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YNP-GTNP-Island Park area starting June 24!

Posted: Sun Jun 21, 2020 9:06 am
by mdtrot
Okay, I didn't want to post anything until I was sure of the trip, but I'm heading out this morning and it will take me a few days to get there. Last I checked, the weather forecast looked pretty good, so hopefully this will be a good time to head over there. My goal is wildlife photography and just to see areas that I have not seen before. My plan is to explore the Idaho side of YNP and GTNP. The goal is to check out Fish Creek Road, as well as some forest access roads that run east towards the parks. Based on some of Billandkaren's comments, I want to check out the Island Park area as well.

I will also sneak into the parks at some point. I want to check out that Pilgrim Creek Road and Pacific Creek Rd/2 Ocean Lake Rd areas, looking for 399 and whatever else I can see. I think I will also work my way north to Bozeman, and then drop down to the north entrance and head across to Lamar/Slough Creek area.

I would love any tips or suggestions from all of you who have more experience in the area. I would also be open to putting together a plan and possibly meeting up with any of you who might be interested at some location(s).

Re: YNP-GTNP-Island Park area starting June 24!

Posted: Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:15 pm
by mdtrot
Well, the most bizarre hiccup has thrown a wrench into my trip plans. As I was approaching North Platte, NE today, I encountered a bunch of pieces of 18 wheeler tire carcass and could not avoid passing over some of it. I thought I would clear the piece, that that was not the case, as there was a very loud banging under the car. The car continued to run fine, so I continued to my North Platte exit. As I did so, a guy who was driving behind me also exited and honked his horn at me to tell me that gasoline was pouring out from under my car. I thanked him and then my engine died and I coasted into the hotel parking lot!

I had hoped to post some pics of wildlife, but for now I only have this picture of the gaping hole in my gas tank. Having had the car towed to the Buick dealer tonight, I have no idea how long it will take to get it fixed. Hopefully, the repair will be quick and I can still make it to YNP!

ImageGas tank damage by MDTshots, on Flickr

Re: YNP-GTNP-Island Park area starting June 24!

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2020 6:18 pm
by Nikon_nerd
Wow, punctured gas tank! That really sucks. Hope the dealer can get a new one or one from a salvage yard to you quickly. Stay safe!!

Re: YNP-GTNP-Island Park area starting June 24!

Posted: Wed Jun 24, 2020 10:19 pm
by mdtrot
Nikon_nerd wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 6:18 pm
Wow, punctured gas tank! That really sucks. Hope the dealer can get a new one or one from a salvage yard to you quickly. Stay safe!!
Thanks! So, the Buick dealership was able to get a new gas tank in one day and got me back on the road by noon today and I made it to Rawlins. are now installing it. Looks like I can be in GTNP area tomorrow afternoon.

Re: YNP-GTNP-Island Park area starting June 24!

Posted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:19 pm
by Dorothy
So sorry about this, but glad you are safe. Good luck getting back on the road and have a great trip!

Re: YNP-GTNP-Island Park area starting June 24!

Posted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:50 pm
by mdtrot
Okay, I will post pictures later, but I did have an interesting experience today. I was approaching Lake Yellowstone on the east entrance highway and a couple miles before the lake, there were a bunch of vehicles pulled over. So, I got my camera and started walking towards whatever people were looking at, but a couple of ladies stopped me and said it was an aggressive grizzly that has a history of charging people, and that it had been relocated here after a history of taking livestock. The bear was only about 40-50 feet from the road. Before I could get any close pictures, the park rangers started shooting the bear with something and started firing some sort of "pop-bang" devices, trying to drive the bruin off. I was able to get a lot of pictures, but not the greatest, since the bear was scrambling up the hill to get away from all the noise. These pics are in chronological order as the rangers harassed the bruin up and over the hill.

ImageDSC_0415_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr
ImageDSC_0416_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr
ImageDSC_0420_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr
ImageDSC_0424_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr
ImageDSC_0427_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr
ImageDSC_0431_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr
ImageDSC_0433_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr
ImageDSC_0439_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr

Re: YNP-GTNP-Island Park area starting June 24!

Posted: Sat Jun 27, 2020 12:54 pm
by karenandbill
Glad you were able to get going again. I've hit tires a couple of times and it's never been good. Hope the rest of the trip goes well.

Re: YNP-GTNP-Island Park area starting June 24!

Posted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 12:04 am
by mdtrot
After getting back on the road with my new fuel tank, I made it to GTNP on the afternoon of June 25. My goal was to try to see 399 and her cubs somewhere along the Pilgrim Creek area. Sadly, the rangers have that road blocked, so I was not able to drive it. I did drive Pacific Creek a couple of times, but saw nothing. The lady at the Entrance Station said that people had been seeing bears from the station on up to Coulter Bay, so I drove up there and back a couple times, but saw no bears.

The day had been mostly cloudy, but on my last run, the afternoon sun had come out brilliantly and everything was bathed in the most brilliant golden light. All of a sudden, to my right, in an open area of grass, there strode a huge bull moose, resplendent in the brilliant sunshine. By the time I could get pulled over and get out with my camera, people advised me that he had gone into the woods. But, much to everyone's delight, he soon reappeared, crossing the road behind me and I was able to get a couple of shots as he crossed the road.

ImageDSC_0376_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr
ImageDSC_0377_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr

Before the sun came out, the residual silvery clouds from the rains earlier in the day created some interesting views of the Tetons in the distance.

ImageDSC_0386_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr
ImageDSC_0387_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr
ImageDSC_0390_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr

While these views were beautiful, after the sun appeared, even more striking scenes came into view. These were taken at those lakes along the highway, where you can look back across the water at the Tetons and other mountains. I thought the reflections on the placid water were just beautiful.

ImageDSC_0397_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr
ImageDSC_0395_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr
ImageDSC_0394_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr
ImageDSC_0392_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr

Re: YNP-GTNP-Island Park area starting June 24!

Posted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:44 pm
by mdtrot
Late on Saturday, as the sun got lower in the sky, the elk seemed to materialize out of nowhere and were all over the area just south of Canyon.

ImageDSC_0452_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr
ImageDSC_0456_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr

At this point, I was needing to get to my hotel in Gardiner, so I headed that way. At those cliffs on the right side between Norris and Mammoth, a family of Mountain Goats was climbing around. It had gotten pretty dark and they were constantly moving, and it was hard for me to get a very fast shutter speed. But it was neat to see how they move so easily on the steep slopes.

ImageDSC_0461_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr
ImageDSC_0463_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr
ImageDSC_0466_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr
ImageDSC_0468_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr

Re: YNP-GTNP-Island Park area starting June 24!

Posted: Mon Jul 06, 2020 11:22 pm
by mdtrot
On Saturday morning, June 27, I left Gardiner and headed into the park. It was a beautiful, sunny day and there were the usual elk grazing in the lush grass at Mammoth, but I didn't take any pictures there. Between Mammoth and Tower, I saw three black bears within a few miles. The first was a pretty small bear off the the right of the highway. I was kind of surprised it was out there by itself without a mamma or sibling, as it was pretty small.

ImageDSC_0483_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr
ImageDSC_0488_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr

A mile or so down the road, a larger and cinnamon colored bear was beside the road in the grass.

ImageDSC_0500_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr
ImageDSC_0505_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr
ImageDSC_0513_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr

Between there and Petrified Tree, a good sized black bear appeared, again on the right side of the road. All in all, I was happy with the results of the few days I was able to spend there.

ImageDSC_0522_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr