GTNP/YNP early October 1-4 trip

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mdtrot
Posts: 102
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:57 pm
Location: East Texas

GTNP/YNP early October 1-4 trip

Post by mdtrot »

So, on Friday, my son and I were able to drive up to West Yellowstone for a late lunch at Old Town Cafe. On the way, we stopped by Mesa Falls, which was just beautiful in the afternoon light. These are the lower fall.
Image2021-10-01_12-17-25 by MDTshots, on Flickr

After lunch, we headed into the park. Surprisingly to me, for a weekend day, there was no line at all at the West Entrance. The first thing I noticed all over Wyoming and Idaho was how absolutely dry everything is. I guess there has not been much rain at all and the ground is just parched. My hope is that the dryness is partially why it seemed like there were very few animals, other than bison, to be seen. There are usually elk along the river flats on the right side there as you drive into the park, but nothing was there. Maybe it was too early in the afternoon.

As we drove all the way up to Mammoth, the lighting and scenery was beautiful, but we didn't spot any animals. At Mammoth Junction, there were elk grazing on all the grassy areas. I really wanted to drive to the east and try to find a bear, and it was getting dark, so we didn't hang around there. As we drove toward Tower, there is a clearing on the right side after a few miles, at which I've seen bears before. Sure enough, there was a bear a couple hundred yards away in the clearing. But it grazed its way into trees, such that it was hard to get any decent picture. It was hard to tell if it was a grizzly or black bear from that distance and poor light, but I think it was a large black bear.
ImageDSC_1641_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr
ImageDSC_1642_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr
ImageDSC_1644_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr
ImageDSC_1647_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr

On Sunday, we made it to Jackson and made a quick trip into GTNP, looking for moose or bear. We drove up the Moose-Wilson Road all the way to Moose, but didn't see any animals. At the Visitor center, a group of deer appeared and one was kind enough to pose for me.
ImageDSC_1657_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr
The lack of large animals notwithstanding, the views of the Tetons from the back of the visitor center were beautiful.
ImageDSC_1650_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr
ImageDSC_1651_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr

Monday morning, we drove up to Mormon Row to get some shots in the morning light. It would have been more beautiful if we had arrived earlier, but it was still striking.
ImageDSC_1667_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr
ImageDSC_1675_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr
Jenny Lake was equally beautiful.
ImageDSC_1689_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr

On Tuesday, after dropping my son off at the airport in Idaho Falls, I again drove back through GTNP and into YNP. It took a long time, but I managed to get to Hayden Valley before dark. Again, no sign of elk or bear. At least I got so see a bunch of bison up close.
ImageDSC_1692_00001 by MDTshots, on Flickr

On my way to my Hotel in Cody in the darkness, I almost ran into three or four deer that ran out right in front of me on the highway about 10 miles on the other side of the park boundary. Good thing I was going the 50 mph speed limit because I was able to slam on the brakes and not hit a one of them. If I'd been going 60 or faster, I would have hit several of them.

I'm thinking since I live so far away and my trips are so infrequent, I won't go back again in the fall. I've been there in late May and that seems like a way better time to see wildlife.



Dorothy
Posts: 182
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:45 pm

Re: GTNP/YNP early October 1-4 trip

Post by Dorothy »

Thanks for the report and the photos -- some really beautiful landscape shots. Too bad about the minimal animals sightings, but sometimes that's the way it is. We had a chance to drive through part of Yellowstone (just in the east entrance, a little into Hayden, then down to Jackson through Grand Teton on a rainy late afternoon/evening, then a few hours in GT the next morning on a drizzly morning) and did see several moose, a big bull elk and ... ta da! -- a PIKA! Yay! But no bears or wolves or much else. Yet last year when we went to Yellowstone/GT in October, we saw several bears, lots of elk, many moose ... guess it's just a matter of luck. But yes, spring is usually a great time for animal sightings. (Oh, loved the bear photos -- I think I know that area -- we call it the "bear hammock" because we see a bear there almost every trip we make if we spend more than a day or so there -- it must be a place with lots of good food in it! It was so nice to see a bear there again!)

Still, enjoyed your photos and report -- that is such a beautiful place. It was SO good to see it with some rain falling a couple of days ago ... Jackson Lake is just pitifully low and we were happy to see some moisture. Thanks again for sharing (especially those wonderful photos!).



mdtrot
Posts: 102
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:57 pm
Location: East Texas

Re: GTNP/YNP early October 1-4 trip

Post by mdtrot »

Yes, I could not believe how low Jackson Lake was. I sure hope the snow and rain are heavy there this winter. I saw a number of other reservoirs in the area on my trip that were also extremely low. I see that they have been getting some snow around there since I left there a week ago.

One other thing. On my way out of Cody, I passed through Powell, WY. I did not stop there, but I did see to the left of the highway a nice looking downtown area. Powell looks to be a nice new home for one of our members!

Image20211006_133107 by MDTshots, on Flickr



RikWriter
Posts: 357
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:36 pm

Re: GTNP/YNP early October 1-4 trip

Post by RikWriter »

mdtrot wrote:
Tue Oct 12, 2021 2:02 pm
Yes, I could not believe how low Jackson Lake was. I sure hope the snow and rain are heavy there this winter. I saw a number of other reservoirs in the area on my trip that were also extremely low. I see that they have been getting some snow around there since I left there a week ago.

One other thing. On my way out of Cody, I passed through Powell, WY. I did not stop there, but I did see to the left of the highway a nice looking downtown area. Powell looks to be a nice new home for one of our members!

Image20211006_133107 by MDTshots, on Flickr
Thanks! We leave in two weeks.



karenandbill
Posts: 131
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2020 10:55 am

Re: GTNP/YNP early October 1-4 trip

Post by karenandbill »

Thanks for the post and the beautiful pictures. It has been very dry this year, but fortunately there have been a few rainy days that gave us a little bit of moisture. We were gone for 2 weeks but returned this past weekend and we got 8 inches of snow here in Island Park on Monday. Have not been in the park but I assume they got similar totals there.

The parks are hit-n-miss in the fall. Some years are better than others. Lamar has been pretty good this fall for grizzlies, black bears, and wolves. Moose and fox have been seen out by the Northeast entrance. The rest of the park not so much, for us anyway. Last year Hayden was a hot spot. Ya just never know. It will help that hopefully Dunraven will be open.

--Bill



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