I saw a badger today for the first time in my life. Wahoo! Before I get to that, let’s start at the beginning.
We left Deer Lodge this morning and headed through Southwestern Montana to West Yellowstone. The ride was beautiful. It ranked right up there with our ride through Idaho the other day. The closer we got to Yellowstone, the more beautiful the scenery and the towns. We really liked this cell tower we saw. Yes, it is that thing that looks like a tree.
The ride made me want to take up trout fishing, or at least try it. I LOVE trout and the trout streams here are awesome. There are lots of outfitters, so I’m sure I could find someone to show me how to do it. All my fishing experience is on the Chesapeake Bay. It is clear that different techniques are required here.
Once we set up camp (and the site is very nice), I couldn’t wait to get into Yellowstone. My goal was to become a wolf stalker and get up before dawn every morning to sit out in the Lamar Valley and look for wolves. Apparently, that is your best chance. Therefore, we went into the park today to scope the situation. We went to the Lamar Valley and we wanted to check out places to park. Unfortunately, it is over 70 miles from the campsite and that’s not on the interstate. All but 6 miles is through Yellowstone. I have to back off from my plans. We will do it one morning, but we do not want to do it everyday. If we did that, Dart would beg to be adopted by someone else. He can’t go on the trails in the park, so his activity is severely limited when we get in there.
Part of our problem going in is that the park is incredibly awesome and we kept wanting to stop for hot springs and waterfalls. We had to cut ourselves off and agree to continue some other day. We have 5 full days in this area so we plan to draw up a complete plan tomorrow morning. Following are pictures of hot springs, hot water, and beautiful waterfalls.
Eventually, we got to the famous Lamar Valley. It is so beautiful. Oh my gosh. I could move outside the park for awhile and visit everyday and it would take me some time to get over the awesome beauty of it. Following are some pictures of the Lamar Valley including some wildlife we saw. I did not include the magnificent herd of bison. You may remember we posted a lot of pictures of bison from Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The bison in Yellowstone look so much better. Regis thinks it is because the weather is cooler. We’re not sure but they are definitely healthy and beautiful looking animals. We saw a young one running around with two adults. It was adorable.
The Pronghorn also looked healthier than the ones we saw on the National Bison Range. Today we found out how nice it was to have a great binoculars and an awesome spotting scope. We also learned, if you pull out a scope, people think you know what you are doing and stop to ask what animals you have found. It would be so much more fun if I had a biology degree or something (Maybe I’ll do something along those lines for the future.) You don’t have to be an expert to make people happy (we learned that at Wild Birds Unlimited). We spotted some Pronghorn in the scope and let them look through it and they were very pleased. It was such a simple way to make someone’s day.
Here are a couple more beautiful Yellowstone pictures with a few others on the flickr feed.
On the way back, Regis saw an animal swimming across the Lamar River. I jumped out of the car to take a picture and see what it was and it was a badger!!!! Wahoo! The only picture I could snap was totally useless. It’s not worth the bandwidth to upload. I saw it scurry away and I am proud to have the wildlife ethics not to chase the poor critter down. I never got a good picture but I got a good look. I may not have seen my wolf today, but I saw my first badger. Wow!!!!!
We also saw an elk on the way back. It was getting very dark, so having good binoculars was the only way would could verify the animal.
We managed to pick up a lot of our great optics while we owned Wild Birds Unlimited. It may turn out to be one of the best outcomes from owning the store. And even though I am without my favorite camera lens right now, we seem to be doing well enough with my remaining lenses and Regis’ camera.