Yes, I spelled the title wrong on purpose. If you read earlier posts regarding the difficulty of playing disc with Dart in this camp ground, you might remember that we are forced by the leash police (don’t blame them) to play with the disc in a tiny dog park that has a tunnel, jump, bench, garbage can, and 3 trees. It’s tough. It’s also right next to the the camp ground bathrooms. It is a very large camp ground and the facilities are heavily used.
I make a point of taking Dart to play with his disc in that small space at least a couple times a day. He spins like crazy and sometimes crashes into things. There isn’t enough room. But, we make do and we usually wind up with an audience. They sometimes take pictures and film him. Regis has been reluctant to play under such confined conditions, but did so this morning. He came back telling me stories of the audience including some Mennonites that were fascinated with Dart. Some people in the campground have become part of Dart’s little fan club. So, he has his own Pawparazzi!
We left the camp ground by 5:00 a.m. to get into the park. It was very nice because there was almost no traffic. We hoped to head for Hayden Valley by sunrise and it worked out well. As we were getting there and the sun was just coming up, we saw several swans on the river. They were so beautiful it was unreal. It was too dark to take a picture, but just enough light in the sky to be mesmerized by the scene.
It didn’t take long to arrive in a herd of buffalo. The males were aggressive, defending individual females and making lots of grunting noises. We thought that it might be mating season because of their behavior. The males were scary and I had no interest in being close to them but several males took to the roads. It was comforting to be in a big pick-up! Later I was able to confirm that mating season for Yellowstone bison is July and August.
Getting up early worked out for us because we saw a Grizzly bear. I have no pictures because he was far off in the field and it took the spotting scope to confirm it was a grizzly and not a black bear. It is amusing that a spotting scope turns you into a expert in the eyes of other Yellowstone adventurers and you get more people stopping to question what you are seeing if you have a spotting scope than if you are just using binoculars. We watched the Grizzly for 20 minutes until he/she disappeared over the hill.
The area we saw the Grizzly was in the same general section of the park where the recent Grizzly attack took place. We saw several areas closed off with tape and signs.
On the way back, we drove down a back road that said no RV’s allowed. It turned out to be a narrow, broken up road butted up to a canyon wall. That is scary enough, except a bison decided to pick this road to slowly stroll down for reasons only known to him. It was the kind of road that doesn’t have much room between the canyon wall, bison, pick-up truck, and crumbly infrastructure holding the side of the road in place. That may have been the scariest part of the trip!
We wound up leaving the park at 10:40 a.m. and we could not believe the back up of people entering the park. There were four fee stations with lines of traffic backing up into town for well over a mile. The guidebooks tell you to get into the park early and go in the evening and 10:30 a.m. is the worst time to enter the park because that’s when everyone else is. The guidebooks know what they are talking about.
After doing nothing of any particular consequence in the RV all afternoon, I went back to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center this evening. I found out the wolves came from an organization in Montana that was raising wolves for movies and photography and couldn’t take care of them anymore so they wound up at the Center. These wolves have never been in the wild. I watched how they provided enrichment for the wolves and it gave me some ideas for how to deal with my dog when I get home. Today, they froze bison guts with blood and water and left them in the pen. The wolves loved them and had to work hard to get to the food. Admittedly, I’m not likely to use frozen bison guts for my dog, but I have some other ideas.
I was most heartened by a little girl that came to ask the naturalist some questions about the wolves. The little girl was astonishing. She knew every wolf there, their name, their background, and what had been happening to them lately. She was amazing. I bet she grows up to be an awesome scientist or naturalist. I learned a lot about what was going on with these particular wolves from listening to her. I’m sure you can learn it all from their website and facebook page, so I’m not going to turn this into a long blog to share the details.
My closest friends will be glad to know that I purchased a can of bear spray today.
Sadly, we leave here tomorrow but I am already making plans to come back to the area. I LOVE it in the greater Yellowstone area. We head for Big Timber, Montana tomorrow and will spend a couple days there.