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May 19 YNP

Posted: Sun May 19, 2019 8:29 pm
by Nikon_nerd
Got a late start into the park (as typical). Weather was bad, cold with a mixture of rain and snow all the way into the park from the West entrance. Madison River was pretty empty. A few solitary elk, but nothing else. Proceeded north at Mammoth towards Norris. Nothing along the way all the way to Mammoth. Saw the areas where Obsidian used to be hanging out. No fewer than fifteen pull-outs were closed to cars. (I'm not kidding, I counted them. ) I heard a rumor that they hazed Obsidian to get her to leave the area. (Rumor was that the park law enforcement doesn't want to deal with the hassle.) Saw a solitary mule deer here and there. Rain stopped by the time we got to Mammoth visitor center, but wind was brisk and quite cold. We drove out towards tower. Didn't see much until we got to Rainy Lake. Serious bear jam there.

Rosie and her three one-year olds were out and about pretty close to the road. Must have been at least fifty or sixty cars there and people everywhere. Two volunteer rangers trying to manage the situation. We spent at least two hours there. Even though the cubs are one year old, they are still small and very cute. Rosie and cubs were very active wandering close to the road several times. Crowd was pretty well-behaved. After about two hours of taking pictures Rosie decided to take a nap so we decided to move on. Our car was probably a third to a half mile away from Rosie. On the way back to the car, we saw another black bear sow with a single two year old cub. They were also very accommodating by coming very close to the road as well. A smaller group of observers and photographers observed this bear for about 45 minutes before the volunteer rangers showed up and moved everyone back. We left shortly after the volunteers showed up. We did get some interesting shots of the sow standing and scratching her back on a tree. Even the two-year cub took a turn scratching its back on the tree.

We took a spin out to Little America. Saw the sheep ewes just before the picnic area, about 10 of them. A few distant pronghorns and bison in Little America. Not much else.

When we were driving back to the Lamar Valley/ Tower Junction we saw lots of cars on the side of the road up near the corrals on the way to Tower, so we turned in that direction. It turned out Rosie had woken up from her nap, and was strutting her stuff some more. We fought the crowds again (even worse this time). Got some really good shots because Rosie was closer to the road than before. After about 30 minutes she crossed the road and headed up the hill.

Scattered snow showers on the way back to the west gate and all the way back to the hotel.

Great day with the black bears today, but nothing on the grizzly front. Heard reports of grizzlies near Old Faithful today. Will probably check into that tomorrow.