The view west from the homestead

The view west from the homestead

Sweet Chance

Sweet Chance

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Wimpy, Wimpy, Wimpy

October 20th, 2007
Gardiner, Montana

We have temporarily fallen from the ranks of die-hard campers. This is night #6 in a motel. It is 38 degrees and rainy and our pop-up is parked outside the door. It is time to go South, but we love the mountains so much, it is hard to leave. This is an ideal time to see Yellowstone. The elk are still bugling and moving down from higher elevations to lower meadows. The mule deer and Big Horn Sheep are also on the move, and wolves have been sighted fairly frequently in the Lamar Valley in the North. The snow and sleet help with having the park to yourself ( kind of!).

When we were at Mammoth Hot Springs visitor center, Cassidy ran inside and told us that there were elk bugling in the parking lot. We went outside, and sure enough, there they were, bugling. An enormus bull had a herd of about 30 females and calves, and there was another male who was nearby with only 6 females and no calves. There was also a single male that stood on the edge of the area. The largest herd was spread over the grass and in the road around the buildings of Mammoth Hot springs. The bull was quite agitated by the presence of these other males. (I'm sure the cars going by didn't help much). It was quite a scene. The other 2 bulls would bugle and try to attract females away from the larger herd. When any of females strayed from the group, the bull would run over and nudge them back. The two outside bulls did not challenge the big guy more than the occasional bugle. There were no head on confrontations. We had always wanted to see an elk bugle, but Wow! Quite in the middle of things!

We spent the whole day driving and hiking in Yellowstone. The biggest concentration of animals we saw was right near the visitor center. We saw alot of Bison.....they are so huge! We read that the Bison in Yellowstone are descendants of the original critters that were here before the white man slaughtered the population in the late 1800's. I thought they had been reintroduced as all the other bison have been that we saw in Canada. It is exciting to know that some have survived.

The weather was windy, wet and cold, and a mixture of rain and snow. Some places we drove through had 2 inches of snow already (4-9 inches of snow are expected by the end of today). We walked to a number of geysers, but got so wet and cold, we had to cut it short. We saw Old Faithful blow her steam, and hoped to see Steamboat Geyser erupt (the last eruption was in 2004, but we were feeling very lucky). Steamboat Geyser is the tallest one in the world and blasts over 300 feet when it goes. Alas, it only spurted 10 to 15 feet every few minutes. The coldness created a surreal look to the entire geyser basin......very beautiful. At the visitor center, we watched a film on Yellowstone and Dana Eldridge senior was in the introduction in his National Park uniform speaking for the Cape Cod National Seashore. It lasted about 5 seconds and was over before I realized it was him. Yay Dana!!!!

Today is a repeat of yesterday's weather and we are enjoying hanging out in a warm room. Cassidy and Teslin are doing Math's Mate, Chris is watching the Iowa Hawkeye's get slaughtered by Purdue, and the park entrance is a mile away. We are eagerly awaiting tonight's Red Sox will be interesting to see who goes on to play the Rockies, since we will be in Colorado for the World Series. Oh Boy!!!

Cassidy and Teslin had a great time the last two evenings with a group of kids from Helena, Montana. They had two different 2 hour games....capture the flag and tag. The kids left today, the Hawkeyes are losing, the sleet is howling sideways outside, and Cassidy fears if the Red Sox lose tonight, he will feel "a little depressed". Teslin says capture the flag was the most fun.
Welll......that's all from the Roving Ruges for today......tata! Anny

No comments: