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I spent 2 days in Cody, then started my daily trips into Yellowstone mostly to photograph wildlife where-ever encountered. Driving through the East entrance, over the Sylvan Pass well before dawn, I first encountered a young grizzly on the highway through a very narrow canyon. The grizzly ran down the road in front of me and would not or could not veer to either side. After it tired I managed to pass giving as much room as possible, and last saw him in my rear-view mirror hoofing it back the way we came. A few minutes later at the crack of dawn, I encountered a small herd of bighorn sheep rams filling the middle of the highway, practicing their head crashing battles. All good omens for Yellowstone.
I stayed 6 days in Gardiner, the original entrance to Yellowstone 120 years ago. This is the town which almost was wiped out 2 years ago with the massive flooding. The government has built a new entrance road way above the Yellowstone River; it is one of the most tortuous winding 10% grade roads I have been on.
My first days were spent arriving daily at the Lamar River Valley at sunrise – the valley this time of Spring is filled with several thousand Bison spread over the 20-mile length. It also is home to two packs of wolves, pronghorn, mule deer, elk, moose, black bear, numerous grizzlies, coyotes, red foxes and many water birds. I saw many more grizzlies than in the past, but had fewer wolf sightings. The first day 4 wolves visited a day-old elk carcass; one, with a radio collar, sat on the opposite bank of the Lamar River and looked exactly like my childhood German shepherd, Roxy. A coyote also tried the left-over kill, then sauntered within feet past two massive seated Bison bulls. I think they did not notice it because normally they will drive off any canid.
Three days ago I moved to West Yellowstone, from where I have been driving through Hayden Valley. In the Valley and once on the road near Gibbon Falls I have been lucky to see sow grizzlies with cubs. These sightings guarantee cuteness and draw huge crowds when close to a public road, as these were.
The photos below are almost all wildlife pics. Later. Dave
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