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