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Borrego Springs, CA

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A last hurrah in Yellowstone

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.

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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.

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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.

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                 But then, a big male entered the scene, sniffing away.  It is rutting season you know.

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           Next thing, he lets out a big bugle!  I was so hoping to hear a bugling elk, and I got my wish.

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                                                          Hearing the call, the ladies took off.

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                                                               All four gathered around him.

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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.  Open-mouthed smile

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. 

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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.

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Mom was ever vigilant as we enjoyed just watching.  She came closer and closer.  It was a great few moments.

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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.

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                                                                              THE END!!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy

31 comments:

  1. seeing the wildlife makes it all worth it. . .loved the pics!

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  2. Great pictures of the wildlife. We were in Yellowstone earlier this month and when we stayed at Mammoth Campground the elk came through the campground twice a day on their way to and from the Gardner river. One day they even hung out in the campground. It was exciting. There were also some in the town of Gardiner.

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  3. What tune did that male elk play with his bugle? I'm in the mood for love?" :cP

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  4. To those elk - that village is part of their natural habitat and I'm like you - I'll take them wherever I can find them. I haven't heard an elk bugle in years and years. That really is cool beans.

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  5. How cool to have seen the elk and heard the bugling. Great day you had!

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  6. Success! So very glad you had such a successful day! What a thrill it is to see any and all the wildlife there in Yellowstone.

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  7. How lucky to have seen the big horn sheep. I've been wanting to see them in the wild, but so far no luck. We did have an elk encounter in Estes Park a few years ago. We heard lots of bugling. They were right on the golf course in town.

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  8. You captured some wonderful shots of the wildlife, and got to see some beautiful animals without being crowded by a bunch of tourists. I know everyone loves the animals, but I would like to see them in peace and quiet, and alone. I would have thought September was a good month to avoid the crowds, but I guess not.

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  9. Our cabin in north central PA is right in the midst of the Pennsylvania elk range. We were up there last week. Heard one bugle during night but no sightings. I, too, so enjoy seeing the animals. Was that egg salad and salami domestic or wild?

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  10. Glad you weren't disappointed.... I'm an opportunist as well... and sometimes you get some pretty neat photos when you least expect it. Love seeing that elk with the magnificent rack!

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  11. I'm so glad you got to hear the elk bugle. Many years ago (15-20) we always went to Mammoth for my birthday in early September. The elk came into Mammoth in the droves back then, the bulls chasing each other, bugling, we stayed in a little cabin out behind the hotel and the noise kept us awake. The last few times we've been in Mammoth in fall we've been disappointed--very few elk and hardly any big bulls. Have fun today in the Tetons! Why don't all these people go home and let you enjoy Yellowstone??? :))

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  12. It sure was your lucky day. I would have been holding my breath, in fear of scaring them off!!! Have fun on today's excursion, and I hope you see lots of 'good' stuff!!!

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  13. Yay! So glad you and Kurt had some good sightings. I didn't see any bighorn there but wonder if that is the same bull who shared my campsite at Mammoth Springs CG? He bugled for me too!

    BTW, looks like I will be very close to your next NWR assignment when I'm in Q-site. Maybe we can get together.

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  14. How cool! Please see my trips on my blog! :)

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  15. We have noticed the tendency for people to pull in behind us, even if we just stop to stretch our legs. Human nature I suppose!

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  16. It is too funny when everyone pulls over to watch you eat your lunch. You should have charged them. But seriously, I'm glad you got to see the Elk. We stayed in the campground and they were everywhere but we didn't get to hear them bugling. Isn't that a strange noise from such a big animal. Sounds like a great day. Bison, Elk, bighorn. Maybe you'll see moose in the Tetons by the river.

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  17. I'm wishing that you could imitate the bugling elk, because I cannot remember what it sounds like!

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  18. What beautiful place to be in t this special time of year... thought the photos of the sheep were great!! Never heard an elk bugle....

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  19. Just now catching up with you since my computer suffered from a minor crash, always something. Loved your pics of the Beartooth, unfortunately it was already closed when we left Yellowstone last year. Too bad the weather didn't cooperate a little more for you guys but I guess that Elk bull bugle made up for it! Good luck for the Tetons!

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  20. Glad you got the wildlife fix:) Last time we were at the springs "downtown" area, there were many Elk everywhere. We even got to watch one idiot violate all the posted signs about approaching the Elk and run for his life when the bull charged him. It was very close-near miss for the, Elk new underwear for the idiot:)

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  21. I would pay the price of being in town to hear the bugling. You came out all right on that one.

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  22. The bugling is something to hear, I agree

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  23. Jimmy can do a mean elk bugle imitation -- draws me in every time! :- )

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  24. I am wondering if there is any good time to visit Yellowstone when it isn't snowing, or if it is just always crowded. Still, great to hear that elk bugle. Wondering if you are friends with John and Carol Herr, who are volunteering in the Teton's this summer. They volunteer at Ding Darling in Florida in the winter. Truly lovely couple that we met last year and they might enjoy another NWR volunteer visiting. They have had a ton of company this summer!

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  25. What a great rack on that elk. To hear the bugling is super. Just think of all the folks that never had that experience. RVer's are so lucky to be able to experience these wonderful events in nature. Safe travels.

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  26. We got to hear the elk bugle while walking on a golf course in Canada. It was the first elk we had ever seen and it gave us a bit of a fright.

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  27. I'm surprised that it's so busy at the end of September. I'm with Sue...when IS a good time to visit Yellowstone? Great shots of the wildlife...I was showing my husband. It's definitely a place we'd like to visit..we both visited as kids a century ago.

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  28. The elk we saw were at a much greater distance and no bighorns for us so great job.

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  29. The first time I ever went to Yellowstone I was amazed at how many people would stop and plug up the road just to look at a cow elk. And if a big bull should happen to wander out, it's Katie Bar the Door, nobodies going anywhere for a while. I guess we are spoiled up here at Dogpound North, we get to see a lot of wildlife all the time. Now for a hippopotamus I would pull over though.

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  30. Nice Post.Thanks for Sharing this in your Blog

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