Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Bears, Bears, Bears!

The next morning we woke up and headed for the Lamar Valley. The Lamar valley is the natural winter exodus route for elk, moose and buffalo as they retreat from the high country as winter nears. In the spring they return to Yellowstone, following retreating snow and being followed, in turn, by every predator.

The female grizzly was till in the Hayden River valley so we watched her for a while, before continuing up the road to Canyon and then Tower Junctions. AS we crossed Dunraven Pass a huge jam of cars blocked us. Bear jamb The idiots had actually blocked the down hill path to a grizzly sow and her cub. She ran along the side of the road looking for an escape! Nearing our car she roared and the people started to run! Luckily for them she then crossed in the opening she created, followed by her small frightened cub,(it is amazing how many people lose what little rational thought they have and approach bears by jumping out of cars in the middle of the road. They will park their cars blocking everyone).

As e passed Antelope creek we came to another mass of cars! Yup, bear jamb! Another grizzly was feeding in a small valley along the road. This was a male grizzly, almost cinnamon in color. We weren't able to stop and continued to Canyon Junction where we took a restroom break before heading east up the Lamar Valley.

Renita and I were both amazed at the numbers of elk and buffalo. On buffalo heard was as large as the herd south of Gillette. Glassing them, we parked and searched for bears and wolfs. While wed didn't see any wolves Tara, Matt's new sister in law spotted a black bear sow and cub. This brought the days total to five grizzly and two black bears.

WE retraced our route west down the Lamar and drove to Mammoth. The hot springs had dried up since our last visit and we were disappointed at the few remaining colored terraces. Most were dry ugly terraces, a mere shadow of their former glory. The rest of the drive was uneventful and we arrived back at camp, ate dinner and made it another early night. Matt, Patty, and their party had to head south so we sadly bid them farewell. Clear skies.

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