trip report day 10

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    Posted by michael in tucson ( on October 03, 2005 at 15:18:56:

    In Reply to: trip report day 9 posted by michael in tucson on October 03, 2005 at 15:15:19:

    6-7-05 Day 10

    Since we are heading to the Midwest after Yellowstone itís time to do some laundry. I get up and I am at the door of the laundromat as it opens. When I get back to Alís, Karlie and Hayden are ready for breakfast. We again head over to the Timberline, where we have a great breakfast and visit with Haydenís friend the stuffed cinnamon black bear. We had hoped to spend time in the geyser basins today but it is still raining, sleeting, hailing and snowing. OK lets go and try it anyway.

    We stop at the eagle nest and are able to view one eaglet. We see four trumpeter swans and very little else before Madison Junction. Just south of Madison Junction we get stuck in a major bison jam. There is a group of bison bulls and they are very stuck on being in the road. Progress is very slow. One of the bulls seems to have a very bad attitude this morning. He is pushing other bulls around and makes several head butt faints at some of the cars in front of us. I give this boy a lot of room as we go past. The car behind me is not so lucky. As I watch in my mirror, the bison rams the car in the passenger side rear quarter panel. I can see the looks of astonishment on the faces of the driver and passenger. Wow, glad that wasnít us, imagine explaining the dent to the rental car company and the insurance company.

    We decide to stop at Fountain Paint Pots. It is snowing, blowing and just very wet, but we get dressed for it and off we go. Hayden likes the steaming pools and really likes the mud pots and noisy fumeroles, but the wind is just too much. We start to think that maybe today is a day to hang out in West Yellowstone and head back. We stop at Madison Junction picnic area, use the bathroom (no tracks or pictures here) and walk down to the old Ranger Station. While Karlie checks out the Yellowstone Association Store, Hayden and I check out the animal artifacts. There are wolf, fox, beaver, otter, ermine and coyote pelts, as well as lots of skulls, antlers, horns and bones to look at. We both enjoy it, and Hayden has lots of questions. By the time we walk back to the car it is only rainy and we decide to head over to Canyon and see if the weather improves. We stop at Gibbon Falls and watch chipmunks for awhile. For a short time we watch some bison and elk along the edges of Gibbon Meadow and Elk Park.

    At Canyon, we head over to the cafeteria for lunch. There are very few people in the place. The weather, which had gotten worse again, clears up as we eat and we decide to drive down to Hayden Valley for some pics of Hayden in his valley. On the way we explain the name thing to him. It is very green and there is lots of water. All of the creeks are high and there are lots of bison to see. This is the first time we have driven on the new road and both the road and pullouts are nice. We make a stop at the Bear Overlook Pullout (at least my name for it) to take some pictures. There is some excitement as we get out. The driver of a tour van out of West Yellowstone has spotted a bear, but has no binoculars or scope along. With his directions I quickly find a grizzly sow with a year old cub through the binoculars and then get out the scope. There are a lot of alert cow elk above the bears. The sow is very methodically moving back and forth through the sage, obviously looking for elk calves. The cub mostly follows her, but also spends a lot of time watching the elk cows watching the bears. We share the scope with lots of people, many of whom are viewing their first grizzly bear. While others use the scope, I help Hayden view his first pelican, which is quickly marked off on his animal checklist.

    We again head south and stop at the Pelican Pullout (again my name), where we get to watch pelicans on the sand bar, floating in the Yellowstone River and flying back from Le Hardy Rapids. We stop at Fishing Bridge and shop the balcony of the store, finding some good deals. We head back in a blowing snowstorm, which doesnít clear until Norris. Just north of Madison Junction there is a bison jam, after that it is on to West and dinner at Wild West Pizza. Today is our last full day in Yellowstone for this trip.

    6-8-05 Day 11

    We enter the park at West and head toward Mammoth and an exit out of the park at Gardiner. It is raining and very windy. The only stop we make is to check for the grizzly at Swan Lake. The bear is there and I watch him for a short time before continuing on. All too soon the north entrance appears and we leave Yellowstone, all of us looking forward to our next visit.

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