On Tuesday evening we laced on our hiking boots, grabbed the bear spray and headed out for a hike on Storm Point Trail. With a beautiful and clear-skied evening it was a perfect evening to take a short hike (about 2 miles).
After winding through an open meadow the trail comes through a wooded area and finally out onto a rocky outcrop overlooking Yellowstone Lake. Just when I started thinking about how secluded we were my phone let me know that I had a text message (I miss you, too, Judy!).Marmots were everywhere. They would venture out from their rocky homes and sun themselves on the rocks.
Bears frequent this area, and in fact I have seen quite a few bears by Indian Pond these past few years. Though I would scan the open areas and through the trees there was not a bear to be seen. But it was not the bears that concerned me. When we started the hike I had seen bison in the area where the trail comes back out. If you have read this blog from the beginning you may recall that two years ago (June 18, 2009) my friend and I were charged by a bison in Hayden Valley while with a large group. It was possibly the most terrifying moment of my life. By the time our hike came back out into the opening the bison had moved on across the road. The scariest thing I saw on our hike was this rabbit.
Lately my morning commute has benefited my wildlife viewing. Wednesday morning I saw a coyote (I haven't seen too many of them lately) and a grizzly and her two cubs on Swan Lake Flat. It was a beautiful morning that later become incredibly windy. The wind would whip through Park and eventually the roads were clogged with toppled trees. Canyon Village lost power at 2:00 pm and was still out this morning. The trees with their shallow roots and the sandy soil would creak and moan while some eventually would topple over. I have seen the aftermath of trees falling on vehicles and that is not a Yellowstone experience that I would care to have. So when I found myself rolling very slowly through a stand of trees Wednesday evening my thoughts were mainly about my auto insurance.....and my new primary physician.
I found myself amongst these swaying trees while in a mile long bison jam. Since we moved along slowly I knew that somewhere ahead of me there was a bison slowly walking down the road heading in the same direction I was going. I would move along slowly while listening to wind and the cracking trees. Not a fun feeling. I finally made it up to the bison just in time to watch him move over into a pullout. Two cars later he moved back onto the road.
And this morning I found this bison calf at 5:30 standing in the middle of the road holding up traffic (a total of 2 cars plus me). It was quite possibly the sweetest bison jam I have ever been in.