Friday, October 7, 2011

Day 7 (final blog post) - YNP/GNTP- 2011 Fall Trip

7x6 bull elk in Yellowstone's first fall snow. by Mark/MPEG (Midwest Photography Enthusiasts Group)

First, A big thanks to all of you following this blog. I have appreciated your emails and FB messages. Today was our final day in Yellowstone. Because of the snow storm system, we decided to travel to Idaho Falls tonight and leave from here in the morning for the Salt Lake City airport to avoid any potential travel delays associated with the storm. We will be home by midnight Friday night.

We slept in a little and got into the Park around 8:30am today. It was cloudy, rainy with snow expected after 2:00 pm. Yellowstone National Park is expected to get 6-10 inches of snow. Several roads were closed by the rangers by 3:00 pm. Several cars slid off the road over by Old Faithful.  It's amazing how different parts of the park vary dramatically with snowfall. When it snows at 7,000+ feet, it snows!

We traveled through Madison (the bull elk and his harem were there) but didn't stop. We moved on through Norris (really foggy), on to Hayden Valley, no rain there but cloudy, several wolf watchers there with spotting scopes. Two wolves of the Canyon Pack were running around too far out for photos but saw these beauties through a scope. From Hayden, over Dunraven. Dunraven was VERY rainy, foggy,  at some point, visibility was 50 feet! This was an "exciting" drive. Kim drove it and did well. No wildlife seen in Dunraven or Tower. On to Lamar, cloudy and rainy as well but YNP is gorgeous this time of year with red, gold, and orange grasses. Just beautiful. We stopped at the "carcass" but the carcass was nowhere to be found. We were told two grizzlies were on it yesterday and at one point, 7 members of the Pack came in together and drove the grizzlies off of the carcass. We were told (also) that it was Monday evening when the Pack chased and drove the elk cow into the Lamar River (shallow area), and the elk cow fought them off as long as she could until tiring. Several people stayed around until 8:30pm Monday and the wolves had not made the kill yet but did so during the night sometime. The carcass image I posted Tuesday was taken after 1pm Tuesday so that means the carcass was picked clean in 17 hours or less!

While we were at the carcass today, someone yelled "grizzly!"and there was a young grizz at the top of the hill behind us. We watched him travel east to west for a few minutes then he disappeared.... which means Kim (finally) saw her first grizzly bear! A bald eagle landed in a tree by the Lamar River and reared it's head back calling upon landing. It made me smile.

From Lamar, over to Mammoth, more rain and no wildlife spotted. Had a quick lunch in Mammoth, on to Norris, then on to Madison.  I snapped a few landscapes along the way. I spotted a bald eagle sitting in a tree across the Madison River. Perhaps the same one who eluded me yesterday? I was determined to get this one (see pic below). We stopped (we were the only car parked) but we started an "eagle jam". I snuck across the street to get a better view. I snapped several images and then this guy pulls up, gets out of his car and slams his door shut loudly and the eagle flew off. Some people just don't get it. 

It was beginning to snow heavily now and I found the 7x6 bull elk and his harem and got some "snow images" (see pic above). I have a zillion images to go through just of this bull elk! We left YNP around 5:30pm and arrived in Idaho Falls at 7:45pm.  The snow was really falling and the road through the Targhee National Forest was untouched and treacherous. It was 35 miles per hour for a long ways until the roads improved.

Dan and Bonnie went on their own today. They are in YNP one more day.  It was a pleasure having Dan and  Bonnie in the Park at the same time. They had a great time. It was their first YNP/GTNP visit.

This trip is now sadly over.

Kim had a great time, seeing far more wolves than I thought we would see. We were lucky having a carcass (It's simply the circle of life in YNP.)

 This will be one birthday present, Kim won't soon forget.

Every time we visit YNP/GTNP, the trip goes so fast. We really don't want to leave....

We love this place.

Thanks again for following!



  1. Great blog Mark, enjoyed following.

  2. Mark I enjoyed following your blog. Brings back memories of my trips there. My favorite place in the world to be. Thanks for sharing

    Cindy Kidwell

  3. One of the first things I do when I get up in the morning is to check out your blog. I always enjoy reading about your adventures in Yellow Stone. And you do have great ones daily! Very nice of you to fill all of us in daily with the fast pace schedule you have. Thanks so much. In my mind I am there witnessing it all as I read your post. Look forward to reading it each day of your trip. Be careful and happy shooting!