August 23, 2018
The night after we saw the wild mustangs near Cody, it rained hard. We were hoping that would get rid of some of the smoke. Instead, it was far, far worse. Apparently, a cool front brought a lot of the British Columbia smoke to the area. We could barely see any scenery, so we went to downtown Cody to walk Main Street. I wanted to go to the art galleries. It was Sunday, they were all closed except for a photography gallery. We went in there and I was greatly inspired.
After we left Cody, we went to Casper and saw lots and lots of Pronghorn on the way. Regis saw a roadside sign that said the 2/3 of the world’s Pronghorns are in Wyoming. It was very smoky in Casper. We could barely see Casper mountain. We had a wonderful visit with a friend and walked along the Platte River the next day. I went to the Werner Wildlife Museum. It was free!
I prefer to see live animals but enjoyed seeing the animals close up. They had a black bear and grizzly bear next to each other with an explanation of the differences. It was very helpful to be up close and see the details. Most of the animals were from Wyoming, but they had some from around the world. My favorite was the Least Weasel. The weasel is so tiny. It looks like someone stretched a mouse to three times it’s length.
We arrived in Estes Park yesterday. The campground host warned us that a mother bear and two cubs frequent the campground. We saw the the dumpster has a padlock. We’ve been to places that say there are bears around, but you can really believe it if the trash containers are bear proof. We woke up to blue skies. We haven’t see a blue sky in weeks. It was particularly beautiful. I was mesmerized by the color.
We headed into Rocky Mountain National Park this morning to drive along the amazing Trail Ridge Road. We took a side trip along the Old Fall River Road, which is a dirt road. The scenery was spectacular and it was darn cold at the top of the mountain. The wind was blowing very hard.
On the way down the other side of the Continental Divide, we saw lots of elk. We saw the males relaxing at a higher elevation and found the females and calves near the Colorado River. There was one young male in the group. I was standing on the road taking pictures when one of the females moved close by. We heard a bleating sound and realized it was coming from one of the calves. The only female to turn her head was the one closest to me. The little calf ran up to her and started nursing. They were so close to me that I had a very hard time taking a picture with my long lens with the extender. I don’t usually have a problem with wildlife coming so close that I can’t take the picture!!
After our exciting encounter with the elk, we headed back along the road and stopped near the east entrance at Beaver Meadows to have lunch. It was nice to sit still and enjoy the scenery and smaller wildlife. We saw a bunch of birds but the most interesting experience was the ground squirrel. This was a very brave squirrel who came to find some food. Dart barely caused it any concern. We would not let Dart chase the squirrel, so he had to be content with watching it. It came within six inches of his nose. I was a little concerned it was going to jump on Dart. Instead, it chose to jump on top of the picnic table and run up my arm while I was eating a protein bar. I did not expect it to get that close, so didn’t react to chase it away until it made it all the way to my bar.