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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Don't Fence Me In


Shaggy, Shedding, Bison of the Day
 Here is a look at our Final days in Yellowstone.
This angry fellow, caught mid-hop, was literally, hopping mad.
Had a right to be: an idiot driver had literally run him off the road
Cow Elk graze in a pretty patch of meadow in south Yellowstone
"Mom"
"What?"
"I gotta pee, and those nosey humans in the car are watching me!"

"Mom! Can can we go nurse in the meadow?"
"No, baby, we have to keep up with the herd"

"But Maaaaaa... I'm hungry! The other calves get to nurse!."
"The other calves will have to wait till we get where we going - just like you do."


"Aw Mom, I never have any fun"
"You're skipping, that looks like fun to me, so, move along baby boy!"
 Those Mama cows don't take no guff from their youngins'. Besides frisky calves, we also found lots of places in South Yellowstone where I got my fill of Rocky Mountain wildflowers.

Pink "Few-flowering Shooting Stars" and white "Rocky Mountain Phlox"

Elegant, dipping "Glacier Lilies"

The exciting and deadly "Death Camas" - every bit of it poisonous
 One day while I was hunting down wildflowers on a patch of ground, we saw a 'critter car jam" up the road. We spotted what I thought - in my excitement - to be a white wolf, striding through the grass. Joann barely had the car slowed down when I was out of the car, excitedly 'racing' (i.e., huffing & puffing) up a berm, to see this lovely white Coyote, still decked out in its winter coat, out on a mid day stroll.

Prettiest Coyote either I or Joann ever laid eyes on.
The Yellowstone leg of our summer peregrination is coming to a reluctant close. We left our adorable weensie cabin at Old Faithful, and took our time winding north to our room at the elegant Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel.

Sheep Eater's Cliff - a rare moment that it was not covered in happy, climbing brats children.
Just north of the Sheepeater's cliffs, there is a long drive through a rugged, granite lined mountain pass.
Looking north, through the pass towards Mammoth Hot Springs.
A look back up the pass, north of Sheepeater Cliffs.

One of numerous impressive outcroppings along the pass
Finally you arrive at Mammoth Hot Springs Terrace - a nice drive that always holds a surprise or two.

On drive along "Grand Loop Road" at the top of Mammoth Hot Springs

New Highland Terrace area

Orange Spring Mound

Another view of Orange Spring Mound
Between wonderments were patches of wild Larkspur
Close-up of winsome Larkspur

Alkalie coated scenery, dotted with snags
Along the terrace is a wonderful view of Mammoth Hot Springs - a bustling tourist spot.

Looking over Mammoth Hot Springs Terrace to see the big Hotel, cabins and Ranger housing below
Now, when I booked our stay several months ago, there was only a room with a single Queen sized bed available. No cabins available, nada. So, I took the room, as much as I love Joann, I really would rather have my own blankets, know what I mean? Anyway, when we checked in at the hotel I asked, and was told there was a cabin available with 2 rooms, 3 queen sized beds and a bathroom! Hurrah! We had to return for our rooms in an hour so we took a drive down to the far norther bits of Yellowstone.

The northern most bit of Yellowstone, the stone entrance gateway to Yellowstone.
Enjoyment? I should say!
We briefly left the park and drove in to the sleepy Montana town of Gardiner. The local high school football field was just littered with sleepy, ruminating elk cows.
Elk Cows grazing along the 50 yard line
During our brief sallies into Gardiner, we hunted for Rocky Mountain Mountain Sheep along the drive south, but never had an luck there. No sheep! But plenty of geese along the river.
Mr. & Ms. Canada Goose take their brood of six out for a stroll. Can you spot all six?
When we returned to the Hotel, I was just about to check into our rooms when this conversation took place.
Hotel Host: "Yes Ms. Miller, we have your cabin ready... 2 bedrooms, 3 queen beds and if you look at the map, you are located right next to the restrooms."
Claire: "Excuse me... what do you mean, "right next to the restrooms"? I was told have a private bath in our cabin, right?"

Ok, now imagine as I said the lst bit there, my face was beet red, and there was a bit of frothing at the corners of my mouth. I was upset.  It seems the clerk who earlier booked the room for me missunderstood what I meant by "We have our own bathroom, right?"

AAAAAARRRRRGGGGHHH!  Turns out the clerk assumed easy walking distance to a share bath was very-nearly-almost the same thing as us having 'our own bathroom.'

Ok, I made the teensiest, not-to-many bones broken, scene. Didn't mean to, but in my defense, at my age - I mean I'm 60 years old - when I wake up at 3AM and need to pee, I do not need or sometimes even have time to get dressed, and hike, to no damned 'shared' bathroom.

Much fuss later and TADA!  Sure enough, the hotel had a room - 2 queen beds AND a private bathroom in reserve. It turned out to be even cheaper than our original reservation so score!

Our adorable, and hard fought for private bathroom. SCORE!
Oh let me tell you how one's own toilet, that doesn't require dressing and a hike, means so much when you're not in your twenties any more. Joann and I celebrated with a lovely dinner that night in the Mammoth Hot Springs restaurant.

The Mammoth Hot Springs Restaurant's oh-so-elegant dining room

View from the restaurant dining room - the Ranger & staff housing
We enjoyed our meals so much, we had to return for a second meal there before we left Yellowstone all together. But! Before we left, we drove south, on the eastern portion of the park to view the Lamar Valley and see what was over there for the viewing.

There were vast meadows, with bison - only one here though, and lots of Pronghorn: 2 ewes in the foreground

This buck and his does enjoy a little tufted grass for their afternoon snack

Do not often see Pronghorns anywhere near water - so this lolling buck by the river was a treat
Another buck chews his cud with lis little harem
Oooh, and some nice scenic spots to peruse along the park's eastern reaches.
Throughly enjoyed our stay in Yellowstone, and myself, I could stay there forever, but I did promise to eventually get Joann home, so tomorrow we'll continue on our way to Eastern Wyoming. Yeah, its a shame we can't just stay in Yellowstone, but you know what Willie says, Don't Fence Me In.


That big wooly bugger beat us up and stole our lunch money. What a grouch! Hum... kind of makes you wonder what that little tree did to rile the big fellow uplike that, doesn't it?

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