Yellowstone Winter 2018 Trip Report, Days 0-10 (1/21-31)

From the Yellowstone Net Discussion Forum – Read the complete thread here

Post by Max » Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:12 pm

I will be updating this thread with excerpts and links to my Winter 2018 trip reports, which will be posted every few days on my blog.

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January 21, 2018
It’s been a while since I’ve flown out to Yellowstone for a winter trip, and it’s something I’ve never done for a tour-oriented trip. But frankly, flying sounded easier and much less stressful than driving twelve hours each way in wintry conditions. Even if it did mean having to pack way too many bags in order to accommodate winter clothing and tour supplies.

I arrived a few days prior to the start of my first tour, in order to get some scouting in and reacquaint myself with the park in winter. I didn’t make a winter trip last year, so it’s been a little while.

Of course, I arrived in the midst of the government shutdown, which has caused all sorts of stress for visitors, park personnel, local businesses, tour operators like myself and their clients. But at least this time the park remained open, so I was able to drive in for a short, late afternoon sojourn after coming down from Bozeman. It was chilly, but bright and sunny. And I almost immediately took advantage of the conditions by photographing a handsome coyote…

From the Yellowstone Net Discussion Forum – Read the complete thread here Read the rest

Mirror Plateau Backpacking Trip

From the Yellowstone Net Discussion Forum – Read the complete thread here

Post by Scatman » Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:49 pm

This is a report from a seven day backpacking trip in July that took our group up onto the Mirror Plateau before heading off-trail to Opal Creek, Mirror Lake, Upper Pelican Creek, then heading down Raven Creek, up and over Lovely Pass to Mist Creek, and finally down Mist Creek and the Lamar River back to the Soda Butte Trailhead. The wildflowers along our whole route were just spectacular and from a wildlife perspective, this was the best trip I had ever been on. If you include our 21 mile day hike through Hayden Valley and up to Cygnet lakes the day before this trip, we saw a total of 12 grizzly bears in eight days, hundreds of bison, at least 50 elk, deer, coyotes and a lone wolf.

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View up Soda Butte

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Looking across the Lamar Valley towards the Mirror Plateau

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The Lamar River

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View from the Specimen Ridge Trail

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Wildflowers

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More wildflowers – we ran into a sow and her cub shortly after this picture was taken

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View as we approach the top of the Mirror Plateau

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View from the top of the Mirror Plateau

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Bison on the Mirror Plateau

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View down Opal Creek in the late evening

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View from the top of the Mirror Plateau

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Ran into this big guy as we made our way through old burn and new growth

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Absolutely gorgeous meadows on top of the plateau

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Mirror Lake – north side

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Mirror Lake – south side

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More elk and bison along the headwaters of Timothy Creek

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Elk Remains near the headwaters of Upper Pelican Creek

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Grizzly bear on Upper Pelican Creek – seen from our campsite

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Wildflowers near camp

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Bison skull in the meadow along Upper Pelican Creek

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Nice looking clouds

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Fern Lake Patrol Cabin

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Thermal area just off Pelican Creek

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View down the Raven Creek Drainage – it rained hard all day long

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Elephant Heads

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The back side of a grizzly on Raven Creek

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Lovely Pass

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Heading down the south side of Lovely Pass – we ran into a sow and a cub in this new growth as we made our way down to Mist Creek

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View from my tent at our campsite along Mist Creek

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Grizzly – He would circle the meadow along Mist Creek for two days as we watched him.

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Yellowstone Trip June/July

Post by yellvet » Mon Aug 28, 2017 2:46 pm

See the complete forum thread here

Trip Dates: June 15 thru July 14th

We camped at the Mammoth Campground before the Slough Creek CG opened, because I wanted to photograph the elk newborns and spring wildflowers. Had a wonderful time and wasn’t the least bit disappointed. Best photo ops and pix came from the upper tier of the campground. Made a day trip over to Slough Creek CG before it opened, to see the impact of last year’s fire. Gotta say that we were very pleasantly surprised and relieved. The firefighters did a fantastic job maintaining the integrity and primitive nature of the SC campground and the surrounding area. Most of our closest friends are long-time SC campers and backpackers. So, all of us would like to give our sincerest thanks to all the Buffalo Creek fire fighters who helped save the SC campground and trails! You did a superb job!

