"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, June 12, 2011

The Shoshone River

Yellowstone Lake
Since I spend the entire week traveling the roads of Yellowstone my weekends are now reserved for Wapiti.  My usual Friday evening is spent traveling there but this week I wasn't able to leave until Saturday morning.  The day looked promising in Mammoth with blue skies and sun.  After coming past Golden Gate and onto Swan Lake Flat I could see that my travels would lead me into different weather.  When I got to Obsidian Cliff the sun disappeared and I continued on under the shade of clouds.  I stopped south of Canyon at Wapiti Lake (last restroom break before going into Hayden Valley).  It started to sprinkle and I could hear the roar of thunder.  As I continued farther south the rain changed to sleet and snow and the road had a good inch of slush on it.  

It finally stopped as I hit Fishing Bridge but I could tell I couldn't dilly dally (as my mom says) if I wanted to stay ahead of the the coming bad weather.  I stopped for only a moment to take a picture of the ice on Yellowstone Lake and I didn't even stop to watch a bear just before Steamboat Point.  The rest of my Saturday morning travels were uneventful except for 2 bighorn sheep jams I came across as I came down Sylvan Pass. 
 Sunday was a day for exploring outside the Park.  Patrick and I took a drive down the south fork of the Shoshone River.  I think I have found the most scenic and beautiful area of Wyoming that I have been in thus far (with the exception of Yellowstone, of course).  With the bountiful supply of water from the melting snow there were plenty of waterfalls to be seen.  The water would cascade and tumble down the mountains and the Shoshone was roaring with power. 
 Far down the road we came across a winter bighorn sheep management area.  I have never seen so many bighorn sheep congregated in one area.  There were approximately thirty sheep lounging or grazing in a field while eight rams stood by the road and then leaped over the fence as we drove by.  I could hear the fence twang as their hooves nicked it as they leaped over. 
I'm including this picture of this foal that we saw just because I thought it was so darn cute.
 It was an incredibly scenic drive and we found plenty of spots to hike in the future or to camp.  Around every turn there was more to see and canyons to explore.  The mountains had a cap of snow on them and with their melting they fueled the waterfalls that we saw.  Our wildlife sightings included elk, bighorn sheep, mule deer and pronghorn.
More wildlife on the Shoshone
And then my weekend ends.  I made the drive back to Mammoth this evening and was met with rain on Sylvan Pass and from Hayden Valley to Norris.  I did manage to see a grizzly by Steamboat Point.  There has been a sow with cubs there but I only saw one bear.  I think I have seen more bears this past week and a half than I saw the entire summer of 2010.

Tomorrow starts a new week, new adventures and new experiences.  I'm loving my job here in Mammoth and I love the people that work here.  I have seen quite a few Canyon and Grant people this past week, many stopping in the store here.  I have also met a few blog readers and those I have missed have left me notes.  Though I may not have anything profound to write at times it does inspire me.  This blog has evolved these past two years and I'm sure it will continue to do so.  I write about the people I see, the things I do and things I feel.  And to be honest, sometimes I read some of the things that I wrote two years ago and think:  "I can't believe I wrote that!" and sometimes I just think:  "Wow, use the spell check!"