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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Leaving Yellowstone

It was time to leave Yellowstone, but that Grand ole' Park didn't want us to leave without little send off - to guarantee we'd take a bit more of it with us in our hearts. So as Joann drove us south towards the Tower Roosevelt Junction, we stopped to see what a backed up car critter break might all be gawking at. What a surprise! My first ever, in 5 Yellowstone visits in 22 years, Yellowstone Yogi, a Black Bear!
This Black colored Black Bear rummaged in a meadow
Digging around for roots and grass n' grubs
I was so excited! Who would have thought I'd see nearly a dozen grizzlies in Yellowstone and only one little Black Bear! OK, not so little, but still, Yellowstone built it's popular standing with the public based on lines of Black Bears begging for handouts from incoming cars full of tourists.
Time out for a little photo op - have to please the crowds

Checking out his belly - yep... still empty

Back to the hunt!
I was starstruck by that Black Bear and all the sorrowful we were on our way out. Oh well! There will be a next time.

We had one more little treat before we left the park, finding a pair of bull Elk, resting on a hillside slope. Amazingly enough, these were 2 of only four bull Elk we saw for our entire visit to Yellowstone.  Perhaps the bulls were sequestered away somewhere without people for reasons lost on me?

Both bulls had still growing, velvet covered antlers.

This fellow was a bit farther behind in his antler growth.
You can bet both of these bruisers will be sporting humongous antlers about a month from now. They'll be using them in earnest rut by early September.

Soon we out the easternmost Yellowstone gates, and smack dab in the middle of snow flurries. We wondered what we were headed for. Originally we were supposed to drive onto Montana, and the Battlefield of the Little Bighorn National Monument, but suddenly that seemed outlandishly far away so we decided to head towards Keystone South Dakota. But I'm getting a bit too far ahead - and ambitious.  We had to drive right across Wyoming first.

A beautiful and long stretch of roadway

There was plenty of snow on the distant hills

Some formations just seemed to crying out, "Hey! Don't I deserve
to be a National Monument? I'm pretty darned impressive!"
Sometimes in the middle of what seemed to be nowhere, there would be some little tourist attraction. Unfortunately we didn't have time for any of them.  I was dubious if this spot contained the real T-Rex Sue. A little googling turned up that if it did contain anything of Sue - the world's most complete T-Rex - it was only in picture form. The real 'Sue' resides in the famous Chicago Field Museum.

Fossils? Yes. Sue? Nope.
We traversed one mountain pass that was head high with piled up snow.


We were seemingly in the middle of  nowhere when, to my pure delight, we spotted a long leggedy critter, not far off in a copse of trees.

Isn't she a beautiful girl!

We were feeling a bit sore in the saddle at the end of the day, however scenic, it was quite a drive. Then, after a wrong turn or two, and some fancy road navigating, we were driving toward a small town we had decided to spend the night in Hulette.

Enroute, close to Hulette, Joann shot this fleeting glimpse of one of the locals, hot-footing it for the hills.

Feets don't fail me now!
We wanted a peek at our goal for tomorrow morning and it seemed we would never get it. Every time we turned a bend, we expected to see it looming in the distance, but it wasn't there. Maybe the whole thing had been a  publicity stunt? Naw... they don't make national monuments out of publicity stunts. The sky darkened and it was heavily overcast. Where the heck was it? Then suddenly - there it was!

The Devil's Tower!
Oooh, can't wait to get closer.

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