What a Day! May 15

Share your latest adventure in Yellowstone.

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What a Day! May 15

Post by karenandbill »

We left our home in Island park at sunrise heading to Lamar hoping to see wolves, bears, and whatever else might be out. We started with a coyote in the horse field outside West Yellowstone, hoping this was a sign that it was going to be a great day. On our way north of Norris we saw a few cars and people off the road on the move. I asked and was told it was a pair of courting grizzlies. We started looking beyond the pond when Karen realized that they were much closer--between the road and the pond. The grizzlies were moving quickly, parallel with and very close to the road. Several people with cameras were trying to catch up--not a good idea. We drove beyond and found a pullout where we thought they might show up and sure enough they did. They were a bit further away from the road and still moving quickly, but we stayed in our vehicle and got the best shots we could.

The Male (we think)
ImageDSC_0010 (5) by William Reinke, on Flickr

The Female
ImageDSC_0015 (6) by William Reinke, on Flickr

We decided to leave the mess and hopefully let them have some peace. As we were nearing the Hellroaring area, more cars off and people out and we could see a black blob with two bears wrestling. Another courting pair? We were able to safely pull off and head back to see it was actually a mother and yearling cub playing. They were really going at it and we could even hear some growls. The crowd was well behaved and we just watched from the road. They were having a good time with brief pauses and then going at it again.

ImageDSC_0027 (2) by William Reinke, on Flickr

ImageDSC_0025 (1) by William Reinke, on Flickr

ImageDSC_0028 (3) by William Reinke, on Flickr

Notice the white circle on Mom's chest
ImageDSC_0035 (5) by William Reinke, on Flickr

We watched for about 10 minutes and they were still going at it when we left.

We drove on towards Lamar and were able to see Junction Butte wolves at the south den. We showed several families the wolves through our scope and they were thrilled to get their first look. That's always fun. We saw another griz sleeping, another black bear near Tower, 2 more coyotes, and female bighorns at Yellowstone Picnic. We wanted to hike the Slough Creek Trail, but the road was closed so we decided to hike a trail out of Mammoth instead. Turned out to be a good choice.

Shortly after we began, there was a large bull elk with velvet antlers laying beside the trail. He looked peaceful enough but we detoured around just to be safe. We then passed some bubbling thermals which was neat to see but not smell. As we were gaining elevation, Karen spotted what she thought might be another elk or a deer through the trees. As we rounded a bend I could see the flash of a white tail, but she stopped long enough for us to have a good look at a large doe. She then took off doing what we call the "Bambi Bounce".

As we climbed further, we were approaching a bit of a clearing when Karen, who was in the lead whispered, "Bear!" We stopped and about 80-100 yards ahead was a mother black bear followed by her yearling cub. They had apparently not noticed us as they continued grazing.

ImageDSC_0053 (3) by William Reinke, on Flickr

Whether the mother smelled us or noticed some movement, she definitely became aware of our presence.

ImageDSC_0055 (3) by William Reinke, on Flickr

She did not show alarm but she decided to watch us so she sat down looking directly at us. With that we decided to slowly back away. (Thus no pictures of her sitting) After we took several steps back she completely relaxed and started eating again. So we stopped and continued to watch. But then the cub noticed us and it did the same thing its mom did--sat down to watch us.

ImageDSC_0067 (4) by William Reinke, on Flickr

With that we decided it was time to leave. So we continued to back away until we were out of sight. Needless to say that was our turn around point.

Truly a fantastic way to end the day!
Last edited by karenandbill on Mon May 23, 2022 10:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What a Day! May 15

Post by Nikon_nerd »

Sounds like it was a wonderful day! Great images!

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Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:45 pm

Re: What a Day! May 15

Post by Dorothy »

What a wonderful day! Loved the report and the photos! Thanks!

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