Numbers 6: 24-26

The Lord bless you, and keep you; The Lord make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26

Saturday, March 31, 2018

End of Another Great Trip

Looking out front from our cabin, and yes, that's our truck!
March is coming to a close as is our time. We are happy to have had the chance to experience winter in Yellowstone but we are both smiling with the thought of getting back to Florida.

Looking from our cabin off the back deck.
We had a surprise snowfall of up to 10" this week. This happened over about a 12 hour period. It is amazing to see how fast it accumulates and easy to understand how it can continue to build up so quickly.

This Aspen tree is frozen solid and holding a good 1-2" of snow.

This is Bunsen Mountain peaking up over the clouds. We've hiked it once or twice every year. The road is closed to that area until May. (Thank God!!)

A good looking guy and Electric Peak. And no, that hike requires 2 days to reach the peak, too much for us. Check out the snow on the deck railings.

 And I'll wrap up the posts with this 'feel-good' story. We were taking the trash from the cabins to the recycling area and saw two official ranger trucks stopped at the drive entrance. As we watched, a female got out of one of the trucks with what looked like a rifle and walked toward this large herd of elk and fired.

We were devastated, continued down and unloaded the trash and in coming out, this same ranger stopped us. What she had done is to shoot a sedative dart at a male that had robe wrapped all over his antlers. They were keeping everyone still until the sedation med took hold. After about 5 minutes, he went down and they moved in.

They tagged him, removed the first dart and cut the rope off. She had also told us they had a reversal shot to give him once they were through. We saw him later and he was up and walking around. Even though the animals are all wild, this herd was more concerned about their male leader, than the rangers. This was the happy ending we were hoping for!

We will attend church for Easter morning and then hit the road toward home. We wish for a Blessed Easter season for all.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Wanted dead or live - Bison

In talking with a few locals, we learned some of the ongoing history and story of the bison. There are numerous tribes of American Indians surrounding the Yellowstone in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and even further out.

Every year in December and running through some time in March the next year, hunting for bison, elk and deer opens up for US Forest lands, which encompasses the north, south and west lands of the park. (Maybe some on the east also). Large groups of Native Americans descend on these lands to round up and 'hunt' for the animals that have unknowingly left the safe Yellowstone Park confines.

We are mostly concerned with the northern most area and were warned when we came where to avoid hiking or snowshoeing and not to be alarmed if we heard gun shots.

This week we sought out a 'kill' area, looking for eagles, hawks, and scavengers hoping to get a few good pictures. The area we went to is apparently disappointing for the locals due to the amount of carcasses left on the ground. Many were gutted and anything good taken and the rest left for 'other animals.'

It was sad to walk through, but made me think that the slaughter houses for beef, pork and chicken aren't that so very far removed from this humble beginning. The pictures you will see are the left overs. Gruesome to me but a poignant reminder of where your meat comes from, not mine because I've been vegetarian for over 20 years. I'm not an animal rights kind of person, but we just found this sad. And now to the pictures.

Healthy male that is just inside the Park boundaries.

Posted signs warning of carcasses. The bears are just now coming out of hibernation so we were safe walking around this.

Oddly enough, one story we were told is that a particular tribe surrounded this herd and started shooting into it from all sides. I wonder about gun safety for them?!

Another source told us this group took so many at the 'hunt' beginning that the other tribes were upset with them. Apparently bickering among groups is not uncommon.

 The birds are good scavengers.

We did scare off several birds but not the amount we were told were here previously. An eagle is keeping an eye on us before leaving.

There was a beautiful adult and juvenile Bald Eagle flying together as we approached the area.

Beauty among the carnage.

There are more pronghorn than we've ever seen before. They and some Mule Deer were the only animals close by when we stopped.

This female has a radio collar on. And she appears to be pregnant.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Wolves, Water Fall, Cabin on a Lake

I thought I'd post a few of the pictures from the drive home from Pebble Creek. I was driving so Bob could look out and take pictures.

Here is the entrance to Yellowstone Park. There was no one manning it. We wondered why and then started laughing. Why man a station when the only people able to come in had to exit here first? The road is closed at the end of Cooke City, about 12 miles out.

This is Abiathar Peak, just inside the NE Entrance. In the summer it's a good place to spot Mountain Goats. Not so much in these conditions though.

