ears

On Saturday I took my first winter trip through Lamar Valley. It has been quite a few months since I've made my way there and I was excited for my first drive through the valley. It had snowed over night and there was about 2 inches of new snow covering it. Occasionally I would see some tracks meandering through the snow.

There were quite a few elk in Lamar but there was a lack of bison. I saw a few lone bison and a few pairs but no large herds.
A snowy Soda Butte and mountains were a spectacular sight.

I looked for bighorn sheep across from the hitching posts since they seemed to be regulars there last winter. I didn't see any sheep but I noticed that one of the rocks at the top had ears. Curled up in a ball was a sleeping coyote, soaking in the warmth of the sun since it was only 6 degrees. It would occasionally raise its head and twitch its ears. It was the only coyote that I saw in Lamar that day.

The 24 hour notice for interior roads to be closed was given at 12:00 pm on Friday. That gave anyone in the interior 24 hours to move their vehicles out. This was scheduled to take place December 15 but there has been so much snow lately that it happened 1 1/2 weeks early. So Patrick made it to Mammoth this weekend via a snowmobile.

Last night we made a stop at the Food Farm in Gardiner and on our way back up the hill to Mammoth we came upon a bobcat running around on the road. It leaped over the guardrail and stopped to watch us. This was my first bobcat sighting in the Park. A little further up the road we came upon a snowshoe hare racing around and even further there was a coyote running on the road. We had to stop at the Yak Camp and as I sat in the vehicle with my headlights on a beautiful little fox came into view. It stopped, sat down and yawned right in front of my car and eventually trotted by my car and down the road. All this wildlife in the matter of 5 minutes.