The West Yellowstone Entrance was to open at 10:00 AM and we arrived at 9:40 with cars just beginning to be let in. All 4 gates were open and there were only 5 or 6 cars at each gate. We headed toward Lamar Valley hoping to see wolves and bears but just happy to be in Yellowstone after a 15 minute drive instead of 3 hours. Saw the usual elk and bison, both nothing of note until we saw a black bear just after the turn at Roosevelt. It was too far out for us to get any good photos but had a decent look with binoculars. We were disappointed that the road to Tower is closed. I know they are doing construction on the road to Dunraven, but I thought the road would be open as far as Tower. Lots of Black bears in that area this time of year. Oh well, we at least got to see one.
Headed out thru the valley and saw nothing of note, but just missed a pair of wolves near Pebble Creek. We headed back to Slough Creek to check on the Junction Buttes. Nothing out and since it was early afternoon we decided to hike out Slough Creek Trail. This is a beautiful trail!
May-June 1 039 by William Reinke, on Flickr
The trail was flooded by the creek in one spot but we were able to bushwhack around. Shortly thereafter Karen noticed a bird moving around in the wet brush by the lake. It was a Sora (Rail). We certainly did not expect that!
May-June 1 033 by William Reinke, on Flickr
We hiked about 3 1/2 miles out then headed back. We saw elk and bison but were thrilled at the awesome beauty and just to be out in the greatest place on earth.
May-June 1 049 by William Reinke, on Flickr
Just before we started the downhill mile back towards the parking lot, I heard a marmot's shrill whistle. I looked over trying to see him and I noticed a strange looking, light colored "log". Put binocs on it and it turned out to be a beautiful red fox. He cooperated fully by coming out to look at us, then deciding we were no threat, yawned and laid down, probably waiting for the marmot to make an appearance. Even though we only had Karen's small camera we got some decent shots. What a treat!
May-June 1 047 by William Reinke, on Flickr
After that we went to the wolf den pullout to eat supper and I was able to see a black wolf "dot" thru binocs, but it disappeared quickly. On our way out I did see a griz thru a scope up on the ridge. We decided to head thru Lamar one more time. Just before Round Prairie near Pebble Creek we spotted a cinnamon bear. Then we headed a little further and saw a young lady casually looking out. We stopped and asked if she had seen anything. She said the wolves were back, but not visible at the moment. Karen was looking through the binocs and saw the black come out followed by the gray. They were heading through the sage and towards the trees. The gray disappeared but we were able to follow the black until it went into the trees.
Headed out to the Northeast entrance to look for moose and sure enough by the creek there was a large female grazing away.
May-June 1 051 by William Reinke, on Flickr
Getting late so we headed for home. one the way out we saw the cinnamon bear again, and two blacks. One was digging right by the road. He was so intent on his digging I don't think he noticed us until he looked up. Looks surprised I think.
May-June 1 052 by William Reinke, on Flickr
Great to be back in Wonderland!
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