We are back driving through Lamar Valley. I pulled over to see if I could spot any wolves. And just like that 2 walked into view.

This picture is blown up from the above photo. I don't know what pack they are from but it was a nice surprise.

You can see the effects of the continuing snow melt looking at Lamar River. It was barely a trickle when we first arrived.

This is Undine Falls in the winter. And below is Undine Falls in the summer. I love seeing the contrasts!

We ended the day by driving up the road to see the little rebuilt lake cabin. We've never heard what it is for. It's very isolated right now...

Even with a large portion of the snow melted.

And here it is in the summer. It's very picturesque and inviting. I believe we prefer the summer as opposed to winter out here!

Monday, March 26, 2018

More Snow (Shoeing)

The snow is melting, as a matter of fact, it's all gone around our cabins and disappearing swiftly in the surrounding areas.

However, the northeastern end is still covered and cold. We decided to drive to the end of the park to find one more snowshoe adventure. God knows our record breaking one mile in 1 1/2 hours is epic but we had to try once more.

I'm ahead of Bob so looking down the hill at him. This trail had a good solid snow pack to traverse.

Does anyone else see Papa Smurf and his hat on this tree stump?

It pays to leave the main path occasionally. Someone set up the perfect picture of a bull elk and antlers so we took advantage of it.

I know this looks like another blob of snow on a snag (tree trunk) but it is covering a large nest. More than likely belonging to a eagles, ravens or owls. I'm going with it's unoccupied currently since they are all coming back in to the area now.

Oh no, Bob is heading to the end of the world...

 He stopped to look back and wave before going over the edge...

okay maybe not. We had a nice down hill trek back to the truck. It was another long on time, short on mileage 'hike' but in lovely surroundings, who cares??

We were close to Cooke City so decided to stop for a cup of hot chocolate. You can easily see why this is the end of the line for car traffic until the snow melts off, round about April-May I believe.

This just doesn't look inviting to us but the folks that stay year round love it.

Yeah, doesn't this look like fun?

The snow drifts are crazy. But the snow mobiles are plentiful for getting around and enjoying the landscape. We were perfectly happy to drive back to our drying-out, snowless cabins.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Snowshoeing at Trout Lake

After that wonderful drive through Lamar Valley, we headed for Trout Lake to see what it looked like in snow. These first 2 pictures are of the lake in August-September.

It provides a beautiful walk and there is a path all the way around the lake with off-shoots for even more adventure.
 is the trailhead. The snow plow had obviously been piling snow into the pull out area. It took a few minutes of walking around to find the start to the path. This trail takes a quick turn up a hill, through some trees and up another hill before reaching the lake. It was easier climbing this portion than coming down as you'll see at the end...

And we're off up the first hill. The snow was melting and the sun was warm but at 30 degrees it takes a while to feel really warmed up. Plenty of people had gone before us and there was a good path to use. How the first person knows where to go is a mystery to us though.

A side view from the trail. There were a lot of animal trails but none to be seen this day.

This gives you an idea of the incline we are fording with gigantic clown shoes attached to our feet. Snowshoes are great for distributing weight to keep one on top of the snow. Bob measured a few spots as about 2' deep.

This is the 2nd hill. I don't know if it looks further than it is or is further than it looks...

With the whole time out, we only managed 1 mile of walking and it took us 1 1/2 hours!

The views are breath taking. This is the lake.

There is a water release area for the lake and a two tree crossing which Bob is on.

We didn't go very far past the bridge before turning back. Making it around the lake in snowshoes is not an ideal adventure, at least not for us. This is me going around the side of the lake to the main trail.

I tried to take us around the other side but the way was shallow and melting. Better bet to head back down.

It was warm enough to remove our coats for a time. Right after this my left foot found a hole in the path and my shoe and snowshoe disappeared about 1' down. I had to dig for a minute to pull them back out.

The snow melts underneath first but glazes over on the top to give you the impression it is solid. I encountered several holes and was glad I only went through one of them all the way.

I told Bob I would have done better sliding down on my rear holding the shoes! This is the last area before the parking lot. That was too large of a drop for me to navigate. I am very thankful that snow is more forgiving than pavement, ha! And another fun day is done!