June 15 through July 14
On June 15th we moved over to the SC campground. Saw and photographed many critters that were in or close to the campground….male grizzly bear, a black bear sow with 2 adorable cubs (1-black, 1-cinnamon), several pronghorns, a few elk and a coyote, badger and red fox that waltzed through our campsite almost daily to hunt. To see the red fox at SC again was a thrill. I’ve been photographing the different generations of the SC fox family for close to 30 years so it was great to see that the fox family had escaped the fire last year and was still OK. The wildflowers, however, were disappointing and fairly sparse this year. And, the few that were in bloom, looked very puny….probably due to the heat and intensity of last year’s fire. Made 2 or 3 trips over to Floating Island Lake to see what ducks and birds were around.

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Planet Yellowstone: Live from the park, part 8

 by Helene on Wed May 30, 2012 10:31 pm

No Internet yesterday, just got in the Motel 6 in Jackson. Scrambling to keep up late in the game too, I’ve been talking (and seeing) too much and writing too little. So here is the old news first, hopefully I can tell you about today, tomorrow.

May 28, am
The morning drive got underway at 6:20 am and it included sightings of 2 black bears (a cinnamon at Elk Creek and a black a hair east and across the road from Floating Island Lake), a coyote (going downhill on Tower Road), a red tailed hawk (perched on a treetop in Little America) and Ria & Al, plus her folks (parked at Roosevelt). The Ria sighting was a revelation in itself, and on top of that she confessed to having illegally brought some pretty rotten North Dakota weather to Yellowstone.

The good old boys club of bighorn rams got together at the Yellowstone picnic area, and a frivolous ewe was getting the attention of some of the lads. Her coat looked a little moth-eaten, but she did a good job of selling her hide to the highest bidder.

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12:05 pm
Lunch and the first hours after that were reserved for the off-chance of seeing the antelope fawns just outside the North Entrance. While their mother acted as if she didn’t have a thing to do with any kids, the 2 little ones were laying low far away from the cow and well separated from each other. If anything, the cow distanced herself even further from the fawns while we were there, and the wee ones hardly moved at all. Occasionally a little head bobbed up, but mostly the fawns were all ears.

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Fortunately, according to informed sources, other Y-net correspondents were present at a nursing episode that took place about 2 hours later.

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Specimen Ridge Sept.– YNet Discussion Forum Post

Finally found the big ones!

by MGoBlue on Sun Nov 18, 2012 6:21 pm

Turned out the third time was the charm — It’s not really that hard, but we’d tried twice before to find the massive vertical petrified trees on Specimen Ridge. These are among the ones featured in Knowlton’s 1921 monograph for the USGS called Fossil Forests of the Yellowstone National Park, which you can access online at http://www.nps.gov/history/history/onli … /index.htm. They’re actually visible from the road below, if you know exactly where to look.This shows the enormous redwood — At the bottom right you can see the upper portion of the two tall pines that stand below it like sentinels:Image
by chestercheetah7, on FlickrCarolyn standing beside the redwood, for scale:Image
by chestercheetah7, on FlickrBetter views of the two sentinel pines:Image
by chestercheetah7, on FlickrImage
by chestercheetah7, on FlickrImage
by chestercheetah7, on Flickr

The redwood from below — It’s hard to tell where its roots leave off and what may be a massive horizontal petrified log begins:

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by chestercheetah7, on Flickr

There are three ways you can get to them — From above (difficult), from below (difficult), and crossing the hillside on an easy trail that’s nearly level. (Well, it’s easy after you’ve climbed about a thousand feet up the social trail from the road below! :D ) Any Forum member who’s planning to visit this amazing sacred place, PM us and I can give you the GPS coordinates of the turnoff onto the trail.

