|Hayden Valley, Yellowstone, WY|
The campground is not reservable and although it looked quite busy there were still a number of sites left. We have driven past this campsite a number of times before and thought it looked horrible, but it’s actually really nice. The sites are large (we can park our truck at either end of our trailer) and there is a water tap for every two sites. The rest rooms are close to our site but not too close, have large cubicles, soap and hand dryers and are heated! – which is not the norm. The nearest dump site is 10 miles away, so we use their restrooms during daylight hours.
|Only a few minutes old - bison calf|
|Grizzly in Hayden Valley|
|Grizzly in Hayden Valley|
|Cinnamon (black) bear on the road to Norris|
Seeing the wildlife is often just luck, and perseverance - looking and waiting. On one particular day when we saw hardly anything we heard that different people had seen a black bear sow and a trio of cubs and in another spot a quad grizzly mum – both were on the side of a pond where they were drinking and friends got amazing shots. Sometimes you can be totally oblivious to something really exciting half a mile away.
There is a black bear sow with three cubs that we have been watching and photographing for about a week. You really get to know their personalities, there is one cub that is the dominant one, he suckles on mum as often as he can, and wrestles with his siblings and is always clowning around. If another bear is nearby the sow will tell her cubs to go up a tree and sometimes she will go up too to be a barrier between the cubs and the intruder. Other bears will kill the cubs so that she goes back on heat.
|Mum and cubs near Tower|
Sometimes we stay in one place and talk to the people around us as we wait in hope for the bears to appear. So many people come year after year. some as many as the last thirty years! As we are getting to know people better we are being told of more wildlife sightings, it’s not that we are necessarily missing out on these sightings more than other years, but finding out what we are missing!
|I'm not moving, I'll eat the fine if you give me one!|
We have been here a few weeks now and the maximum nights you can camp in the park during a one year period July to June is 30 nights, so it will be time to move on soon.
Late yesterday afternoon we went hiking with a friend who wanted to look for some big horn sheep he saw a few nights ago. We were up on one of the hiking trails, something we don’t normally do as the thought of carrying our camera gear all that way is too grueling. The first section was pretty much vertical which really tested my heart and Lindsay’s lungs. We found the marmots but they weren’t as relaxed as they had been when he had photographed them the night before. There was a group of four big horn sheep off in the distance but no sign of the 16 male ones he was looking for. We did have a herd of pronghorn who got used to us and we got some great shots around 7pm, so the light is just gorgeous.
It’s time to leave Yellowstone. When we got here there was snow almost everywhere, then when the snow melted, the grass below was brown. It didn’t take long before the sun turned the grass bright green and the yellow, blue and white wildflowers started to appear. We will be back, hopefully earlier than this year as when there is snow the animals have limited places to go and are therefore easier to find. Yellowstone is huge and when summer comes, they retreat into the backcountry, far from the roads.