Tag Archive | elk photo

Yellowstone Road Trip 2017: Lamar Valley

Day 6, Saturday, July 29, 2017

We got up early – 5:30!  We bundled the kids in the car, still in their pajamas and were pulling away from camp at 6.  Our goal?  Wildlife in the Lamar Valley.

We drove up north, through Dunraven Pass and towards the valley.  We caught the sunrise, which was beautiful, even though it wasn’t particularly colorful.

Sunrise at Yellowstone

 

We spotted a small herd of elk on the hill and were able to get some photos – the first decent ones of the trip.

Elk, on our way to the Lamar Valley

 

Then, a truly spectacular sighting – a young black bear!  He was wandering alone next to the road, on his way somewhere.  Each car got a chance to pull up alongside him and watch for a little bit as he walked along – he wasn’t bothered in the least by the attention.  In general, he was moving behind the trees and bushes, so it was impossible to get a clear photo; here’s the best one I got.  But the experience of seeing him was amazing!

 

Black Bear!

We started seeing bison in large numbers – finally the herds we were looking for!  They are so massive and so beautiful!  In late July there are lots of calves too – at this point in the summer they have mostly lost their newborn red coats.

My nephew checking out a bison

As we got closer to the valley there was a sighting of Pronghorn!  Now, Susanna had heard of Pronghorn before the trip, and I had told her how many I had seen on previous trips in the area, and had spent days pointing out the scrubby grasslands that Pronghorn seem to like so much, but we hadn’t actually SEEN any Pronghorn yet.  Susanna was starting to believe that I was telling tales about mythical creatures…  So it was good to finally see some!

Pronghorn in Lamar Valley

 

Finally in the Lamar Valley, we saw the big herds of bison that we had been waiting for.  They are so beautiful!  And the babies are so cute!  We also did some viewing of another wolf pack that lives in the Lamar Valley – probably the Junction Butte pack.  A couple of times they were hunting, and trying to separate a bison from the herd, but without much intention.  They also spent some time chasing a herd of pronghorn, without making a kill.  I don’t know how I would have felt if they were successful – I know, I know, the cycle of life…  It was very cool to watch though!

 

 

We were lucky enough to see one more black bear – he crossed the road right in front of us!  We weren’t expecting to see him though, so nobody was camera ready.  Some of those experiences just have to be captured in your mind!

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Yellowstone Road Trip 2017: Yellowstone Arrival

Day 3, Wednesday, July 26, 2017

I woke up to a breeze at our campground in Arco, Idaho, and knew that it would start raining soon.  And it did – pretty much immediately after I had that first thought about it.  I got up and got going quickly, tearing down my tent and getting it all packed up and ready to go before the rain got too heavy.  I went and showered, since the kids were not as motivated to get moving!  After that, I took them for waffles at the breakfast bar at the campground, while Michael and Susanna packed up their stuff.  YUM!

We finally got everything and everyone in the van and hit the road; we decided to stop at Cabela’s for rain jackets for the kids.  Note: some kids HATE rain jackets – they feel “funny,” so you can imagine how this trip went!  We also got a pop-up rain/shade tent thing for any rainy days along the way.  Then we were all set!  Today was the day we were getting to Yellowstone!

There is a lot of driving on the way to Wyoming, by the way, but soon we made it!  We got into the park through the West Entrance and fairly soon we saw our first wildlife – a couple of elk!  The kids were fascinated.  We also saw a few bison and some pelicans and geese.

Elk Butt!

 

White Pelicans and Canada Geese

 

We didn’t want to do too much sightseeing though, because we needed to get our campsite set up and ready for our five nights there!  We checked in, got firewood, got our campsite number, and headed over to see where we would be!  Our site was in the trees and on a small slope, so we really had to scope out our spots for two tents.  We got tents up, got our shade/rain tent up and got settled in.  My tent was only about 20 feet from my brother’s, but at night, was I far enough away that I would get eaten by bears!?

Our tents at camp

 

We had a fire, and turned in relatively early, and of course it rained… Hard!  But my little tent stayed dry!

Distance for the Day: 2 hours, 53 minutes; 167 miles
Yellowstone Entrance Fee: $30 per vehicle for 7 days, free with a National Parks Pass
Canyon Campground, Yellowstone National Park: $30 per night for a tent site