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Trip Report May 24-26

Posted: Sat May 26, 2018 8:40 pm
by YNPjeepers
The first 3 days:

Thursday 5-24
The 5 hour drive from Ogden, Utah (beginning at 4:00 am) to West Yellowstone was fine. Breakfast at 3 Bears was delicious and we were into the Park! Nothing on the eagles nest but we were keeping our eyes open for any possibility of seeing something wonderful. Aaaand a Bison Jam occurs.
An hour and a half later we arrive at the Madison junction. A quick little jaunt down towards Old Faithful and then up towards Norris and on to Mammoth. It was a bumpy ride through the construction but the view of South Twin Lake was amazing. It was the most incredible shade of green and so beautiful. After checking into our Gardiner hotel we hit the road again. At Rainy Lake we spent some time with mom and the triplets. So CUTE! They graced us with their presence after coming down from a tree. Of course they wanted some nourishment and then we thought we would lose them to nap time. But that only lasted a short time. Playtime. Mom had to be included in this since the biggest cub wanted her attention. After jumping on her and biting at her for a little while she just put out a paw and gave a little swat. Head over heels the cub tumbled down the hill, got right back on its feet and went back for more. Shortly all three were going at each other. 2 of them were on their back legs wrestling. They gave each other a big hug so tight they lost their balance and went down the hill end over end looking like just one bear that split into two at the bottom. The lady ranger was so nice and patient with everyone although she did insist repeatedly that all feet and butts must be past the white line. It starts raining so we hit the road again and we find ourselves at Barronette with a BUNCH of waterfalls. (Yellowstone has more water in it than I have ever seen before) Took some pictures of the largest one with four mountain goats near the top of it and that was the end of a long day.

Friday 5-25

We saw here on the site that there were young badgers visible from Hitching post. Can't remember who wrote it but thanks for that info! They are surprisingly cute. We saw 2 of them this morning but were determined to see all four. A couple of antelope were sparring with their antlers not far from Slough Creek entrance. We headed down to Fishing Bridge and there is a small spattering of rain but nothing big. Just missed some kind of bear in the area where everyone (except us) was seeing Raspberry last year. Leaving fishing bridge we head south and come upon a big cinnamon boar in a meadow. It ran through the trees and a campground into the next meadow over. Driving back we come across a Black bear crossing the road and a couple of minutes later a tiny cub comes down from a tree and crosses over to mom. It goes straight underneath mom between her front legs, turns around to look at all of us watching and gives the crowd an Awww moment. On to the badgers. We arrive and nothing is happening. We settle in for a wait when I notice that in the last 30 seconds mom has come out. Hurry and set up the tripod and camera just in case and lo and behold, ALL the kids are up for the challenge. They also like to tumble down the hill from time to time. One of them grabbed ahold of moms fur in its mouth and shook it's head back and forth a bit. She didn't quite like that. They don't play as long as the cubs do. Someone there said they had waited 2 1/2 hours to see them, but it's worth it. On the way to the hotel we see a cinnamon boar in a low meadow somewhere near mammoth.

Saturday 5-26

What a great day! Just about every time we would say "that was cool, now we just need to see......" it would happen. The first thing was an elk calf. Just beyond Hitching post we saw an elk in the middle of the river and something small behind it. It was an elk calf that was getting it's first serious swim lesson. Mom wanted them to be on the far side of the river. When we arrived they were both in the middle on a little "island". She tried to get it to jump in and follow her. It took a little bit of time, but the little guy went for it and proceeded to get swept downstream. Mom ran after it and was able to nudge it back onto the island. Whew! That was a close one. Now it is wet, cold and scared...and mom just crossed the rest of the river without it! The second half of her crossing had water flowing over the top of her back. This didn't look good for the little one. It took about 30 minutes of calling to mom for help before she came back across and encouraged it to follow. It made most of the crossing and found a little bit of footing underneath to get a bit of rest. Finally it was almost across and in a much less turbulent area when we left. We knew all would be well. We were told of four different moose between there and Siver Gate so off we went because if we could just see some moose, that would be awesome. We found the first one crossing the river right below the road at Round Prairie. The second was near Pebble Creek. On to Silver gate and we actually found the other two between a couple of buildings. Back towards Roosevelt and there is a red fox among the trees near the ranger station. A raven at the Yellowstone picnic area. We haven't seen a Bald Eagle yet on this trip and that is unusual for us. Passing by the Mammoth campground someone has a camera lens pointed at a tree and YES! A Bald Eagle sitting tall and proud in a tree near the road. Later on there is a black bear and one cub down in the meadow near Calcite. The best part of this experience was when mom came pretty close to the road, stood up, leaned against the tree and started scratching her back on it. But gets better. The cub ran over and climbed a little ways up the side of the tree, about waist high to mom and,.. wait for it.. mom raises her left arm up and puts her claws into the tree above her head and it looks like she is waving to us all. Wow. That was exciting. We see a red fox at the Yellowstone picnic area (same one as before?) and a black bear and a yearling not far from Hellroaring trailhead. Let's see what the next three days have in store.

Re: Trip Report May 24-26

Posted: Sat May 26, 2018 9:40 pm
by Dorothy
What a great report! You saw SO many great sights, and you really have a way of helping me see what you are seeing. It was a fun read! We'll be heading up there in a while and hope we can see even half as much as you did (well, actually, hope was see at least as much, or more, but ... :D :D).

Quick question -- where do you manage to park/pull off around Rainy Lake for the mom/cubs? We were there a few weeks back before the road was open and parked down near the corrals and tried to hike up to Rainy Lake and it was pretty hard on my sister's repaired knees -- is there usually any place closer to pull off the road?

Whatever, thanks for all the detail and we'll hope there are still some of the great experiences waiting for us when we get there!

Re: Trip Report May 24-26

Posted: Sat May 26, 2018 10:37 pm
by lah
Jeepers -- so glad you've seen so much, and glad the badger kits came out for you. One woman I talked to had waited 12 hours on Tuesday and didn't see them and three hours on two other days and didn't see them until they came out for her Friday morning. I was so happy for her.
We must have been watching Rosie at the same time Thursday. That was a pretty good show, Rosie playing with that one cub like that.
I never did see an elk calf, so I'm jealous! I did see the mountain goats, including a mother with baby through someone's scope.
I only saw one eagle on my trip.
Anyway, sounds like you're having a nice trip so far. Can't wait for the next report.

Re: Trip Report May 24-26

Posted: Sun May 27, 2018 6:46 am
by JimO
Thanks so much for the post and the updates. My family and I are arriving in the park June 3rd for a week. Will probably be spending most of the time in Lamar, unless we get info about other good sightings. Looking for wolves, bears and the mystical otters again this year. Most any critter is alright with us. Would love to see the badger kits of the year. Got a lot of good pictures of a den two years ago. Hope to see folks then!

Re: Trip Report May 24-26

Posted: Sun May 27, 2018 9:08 am
by Mike
Great report...make me want to turn around and head back to the park seems like bears are everywhere

Re: Trip Report May 24-26

Posted: Sun May 27, 2018 8:15 pm
by YNPjeepers
Thanks for the kind words. There are several small pullouts along the Rainy Lake section. 2 of them just above the lake and one or two a little ways below it. They tend to fill up fast when a bear has been sighted. Next, folks just start parking on the side of the road, (wheels past the white line please) :lol: on the farthest side from the lake and walk from however far they have to park. However, there is quite a steep ditch through most of the area and it is a steep step down and back up again for the passenger. I have also seen some stop briefly and let someone out of the vehicle with the camera and keep driving until they find a spot, then walk back to meet up with them. Some will reverse that when it's time to leave and go get the vehicle to come and pick them up again. Hope this helps.

I have heard from several people that there are otters at Trout Lake. It's a short but steep hike but well worth the effort when you see them. Good Luck.

I hope you both have an incredible adventure. I'll be waiting to read your posts.

Re: Trip Report May 24-26

Posted: Mon May 28, 2018 5:17 am
by JimO
Thanks for the reply. I have hiked that short but steep trail up to trout Lake several times with no luck. The running joke with my family is that otters and Pikas are mythical little beasts that only exist in my "need to Photograph"List. :
We are arriving in the park on the afternoon of June 3rd. Maybe this is the year!!! Will be spending most of the time in Lamar as per normal.