“We have met the enemy and he is us.” — Walt Kelly
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Yellowstone, October 27 & 28, 2012 (Report/Photos)

by GoHike on Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:41 pm

You can read the trip report here:
http://blog.shumwayphotography.com/2012/10/yellowstone-october-27-28-2012.html
Inside of the blog post are links to images (as I write about them).If you want to skip straight to the gallery full of images you can do that here:
http://www.shumwayphotography.com/gallery/26228579_4fq23F
Make the jump to go through the online gallery, I ask that you leave comments/criticism or at least give your favorites a thumbs up… THANKS!

If you have questions, ask… I published the camera information with each image and have added full keywords to share just about anything you would want to know about the images.

Happy shooting

Now it’s time for the teasers:
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Steam rises from a thermal feature as snow falls on the Norris Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park. Captured with a Canon 5D III and 17-40/4.0L in aperture priority mode with an exposure bias of + 1 2/3 at ISO400, f/7.1, and 1/1000th of a second. The camera was handheld.
http://www.shumwayphotography.com/gallery/26228579_4fq23F#!i=2182833455&k=jz2WTbh&lb=1&s=A

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Waves crash on shore at Sedge Bay of Yellowstone Lake in Yellowstone National Park. Captured with a Canon 5D III and 17-40/4.0L in aperture priority mode with an exposure bias of + 2 2/3 at ISO50, f/22, and 1.3 seconds. The camera was mounted on a Gitzo 3540XLS and Arca-Swiss Z1sp, a 4 stop neutral density filter was used.
http://www.shumwayphotography.com/gallery/26228579_4fq23F#!i=2182838348&k=X6QNn5N&lb=1&s=A

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Waves crash on shore at Sedge Bay of Yellowstone Lake in Yellowstone National Park. Captured with a Canon 5D III and 17-40/4.0L in aperture priority mode with an exposure bias of + 2 at ISO50, f/22, and 1 second. The camera was mounted on a Gitzo 3540XLS and Arca-Swiss Z1sp, a 4 stop neutral density filter was used.
http://www.shumwayphotography.com/gallery/26228579_4fq23F#!i=2182840619&k=m5PcmFW&lb=1&s=A

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A grizzly bear searches for food as waves crash on shore at Sedge Bay of Yellowstone Lake in Yellowstone National Park.

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And the Ranger said “It’s that time of year”!

by BlueSky on Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:05 am

October 21-24The last thing The Ranger said to us while we were stuck at Canyon was “It’s that time of year”! The only way out & the ONLY gate open was the South Entrance. But we were camped at Mammoth! How would we get back there? It’s a long way around.

We arrived at The Mammoth Campground around noon on the 21st. There were very few campers left & the hosts told us that the lower half of the campground would be closing on the 24th. No problem, we were leaving on the 24th, so we chose a spot on the lower half. There was no one around us. How rare was that! The temperature was a bit chilly but not too bad. So we set up & headed out towards Swan Lake. There were lots of clouds & intermittent sunshine. The Tundra Swans were floating & talking on Swan Lake.

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We scoped the hills & didn’t find anything, so we moved on towards The Hayden Valley. We stopped at Nez Perce for a quick break & we were once again entertained by the Gray Jays, Steller’s Jays & Clark’s Nutcracker.

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We continued on to The Pelican Creek Trailhead. Not a single animal. And amazingly, hardly any people! We headed back towards Canyon & then Norris. So quiet. Before the daylight would fade completely, we decided to take the Upper Terrace Drive. The sun was setting fast & the 3/4 waxing moon was rising. No one else was around which was a little spooky & the dramatic features with their steam & gurgling sounds added to the effect. We shot a few pictures of their orange & green colors & alien looking shapes in the moonlight.

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The next day we arose before sunrise.

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Max’s Fall Trip Report, Days 2 & 3: September 24 & 25
by Max  on Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:19 pm
Day 2
A couple of patterns are emerging on this trip: fairly quiet mornings followed by exciting afternoons. Though we’re not seeing a high volume of animals, our days are punctuated by great encounters with more elusive species. If the whole week goes this way, it will be pretty remarkable. Unlikely, but a boy can dream. ;)Yesterday was a perfect example of the way things have gone. The morning drive out to the NW corner of the park–Upper Terrace Drive, Swan Lake Flat, Sheepeater Cliff, Boundary Road–offered little in the way of excitement.We lunched at the Yellowstone Picnic Area before returning to the Lamar Valley. Finally, we had an excuse to stop. A sizable herd of pronghorn was in the middle of the valley near the Institute. Large herds of bison grazed nearby. The golden cottonwoods on the valley floor provided a nice backdrop for photos, and the pronghorns were active. Two bucks spent the majority of their time rounding up females, pursuing them with amorous intentions and occasionally getting in a tussle with each other.
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Friday & Saturday (Sept-21 & 22 2012) – Forum Post

by jleom on Mon Sep 24, 2012 3:01 pm

It was a lot better this time than the weekend before. It was the first time I felt I had been skunked (wildlife). I did get some good landscape photos but never did get the big lense out.We arrived Thursday evening and headed over to Great Fountain Geyser for the sunset. With all the smoke in the air I was hoping for some color. The was a little bit :)1.

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ImageWe thought our luck with the bull elk was going to change but just before the sun came up they went back into the trees and didn’t come out. Down on the Madison we did have a good look at the bull there…3.
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He pushed some cows across the river then came back for the rest.

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At Mammoth this bull was quite active trying to keep the harem together…

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Saturday morning we found an antelope in sweet light.

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Oh, I forgot this one bown by Chinese Garden late Friday evening.

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And a little fall color at LeHardy Rapids.

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It sure is beautiful in the park right now. But the smoke sure in bad and affects landscape shots.

Leo

http://www.pbase.com/jleom
http://www.LeoMillerPhotography.com
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Backpacking Hoodoo Basin (NE Yellowstone) 8/4-8/11, 2012

by Sitmowm on Tue Aug 14, 2012 2:42 pm

The Hoodoo Basin, in the northeast part of the park, is beautiful but remote. From the Soda Butte hikers’ trailhead in the Lamar Valley, it takes around 17 miles of hiking up the Lamar River and Miller Creek, and then a 2,000 foot climb and an additional six miles or so to reach the actual Hoodoos. It’s beautiful country, and not seen by many people. Over the six days I was on the Miller Creek trail and exploring the Hoodoo Basin beyond, I saw two backpacking couples and one horse party. And for one three-day period, while I was on the most remote part of the route, I didn’t see anybody at all. Read the rest
Avalanche Peak Hike – YNet Discussion Forums

June 23rd — Avalanche Peak

by MGoBlue on Sat Aug 04, 2012 4:01 pm

Finally got around to hiking up to the top of Avalanche Peak. This view from the trail shows Sylvan Lake below and the southern end of Yellowstone Lake in the distance:
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YNP June 2012 -4101_DxO.jpg by chestercheetah7, on Flickr
[break]Still a fair amount of snow on the peaks in late June:Image
YNP June 2012 -4136_DxO.jpg by chestercheetah7, on Flickr[break] Read the rest
The Waiting Game & scoping fun! (Forum Post)
by BlueSky on Sat Jul 21, 2012 3:38 pm
http://www.blueskycabins.com/
Question; How long do you wait to see some critter behavior you have never seen and want to? Answer; For us, 7 hours. I’ll get to that in a bit.We arrived Sunday July 8 at Pebble Creek Campground and got the same spot we had last year in August! Soon we were headed out towards Tower. Arriving at Calcite Springs we decided to look for the Peregrine Falcon nest. Not knowing exactly where it was, we were happy to see a long lens pointed down at the cliff face at one of the pullouts past the overlook. We met fellow Ynetter Judy. She had “the” spot to best see the chicks and was happy to show us on her screen the view down to the ledge where the three chicks were. It was hot and the chicks were trying to find the best way to stay out of the sun and mostly out of view.
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Some photos from our trip (Forum Post)

by Dubh on Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:04 pm

A big thank you to all on YNET for making our trip to GTNP & YNP (24th May – 13th June) so much fun and productive.
The trip report is going to take me a bit longer, hence posting some photos from our trip. I am a novice crawling up the hugh learning curve of photography, and I can’t ever see myself having time to look at editing photos so what you see is what you get! Going back to GTNP & YNP armed with a bit more knowledge and a tiny bit more know how made learning all the more fun. Managing to actually get photos with my camera on manual the whole time was such a thrill, I have decided the auto dial should be deleted!

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Mountain Goat (heavily cropped)
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Dusky Grouse
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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. Read the rest

Trip Report – (YNet Discussion Fourms)

by Dan on Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:54 pm

Day 1 – Arrived thru the east entrance out of Cody around 4pm. Saw a momma and baby moose about 5 miles past the entrance, a grizzly just west of Sylvan lake and a black at Tower. Time for Bed!

Day 2 – Vicki and I Met Bruce Gourley and Ken Drury and his daughter for a hike to Mystic Falls this Morning. The weather was a pain because it rained, then the sun came out, then rained, etc. Afterwards we all went to Canyon for lunch, only to find out the thunderstorm knocked out the power, so we made do with what we had in our cars. We then drove over to Tower, stopping along the way to see if we could spot any wildlife, which we didn’t. We parted company there and headed back to the Lake for a late afternoon nap. That evening in S. Hayden, it hailed like crazy for 5-10 minutes. We drove north and stopped at Grizzly Overlook and saw 2 black Canyon wolves in the distance. Read the rest

June 2-9th Wildlife Love Affair Again

by brentawp on Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:57 am

There are many thoughts that come to mind for these eight shooting days, not the least of which is rain. But during these two four-day photo safaris I was leading we came away with amazing experiences and some great images. Not all experiences lead to photos, but most in Yellowstone do.

The number of black bears from the Blacktail Lakes to above Tower was impressive. No one in Yellowstone failed to see bears if they wandered up this road during any particular day at any particular time. The male Cinnamon black bear was a true actor and seemed to perform best when more folks were watching him. I shot him standing, scratching, stretching, strutting, rolling, eating, mating, and running. While everyone calls the black sow near Rainy Lake “Rosie” – the real Rosie died decades ago – so she would be more aptly named “Rosie’s Granddaughter”. Her and her cubs put on a great show for us, though we never crossed passes too closely, and never got any stunning images. On one pass around the Big Curve near the Calcite Cliffs we couldn’t spot her, but her cubs were fifty feet up a pine tree doing some death-defying, branch balancing, wrestling moves.

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Babies, Best Buddies & Birthday Surprises June 4-7 Part 1

by BlueSky on Sat Jun 09, 2012 8:49 pm

Kevin’s Birthday was upon us but he didn’t want any presents. What he did want was a photographic adventure to Yellowstone. On his wish list to capture in photos were, COY’s, Badgers & Babies( are they called kits or cubs?), Pikas, & especially Quad Mom & the little one & his/her sibling. Kevin’s wish came true & a whole lot more!
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Planet Yellowstone: Live from the park, part 8
5 pm The afternoon drive between Mammoth and the Slough Creek turnout came and went without any drama, and right where we planned our midway break we ran into Max, Bill & Peggy. It’s not that we can’t have any fun with just the 2 of us, but their presence sure did upgrade the break.
Max’s Trip Report: Days 12 & 13
More gray, more snow, more of the same. Details are beginning to blur since so many of these days feature the same conditions and few standout sightings. Jenn and I caught our daily moose fix with the cow and yearling on the north side of the road at Warm Creek. We passed through the Lamar and Little America, encountering very little oncoming traffic. At Roosevelt we learned why. The road was closed heading west from Roosevelt Junction.