Just a Fun Day in the Park Oct. 31

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Just a Fun Day in the Park Oct. 31

Post by karenandbill »

With the days dwindling to the closing of the west entrance, we decided to head to Lamar one last time. We were hoping to see the Junction Butte wolves and then do some hiking. As we got to Little America, (before Slough Creek) the scopes were out, so we got ours out (not a Swarovsky, unfortunately) and were able to spot some wolves quite a ways out. They had been harassing some bison but now were pretty quiet. They did get up and greet a newcomer with tails held high and wagging, so that was neat to see. As we were leaving Karen remarked, "I'd love to have the money that is represented by the scopes on these two hills." Bill agreed, it was well into six figures.

We headed through the valley not seeing much until we got almost to Barronette and there were two moose on the edge of the trees. One had a huge rack, but he would never quite come out to pose for a photo.

We talked about hiking to Trout Lake and then on to Buck Lake, but thought it might be muddy. So we decided to hike a trail back near the Specimen Ridge area that Bill had seen on an old map. There were several paths that led from the parking area and we picked the one that we thought looked most like a trail. It led near the river a then followed a canyon for a while before moving up a hill with a rocky outcropping to the right. We spotted an immature eagle soaring over the canyon. There was plenty of elk poop on the trail indicating a very large herd had recently passed through. Then we saw this in the snow.

ImageDSCF9530 by William Reinke, on Flickr

This was a very large grizzly. Fortunately, it was heading the way we had come and we missed it. Probably from the night before.

Karen kept insisting we were just following animal trails and Bill had to admit she was probably right. The "trail" disappeared a few times before we found it again. As we neared the crest of the hill, Bill had his head down looking for the trail. Karen was a bit behind and called out, "Bill, look in front of you!" No it wasn't the grizzly but this guy was straight in front of Bill less than 30 feet away. Bill quickly turned and did a hasty retreat so as not to scare or confront him.

ImageDSCF9528 by William Reinke, on Flickr

After the ram moved away, we had this view at the crest of the hill.

ImageDSCF9544 by William Reinke, on Flickr

We debated trying to take a more direct route back to the car. But discretion was the better part of valor, and we retraced our steps. On the way we saw our ram again and he posed nicely for us.

ImageDSCF9534 by William Reinke, on Flickr

This was not the most spectacular day in the park with close views of bears and wolves. But it was a day that we thoroughly enjoyed.

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Re: Just a Fun Day in the Park Oct. 31

Post by Dorothy »

What a fun report. This highlights one of the greatest things about the Park -- just BEING THERE. Sometimes there are lots of animals, sometimes not so many, but always, the Park comes through with a wonderful experience.

Wow for that grizzly track! Looks like it must have been a pretty big guy! Glad you didn't meet him face-to-face, but that track is just awesome! And the ram was really cool, too. And the scenery -- can't be beat! Thanks for sharing.

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