Monday, June 12, 2006

First to fall over when the atmosphere is less than perfect
Your sensibilities are shaken by the slightest defect

We took a great drive yesterday, into Yellowstone, through the Lamar Valley to Cooke City, then over the famed Beartooth Pass to Red Lodge.

(Overall, I had one hell of a weekend. No complaints.)

We saw some impressive wildlife. Elk, deer, antelope, bison... all par for the course.

We saw a bunch of cars pulled over in the Lamar Valley, so we stopped.

As usual, in these situations, you ask somebody what they are looking at.

There was a big grizzly up on a hillside. Unfortunately, too far for photos to look like anything but a speck.

A supermellow ranger was hanging out and he let us look through his spotting scope and watch the beast ramble around the hillside.

India had never seen a grizzly before, so it was exciting to get a good view of one from a safe distance.

A couple miles later, we stopped again. There were some hardcore wildlife spotters there. They had been ther since 4 a.m.

Again, they let us look through their scope, this time at a wolf.

These guys had printouts from tracking data, and they even knew whcih wolf theyw ere looking at. It was Alpha Male 75G (or somesuch), the Alpha male of a Lamar pack. The alpha female had given birth to a litter of pups recently, and the den was nearby.

This guy was just lounging in the field, near an elk kill. The pack had brought down a large male with velvet antlers. The wolf was black and large. I guess he was full, because he didn't bother to chase off all the ravens that had descended on the kill.

If you see a crowd in the park, pull over... there is usually something worth seeing. Most of the hardcore spotters are pretty nice about explaining what is there and letting you look through their expensive scopes. Just ask them. It is especially nice, because you'd miss most of this stuff with your naked eye.

And you don't have to get up at 2:30 in the morning.

That kind of thing makes my day.

I'll post some pictures later.