Very short early August trip

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Dorothy
Posts: 195
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:45 pm

Very short early August trip

Post by Dorothy »

I thought I posted a report of our short drive-through of Yellowstone/Grand Teton the first three days of August, but must have done something wrong. Don't have the wherewithal to rewrite the whole thing, so will just do a short take.

After having surgery in early July, I was headed back to work in early August and had a couple of days in a row with nothing scheduled, so my sister and I decided to just drive up to West Yellowstone on Monday afternoon, drive through the Park on Tuesday and then down to Grand Teton and then home on Wednesday. Not much time, but we've never been there in August and thought it might be less crowded (at least in the upper part of the park) because the two northern entrances were closed (have been so impressed with how the powers that be have got so much of the park back open since the floods) and we could just take a quick look. It would be our first chance to get to Yellowstone this year.

So, off we went. Had no idea what might be being seen where in either park. Got into West Yellowstone about 5 p.m. on Monday evening. After a quick bite headed into the park -- one ranger mentioned that the bison rut was going on in Hayden (or maybe she said was about to start -- we thought she said it was going on). Went to Hayden and only saw a few bison, one decent sized herd. Also a few elk. But that was all wildlife-wise.

Didn't see much by way of wildlife on Tuesday or Wednesday -- or, at least, of the usual wildlife we see in the parks. However, what we DID see was top-notch for us, animals we've long desired to see. And the flowers were AWESOME. fields and fields of all colors and sizes of flowers. So beautiful -- made us happy just to be there. The upper part of the park was less crowded than we would have expected it to be in August. Felt bad missing Lamar, but happy to be able to get up over Dunraven again.

No bears, no moose, only a few elk (but a couple of really big bucks with velvet antlers), a few white-tailed bucks, a few ducks and pelicans, etc. But the kicker was two types of animals we've long sought.

Stopped at Sheepeater hoping to see marmots, but thinking we may not as it was a cloudy, damp morning. No marmot, but PIKA! Yay! We thought at first they were either squirrels or chipmunks, but nope, they were Pika! AND there were several scampering around. SO much fun. We were all alone at the rockfall (a couple of cars, I think, drove up, think one car had some people get out, but nobody came up to see what we were watching and the cars left, so ... oh well. We've have shared if they'd have asked, but I wasn't budging from my spot near the bottom of the rockfall to go tell them). We stood near (but not too near) the bottom of the rockfall and spent at least half an hour, maybe more, watching the cute little things run down the rocks (to quite near us) to harvest grass and then bounce back up the rocks to store it. One little guy acted as lookout for a bit, so we had a chance to get some decent photos (did get some of them moving around with the grass and such, but that was much harder to do as they were moving so fast and blended in so well). That one would periodically vocalize, so we got that, too. We left when the activity seemed to be winding down.

Smiles all around. Figured the trip was a success just to get there, but this sealed the success. DIdn't matter what else we may or may not see, to get pika like that was superb! We were so excited.

Bison, elk, ducks -- no bears, moose, etc.) the rest of the time in Yellowstone -- but did get a chance to see the awesomeness of a storm sweeping in over Yellowstone Lake from Lake Butte Overlook. Lots of rain heading down to Grand Teton but not much wildlife around the inner loop and half of Moose-Wilson road on the way in. Wednesday morning got up really early to try to make Jackson Lake Lodge where we'd heard there had been a griz with cubs around WIllow Flats and visible out the Lodge back window. A very FOGGY morning, couldn't see much in the fields. No griz at Jackson, no black bear at Colter (had also heard there was one hanging around there), nothing much but some fun birds along PIlgrim Creek and just a couple of white tail bucks along Two Ocean Lake road.

BUT ... we went down to Cattleman's Bridge -- pretty early, not many people there -- and there, quite a ways out in the river, were ... a family of OTTERS! Another animal we've longed to see. Got a quick glimpse of them at that point -- still pretty foggy and they disappeared around the corner fairly quickly, but a few decent photos and a chance to see at least 5 of them sporting in the water. Again, smiles all around and knew that if we saw nothing else, things would be one of our favorite trips. Returned there an hour or two later -- you know, they won't be there, but just in case they came back .... A lot of people there at that time and a nice bald eagle in a nearby tree, an osprey catching a fish in front of us, and ... the return of the otters! Saw the roiling water and wakes and, way across near the other show, there they were again! Once again, they went around the corner quickly and stayed way across the way, obviously not liking the big crow, but hey, can't complain. TWO opportunities to see a family of otters. We were thrilled.

DIdn't have a chance to look for other things, as we spent so much time with the otters, but hey, we'll see bears and moose again, but who knows when we'll get a chance to see pika or otters again? And the flowers were wonderful. And just being in the park was soothing and lovely.

Hope everyone has a great August (and hey, I wrote a lot even the second time!) :)



karenandbill
Posts: 167
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2020 10:55 am

Re: Very short early August trip

Post by karenandbill »

Sounds like you had a great trip! Isn't it neat the way the parks always seem to give you "something". August is typically not a great month for wildlife at least for us, but glad you were able to see those two very elusive creatures. It took us years to see them both as well, and they are still a rare and very exciting event for us.

Thanks for sharing and trust the surgery went well with a good outlook for the future.

You may remember a couple of years ago, we lost a long posting as well. Very frustrating :x Thanks for taking the time to repost.

--Bill and Karen



Dorothy
Posts: 195
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:45 pm

Re: Very short early August trip

Post by Dorothy »

Thanks Karen and Bill. As I said, we've never been there in August so had no idea how good the wildlife viewing generally is, and with no Lamar, figured it would be a bit harder to find things, so we were EXTRA thrilled to get a glimpse of some elusive and long-sought-after animals. The park always comes through -- no matter how much wildlife we do or don't see, there's always something special when we are in the parks.

And my surgery went great! Had hip replacement several years ago after breaking a hip and between screws, replacement and infection, had three surgeries and several years of pain and limping. So very hesitant to try the other one when it became clear it would need it. Finally went through with it and it's been a breeze (so-to-speak)! Everything went well, the pain is SO much less than I had before and I'm walking confidently again. It will be awhile before I can ditch the cane, but overall, everythig is SO good. Thanks for your concern.

And hope you get a chance to get back in the parks soon!



yellvet
Posts: 222
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2017 5:54 pm

Re: Very short early August trip

Post by yellvet »

Thanks for posting your report, Dorothy. I enjoyed every word. August was always one of my most favorite months to visit the Park. Over the years I'V grown very fond of the bison and, IMO, there's no better time to see them than when they're in rut. Sounds like you had a very special trip. Wish I could have been there with you. :)



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