We headed out this morning to make the long drive to Mammoth Hot Springs. Due to road closures, it’s a longer trip than normal from our location 14 miles outside of West Yellowstone. Other than a few bison we really haven’t seen much wildlife at all. I had my hopes up for one last trip into the park, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Tonight’s post will mainly be the story of two interesting, to me, encounters. We did see quite a few bison along the way, but any pull off areas were crammed with cars. When we entered the Mammoth Hot Springs location I thought sure elk would be everywhere, but not a one was to be seen. So, after visiting the springs we had to reverse and retrace our almost 100 mile path to get here.
Finally, a couple of elk appeared in the village. One female was quenching her thirst at a puddle provided by recent rains. There were about four females doing the same thing.
I’d rather see these girls out in a more natural habitat, but beggars can’t be choosers. I got a kick out of how she closed her eyes and shook off some of the water.
But then, a big male entered the scene, sniffing away. It is rutting season you know.
Next thing, he lets out a big bugle! I was so hoping to hear a bugling elk, and I got my wish.
Hearing the call, the ladies took off.
All four gathered around him.
As his harem answered nature’s call, he let out one last great bugle. Cool beans! I didn’t care if it was in the village, I was thrilled to witness it.
As we headed back, we tried to find a place to have our picnic lunch but were thwarted at several pull offs by crowds. We finally found one without a picnic table, but just had to tailgate it. It was kind of funny to see how many cars pulled in just to see what we were looking at. I was looking at egg salad on crackers while Kurt was having his salami and cheese.
As we neared Tower Falls, a ranger was stationed on the road to keep people from getting too close to a bunch of bighorn sheep. We squeezed into the last spot with the car, but my pictures of them left a lot to be desired.
We left the crowd, and drove just a bit further down the road. Up to the right was a female bighorn with a young one. We had these two almost to ourselves as they munched away on the vegetation. We just stood next to the car in a parking area so as not to disturb them.
Mom was ever vigilant as we enjoyed just watching. She came closer and closer. It was a great few moments.
The young one stayed close at hand, and hopped over a fallen tree. Another magical moment before the crowds descended. Yes, we also saw some magnificent scenery today, but the wildlife encounters is what I will remember most.
Tomorrow we’re off to visit the Grand Tetons Nat’l Park. It will be a long day trip, but I’m sure it will be magnificent.
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy