YNP Trip Report Feb 28, 2009

I’m way overdue for a post.  I either need to get better at making regular posts or delete this blog.  I’ll try to get better at making posts.

This is a back-dated post.

As we loaded the van in Gardiner this morning, it was 7 degrees Fahrenheit under bright blue skies and with only a slight breeze.

A herd of pronghorns greeted us at the Roosevelt Arch. Elk were plentiful, there were a few bison here and there.

Up a bit higher, in Mammoth, it was 1 degree below zero, Fahrenheit. At Blacktail Lakes, it was -18 degrees Fahrenheit. That was the coldest temperature we saw today. Under intense sun, the day warmed up.

At the Specimen trailhead, we stopped and watched 472F and her group (a new group, formed of former members of other packs, some now defunct). They were being lazy. We moved on.

At the west end of the Lamar, we pulled over and enjoyed a surround sound chorus of coyotes. There were a few groups, and they were all around us, yipping, yapping, barking and singing.

At the confluence of Soda Butte Creek and the Lamar River, we briefly stopped to watch a coyote and a couple magpies eat sheepcicle (i.e. the frozen carcass of a Bighorn Sheep — by the horns, we’re guessing an aged ewe).

Across the road there were little birdies flitting about. When I put binos on them I saw that they were common redpolls — a FOY (first of year) bird for me.

Up on the rocky bluff there at Hitching Post were the usual winter rams. I think the outfitters that take photographers on winter tours herd them there. 😉

We drove east as far as the gate and turned back westward. It was blindingly bright out at that time. Baronette Peak was brilliant

Barronette Peak

We stopped to check out the icicles in Ice Box Canyon, too.

Icebox Canyon

Driving past Confluence, we saw a golden eagle had joined the sheepcicle party, but we didn’t stop. It was turning into mayhem there with cars parked in driving lanes, etc.

We then decided to take an afternoon walk at the Mammoth Terraces — all the wildlife was napping under the super bright sun, after all…

Canary Spring

Magical Mammoth

I was tickled to find this plant blooming in the thermal runoff.

Amazing Life

Stacy and I walked from the parking lot at Upper Terraces down to the toilet house where Dad picked us up. He walked around a bit but got overheated, as we were still largely dressed for the morning temps. By the time Stacy and I were done walking we were hard boiled, too.

We took another run east as far as Hitching Post. The sheep carcass that had been right between the road and the river at Confluence had been drug off, apparently by a Ranger, as evidenced by snowshoe tracks. Dave S. later confirmed that.

Just as light failed completely, on our return west, I spotted a black wolf between the Children’s Fire Trail and the entrance to Blacktail Drive. Had he not been against snow I think I would have missed him.

Our last significant sighting of the day was a familiar critter walking past the Super 8 in Gardiner — Dave S. Chatted briefly with him.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>