Our first Trip Report – June 16th – Day 9 (Forum Post)

by GeorgiaPhotog on Fri Jun 29, 2012 6:33 am
Day 9 – June 16, 2012 – Saturday:

We slept better during the night. Our cabin cooled down with the windows left open. We still haven’t run the heater and never would during our 4-night stay at Canyon. We were up early and out in Hayden Valley by 5AM. We stopped at Alum Creek hoping to get some sunrise photos but there was a huge amount of fog hanging low over the valley. As we were standing there we heard a group of wolves howling in the distance. That sent chills down our spines, in addition to the chills just from being so darn cold!A little artistic treatment on this one:

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After the sun was up and starting to break through the fog, we started to head towards Grizzly Overlook but I spotted a coyote and immediately turned around back to Alum Creek since he was headed that way. We got well in front of him and captured some photos as he came right towards us, then he turned and walked out through the sagebrush. We drove around a few times but there was nothing else stirring in the valley.
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ImageOn the way back we saw a nice looking elk beautifully backlit in the morning sun. We saw him several times in the morning right in the same spot.

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We went to the Canyon Dining Room for their breakfast buffet. It was similar to the Obsidian Dining Room buffet but lacked a few items. However it was still a lot of food for the price and we were fueled up for another long day in Yellowstone.
The weather was looking much clearer today so we again headed to Artist Point to catch that rainbow. It arrived on schedule about 9:45AM and was visible until 10AM when the color started to fade. Satisfied with our photos, we went over to Uncle Tom’s Trail and took the stairs down for a closer look at the falls. Going down was easy but in my opinion it’s not a great view for photos. However, there is a nice double rainbow visible. It was crowded at the bottom, shoulder to shoulder people, and we squeezed in a few shots before heading back up. The way back was much more difficult and we stopped a few times to rest. But we recovered quickly, possibly from all our cardio training and keeping ourselves hydrated. We took the rim trail over to the upper falls viewpoint and then decided we needed a nap back in the cabin.

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After a short snooze we drove over to the brink of the lower falls parking lot. What a busy place in the afternoon! We made the walk down with just our wide angle lenses and it was a nice path with many switchbacks winding back and forth (no stairs on this trail). It was awesome to stand at the edge of such a powerful waterfall. Well worth the hike! I don’t think our photos can quite capture the experience. The hike back up was not too bad and we spotted some marmots along the way (they are pretty much everywhere).

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We went back to Lookout Point to watch the osprey nest and spent two hours there. We attracted quite a crowd every now and then as people were wondering what our lenses were pointed at. We met a lot of nice people while standing there and it was interesting to talk to some English birdwatchers. I met many people from England who seemed to be avid birdwatchers. The osprey couple would switch places about every 20-30 minutes and we tried to capture those moments when they came in for a landing or took flight away from the nest. We could see two eggs in the nest whenever they stood up.

Osprey on the nest:
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Coming in for a landing:
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Making the switch (you can see two eggs in the nest)
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Hard to see in this photo, but the osprey comes back with a small fish:
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The other osprey takes off with the small fish:
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The other osprey comes back with a stick?? Doesn’t seem like a fair trade to me!
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It was getting late in the afternoon and we were finally hungry. We made sandwiches back in the cabin and of course had to stop for another pint of huckleberry ice cream. Feeling energized again we drove the middle road to Norris and back, stopping briefly at Virginia Cascades. It was a pretty boring drive. Later we were back in Hayden Valley watching a grizzly try to give her two cubs swimming lessons but they did not seem too interested. She then ran from them and would stop and turn to face the cubs, almost like some attack training. She would then run away fast again, possibly training their instinct to chase. It was all very interesting to watch. Eventually they settled down to a much slower pace of digging around the sagebrush or just lying around.

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Swimming lesson didn’t last long:
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Playing games I guess:
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Back in the water again:
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More games?
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We looked for a good sunset spot and settled on Trout Creek with it’s winding waterways and lush green grass. I was about to give up after the sun officially set due to the cold wind but just then the sky really lit up with some good color.

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