"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, 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.