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Grand Teton and Yellowstone May 18, 19

Posted: Sat May 23, 2020 5:05 pm
by karenandbill
The parks finally opened on Monday May 18, so we decided to enter Grand Teton on Monday, drive home, and come back to both parks on Tuesday. We arrived at the Moose Wilson entrance about 11 AM, an hour before they were to open. Surprisingly there were only two other cars ahead of us. Turns out they opened at 11:40 which was nice. Didn't see much as we headed north to Pacific Creek road. After coming out, we headed up towards Colter Bay in the hopes some bears would be out. We were not disappointed as 2 grizzlies were in a field visible from the road near Pilgrim Creek. One appeared to be Blondie and the other may have been a sub-adult cub. No pictures as they were a ways out and disappeared into trees rather quickly.

Headed over to Colter Bay for a picnic lunch and it was absolutely beautiful, warm, and no wind. Even though it was mid-afternoon, you could still see the mountains reflected in the lake.

Image068 by William Reinke, on Flickr

On our way back to hike our favorite trail we once again saw people at the same location as we had seen Blondie earlier. I pulled the binoculars out and was surprised to see a mama and what I thought was three cubs. So we got out and walked across the road and saw that it was 4 cubs! The mamma looked like it could be 399 so I asked those close by and they confirmed it was 399. What a treat!!! I started back to get a distant photo but the bears were beginning to move in the trees. So we just watched them disappear. Wow!

That invigorated us for our hike. It was muddy in a few places but better overall than we expected. Saw lots of elk. Its fun to see how close we can get before disturbing them. One very large bull with sprouting antlers ran across the path in front of us. Only had Karen's 10X zoom, but got a few decent shots. We headed out to where we had seen the wolf 4 years ago and there were three elk grazing but no wolf :cry:

Image074 by William Reinke, on Flickr

On the way back I saw an animal in the brush moving close to the ground. My first thought was badger? No, just my luck it was a skunk :lol: It was still neat to see but it didn't hang around for me to get a picture and I wasn't about to go chasing after it!.

Headed back to where 399 was for one last look. She was gone now but had been seen again with her quads crossing Pilgrim Creek.

Got there fairly early on Tuesday and the word had gotten out. There were about 50 cars waiting for 399 to make her appearance. We waited for a while but wanted to get into Yellowstone. As we were leaving did see a black bear across the road which gave some of the 399 watchers a bit of a diversion. Headed into Yellowstone and was able to pull right through the South Entrance. Did the loop counterclockwise. Not much wildlife out. Saw the Harlequin ducks at Lehardy Rapids.

ImageDSC_0184 by William Reinke, on Flickr

A few elk and a couple small bison herds were about it. There were two babies in one of the herds laying in the grass but not worth stopping for photos.

Drove back to the Tetons. Shortly after crossing into the park saw this guy trotting beside the road. Pulled ahead and off the road and he just trotted on by.

ImageDSC_0190 by William Reinke, on Flickr

Headed to check on 399. Still no sightings. It had thinned to about thirty cars, many who had been there all day waiting. The black bear reappeared on the other side of the road and closer so we got a couple of shots.

ImageDSC_0201 by William Reinke, on Flickr

Headed back to Colter Bay for a bathroom, then for home. Did see a light cinnamon bear along Wilson Road. Oh, and Karen found a snake as we took a stretch at the overlook. It was on the path and she asked if the bear spray would work on the snake. :lol: She finally took a wide berth and went around. I don't know what kind it was but it was a light brown with a greenish stripe down its back, only about 2 feet long.

It's been raining/snowing ever since. Hoping to get back into the Tetons on Sunday.

Re: Grand Teton and Yellowstone May 18, 19

Posted: Sun May 24, 2020 7:24 pm
by Dorothy
Thanks for the report! Nice photos, too. So appreciate you sharing this with us.

Now I'm anticipating even more getting up there next weekend. Glad the Harlequins are at LeHardy, as I always look forward to the chance to get a glimpse of them. And bears! Bears of any kind are always great, and the chance of seeing 399 and those cubs is makes things even more exciting.

Again, thanks for sharing!

Re: Grand Teton and Yellowstone May 18, 19

Posted: Mon May 25, 2020 7:32 am
by yellvet
Just ended our 14-day stint being quarantined at our house in MT. It is so good to be home. Even mowing the tall grass is going to be a nice chore. Saw George and Greta (mated goose couple) several times this past week, out in the field across from our house. The River just started running off so most of the waterfowl is up on higher ground right now. Saw Mikey the local muskrat a few days ago swimming in the backwater pond and many of the migrating birds have just landed. I'll post some pix of my wildlife buddies at my Flickr site, shortly. Glad you got to your house safely, Bill and Karen. And many thanks for posting your report and pix. What a productive road trip! :)

Re: Grand Teton and Yellowstone May 18, 19

Posted: Mon May 25, 2020 10:48 am
by karenandbill
Dorothy wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 7:24 pm
the chance of seeing 399 and those cubs is makes things even more exciting.
Dorothy, did you get to see her and the cubs? I heard they were out on Saturday. We went Sunday and they did not make an appearance, but we saw some others that we will post about when we get a chance.
yellvet wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 7:32 am
Just ended our 14-day stint being quarantined at our house in MT. It is so good to be home.
Yellvet, glad you're back safe and able to get out now. We did the quarantine thing also but did cheat to go on hikes by ourselves. I will look forward to your pics on flickr.

Re: Grand Teton and Yellowstone May 18, 19

Posted: Tue May 26, 2020 11:07 am
by Dorothy
Actually, haven't been there yet -- I meant the coming weekend (end of May) rather than the 23-24th weekend, but glad to know she's stil out and about a bit. We are SO looking forward to getting up there, and trying not to pin our hopes on seeing 399 and cubs too much -- but can't help but hope! I find that we always enjoy our trips if we just look forward to being there, and take what comes in the way of animal sightings, but if we pin our hopes on seeing this or that, then we can leave feeling disappointed. Soooooo ... we are just excited to be able to be back in the parks for a few days (and will hide in our hearts the REAL hope that we'll see 399! :) ) I know we'll enjoy it, whatever we get to see -- when I enter one of the parks, I can feel myself immediately relax and just feel good -- they are my "happy place(s)."

Again, thanks so much for your report and your invite to come see Henry's Lake area sometime, It isn't going to work this trip (we're cutting some things tight because of a bit less time off), but hopefully sometime.

Have a great week!