"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

Friday, January 28, 2011


As much as I love snow I am beginning to wish that it could somehow snow without having to shovel it off of the sidewalks. But shoveling comes with the snowy territory. On Wednesday morning I was shoveling when I heard a commotion on the road. I turned to watch a large herd of bison being herded down the road through Mammoth by a ranger. They moved as far as the dining room where the herd came to a complete stop and reveled in stopping traffic.

Later in the morning a temporarily left Yellowstone behind for a quick trip back to Minnesota to visit my family. Fargo, North Dakota has quite a bit of snow and I expect major flooding of the Red River this spring.

Courtney, barrel racer extraordinaire, doctors her injured horse. Maggie is her newest acquisition to her herd of competitive barrel racing horses. Courtney qualified for and competed in the Nation Barrel Horse Association World competitions in Georgia this past October. She has qualified once again for 2011. Another of her horses, Tia, won over 75 first place ribbons, plus trophies and and belt buckles, in 2010.

A very happy Kaylee clapping her hands

Dinner with the family: Mom, Dad, Adam, Kaylee, Heather, Courtney and myself. Benjamin was not able to join us as he is at the University of Minnesota (pre-med). Adam is going to school for auto body and Heather (Adam's fiancee) attends school to be a pediatric nurse.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Snowmobiling Through The Interior Part 2

While snowmobiling through Hayden Valley we came across this fox running across the road. While we stopped to watch it I noticed a carcass below us with two more foxes feeding on it. This was my first time to see more than one fox in one location.
.This is a view of a pristine Hayden Valley

Yellowstone River looking north from Fishing Bridge

Yellowstone River Looking South of Fishing Bridge

Snowmobiling Through The Interior

The Adventure Store

After nearly two months missing the interior I finally made a trip into the Park.....and out the East Entrance. Patrick needed to check in on his cabin in Wapiti and the way there is via snowmobile from Mammoth to Pahaska about 2 miles beyond the East Entrance. On Friday afternoon we packed up our backpacks, bungee corded them to the back of his snowmobile and we climbed on. We exit the Yak Camp on the government trail which comes out by Golden Gate. Our first stop was the Canyon Visitor Center, which this year is being used instead of the warming hut.

Canyon Visitor Center

Patrick at Canyon

Our first wildlife spotting involved this small herd of bison lumbering down the road toward us by Indian Creek Campground. We later saw 2 coyotes in Hayden Valley. Using a pair of binoculars it appeared that one of them was chewing on the remains of what could have been another coyote.

80 miles after starting out on Friday we finally made it to Pahaska where government employees park their cars for when they snowmobile out the East Entrance.

On Sunday I realized that the view of the Buffalo Bill Cody Highway is much different in the winer with the snowcovered mountains. It is beautiful!

Bighorn Sheep were right next to the road in numerous locations. I also saw a bison grazing off from the road.

Getting the snowmobile ready at Pahaska for our return trip

Coming in the East Entrance

Snowmobiling over Sylvan Pass is an eerie feeling. While riding on the edge of the mountain I looked up in the Avalanche Zone and saw snow whipping around in the wind. To my left was a complete drop off and the snow on the trail was so high that we actually rode above the tops of the snow sticks in some locations. If snow decided to slide down that mountain when someone was riding on the trail they could be swept a long way down. It was snowing a bit and the wind was creating quite a bit of drifting as it was.

Sylvan Pass

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Robyn and Judy Prepared for Another Taco Tuesday

A full house at the January 18th Taco Tuesday

The bison were resting on the lawn in front of a local hotel when I found them this weekend. With warmer temps melting the snow I can see their evidence on many local lawns.

My weekend included a drive to Lamar Valley. There are numerous tours going on and I find myself amongst photography tours and wolf watchers on this particular weekend. I saw a fox by Roosevelt but numerous photographers beat me to a good vantage spot so I was unable to take any pictures but I did see the red beauty wander around the hillside right before the Yellowstone River bridge. I'm always excited to see foxes. I've only seen a few these past 18 months but most of the one ones I've seen have been in this area.

I recall seeing 4 or 5 huge bull elks on the Blacktail Plateau this time last year but I only have managed to spot one so far this winter. This handsome fella was right next to the parking area on the Blacktail and spent quite a bit of time grazing on the hill. Quite a few people stopped to snap a photo of him and like any good model he posed magnificently while people clicked away.

I saw 5 coyotes on this drive but this little guy captured my attention as he wandered back and forth across the road in front of my vehicle in Lamar Valley in a very Trotteresque fashion. I drove a distance behind him as he was quite unsure which side of the road to exit. He never did get off the road, I passed by him as he decided to use a pull-out so I could pass him by.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Way of the Wild

I returned to Yellowstone with some great memories of New York City. It was quite an experience. But it is nice to back home in the comfort of Yellowstone. I was greeted with a pile of snow holding my door closed and a windshield full of snow that hadn't been blown off from the winds. There was quite a bit more snow than when we had left.

I went to the Food Farm in Gardiner after work on Friday and was met with 2 bison running toward my car by The Two Bit. A herd of bison has been wandering around Gardiner and these two had split from the rest of the herd and were sprinting the streets. Earlier in the day I had watched a rabbit that lives by the store. Since this particular rabbit has been a regular we nicknamed it Mugsey and there wasn't a day that passed where Mugsey wasn't being viewed by us through the front window nibbling on branches or hopping around out back.

On Saturday I decided to take jaunt into Bozeman. I first had to navigate around the bison in Gardiner and then slow down for a big horn sheep on the side of the road, then further on it was the herd of elk that graze in a field. That's when a picture was sent to me over my phone. It was a picture taken by Andrea of the mangy coyote in front of the store.....and laying motionless at its feet was Mugsey! Such goes the way of the wild.

I hit quite a snowy pass on the way to Bozeman and on my return the pass was even worse. Numerous semis were pulled over putting chains on their tires. The snowfall lightened between Livingston and Corwin Springs when it hit again. This time it was near white-out conditions and I made it by the herd of bison that had moved further north and were grazing on the side of the road. Just north of there was the grazing field where hundreds of elk had gathered. In Gardiner I had to brake once again for a buck mule deer with a large rack wandered across the road by the car wash.

I took a trek to Lamar this morning and watched a coyote jog down the road by Phantom Lake. Later I saw another coyote off in the distance eating his prey by the river. A raven flew over and then landed close by hoping to have a little dinner himself. It was -4 on the Blacktail this morning and few frosty bison had taken to the road and walked single file up the road. It was a slow wildlife viewing day but I never take for granted the wonderful sights I see along my way.

It's good to be home in Yellowstone.