Day 2 - Yellowstone

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    Posted by Greg ( on January 22, 2008 at 23:24:48:

    In Reply to: Phoenix to Gardiner posted by Greg on January 22, 2008 at 23:23:16:

    I'll post photo's seperate.

    We decided to sleep in a bit as it was chilly outside. 18 degrees plus the wind chill.

    Once we got going we stopped in Mammoth for some hot cocoa and coffee for the trip to Cooke City.

    Today, everything was up for photos.

    We found the big guys just past Undine Falls and took a few pics. One of the guys is looking pretty old. Ceri was not sure if he would make the winter.

    As like Wednesday, the buffy's were everywhere and they looked very healthy. We had never seen their coats this thick and clean.

    They too were using the paved road as a highway. They kept to the side, unless some one spooked them, then they would stop and turn around and stare at the culprit.

    The roads were still snow packed in many places. When we rose past Little America, the outside temp gauge showed 4.2 degrees outside. Brrrr.

    The buffy's were pretty scattered in this area.

    We drove up to the parking area where you park to head to Tower. Ceri noticed the sun hitting some of the trees by the ranch, they were shinning with the light as they were covered in frost. Very beautiful....

    The temp was only 14 - very cold, I was hoping to see a few trees like this.

    Not much activity until we drove in the Lamar Valley, awe, home again. My favorite is Hayden Valley, but today, Lamar is it.

    There was no sign of people or animals until we drove past the confluence. I spotted a gray wolf just sitting in the snow about 125 yards from the road. First wolf of the trip. We stopped in the road and took a few photos until he decided it was time to move on.

    About 25 yards farther up the road, I spotted a large bird in the tree, yuppers, a Bald Eagle. This was our second one of the trip so far.

    Right past the Buffalo Ranch we spotted more trees that had the "ice look" very kool.

    Drove past hitching post and still no cars or people. What a difference a season makes.

    As we approached Soda Butte, we saw signs that said "no stopping or parking next .5 miles" We must be near a kill site I said.

    Sure enough around the bend, we saw not 2, not three but 7 wolves on the remains of a elk kill. HOW KOOL.

    Well, there still was no one around, so we stopped in the middle of the road and shot a few photos of the gang.

    After a bit we continued on down towards Cooke City, we were hoping for steak and eggs at the Grizzly Pad and they would stop serving breakfast soon.

    Just before the Pebble Creek camp ground, we came across two cars parked in the road. The said, two wolves just crossed in front of them.

    Sure enough there were two wolves near the river.

    After a bit, we were really getting hungry and decided we need to get.

    We were also keeping an eye out for otters along the way, but we did not even see tracks.

    As we approached the NE Entrance, the snow pack was getting higher. 20 to 26 inches I was thinking. In Cooke City is was closer to 30 inches.

    We arrived at the Grizzly Pad and found out we missed breakfast by an hour. Darn darn. So we had some chili and then headed over to see our friends Steve and Lisa at the Sinclair Station.

    After a nice visit and with Steve posting our photo on their website we headed back into town.

    We were passed by a few snowsleds before leaving Cooke, I made a comment to Ceri about the noise, the blue smoke and the smell of them. Lets see the difference at OF.

    Still hardly any traffic on the road.

    As we were near the Buffalo ranch, we spotted more wolves on a kill. We counted 5 more. And a bunch of coyotes waiting their turn to feast. They kept there distance, so no problems took place. Why we missed this a few hours ago, guess we were looking at the trees.

    Towards the end of Lamar, we finally came across the famous yellow SUV. He and his followers had 4 more wolves by the river.

    What a day, we had never seen so many wolves spread out like that.

    We needed to be back before 5pm to check in for the ride to Old Faithful, so we headed back.

    More coyotes, elk, a couple of black tail bucks and of course buffy's.

    We stopped in at the Town Grill for chili and a grilled cheese sandwich, then back to the room to pack for our adventure on the snow coach to Old Faithful.

    All in all, if we saw a total of 25 cars today you were lucky.

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