August 21, 2014

Utah Bear

Riding in Tabby Mountain Wildlife Management Area, we were surprised to see bear tracks.  
Bear tracks, rear paws

Bear tracks, front paw
From the size, this was a mature black bear, maybe 5-6 feet long.
Bear trail on left side of photo
The bear followed the same sandy road we traveled.  The line of tracks is on the left side of the photo.
Boss on high alert
Boss hates bears.  When he gets the scent in his nose, he gets hyper alert and nervous.  In this photo, he was testing the air, but he only got really nervous later, when we must have passed close to the bear.  When Boss smells bear up close, he inhales, then blows out in a loud snort.  Only bear or sheep get this reaction from him.  Don't ask me why sheep fall into the same category as bear in his mind.  Fortunately, we did not actually see the bear.  I'm afraid Boss would have done a 180 and left me in the dirt!
On the way home, the sky darkened with storm clouds.  We managed to reach the trailer before more than a few raindrops fell.

August 17, 2014

Lamar River Trail

In Yellowstone National Park, we hike along the Lamar River trail, where the pronghorn and the bison play. Or snooze,
or roll in the dust, as the case may be.
Our destination is Cache Creek.
The views along the way are unbeatable,
with the wildflowers in full bloom.
Back on the Lamar, Steve catches quite a few cutthroat trout.
He claims to have caught about 20 trout on one grasshopper imitation fly, the middle one in the group above.  It does look a little worse for wear, compared to the new ones.
Steve and a couple of fisherman share trade secrets on the river.
I took the photo of them from the road, where I waited for Steve to return.  As I sat there, a bear jam formed, with scopes pointed at the terrace directly above the fishermen.  A couple of grizzly rolled in the grass and lazed around, unaware of the fishermen, who were also unaware of them, a good situation for all.

August 9, 2014

Hiking Slough Creek

We first hiked Yellowstone's Slough Creek trail in 1977.
Slough Creek, first meadow
It hasn't changed much in all these years, except for an increase in fly fishermen.
Slough Creek, second meadow
Second meadow, reflection
The meadows are as beautiful,
the wildflowers as abundant.
Fish on!
The cuttthroat trout are still wary and a challenge to catch.
Every year, ducks raise their families in the river.
We've never seen anyone at the first meadow's ranger cabin, but we did meet a ranger on the trail this time.  Even though the Lamar River is more productive, fish-wise, the Slough Creek hike remains a favorite for its beauty and the memories.

August 4, 2014

Living Wild in Yellowstone

In Yellowstone National Park, a bear sighting causes extreme traffic congestion, fondly known as a bear jam. This time, we saw a black bear and cubs wandering through the sage near Tower Junction.
One curious cub stood on his hind legs for a better look at the tourist crowd.
A cub scampered up a tree.  The camera shot caught his legs standing on a branch.  He quickly jumped down and followed mom and his siblings into deep brush.  The bears were crossing behind a picnic area when sighted.  A ranger showed up and cautioned some of the more brazen tourists (who were already traipsing out into the sage) by shouting, "Do not pursue the bears!"  The tourists complied, albeit reluctantly.
Above is the osprey nest we saw last year, built in a dead tree snag.
The osprey came back to nest again, but this time they had bad luck.  The snag fell down, nest and all! One chick remained when we viewed the fallen nest last week. A tour guide told us the nest had fallen just a few days before.  The odds of the chick surviving on the ground until it's old enough to fledge (probably another week or two) must be low.
A coyote ghosted past a bison in Lamar Valley.
Then he trotted on through the herd.  The young bison looks as if he's giving chase.


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