It’s a spectator sport in Yellowstone…wildlife spotting. It’s like winning the jackpot in Las Vegas when you actually get to see the big ones.
Some people set up and wait hours in lawn chairs for an appearance. Others are willing to stand out in the rain in complete gear and huge cameras with their own rain suits covering the glass.
We were lucky, observant, and always searching. We didn’t stand in the rain, or set up our chairs. Fred’s an awesome driver…and doesn’t mind pulling over, turning around, or even dropping me off and later retrieving me if there is nowhere safe to pull over. We take the roads least traveled, and stop often.
We are very respectful of the animals, and super aware of our safety.
The Van sits up high, and I often shoot out the window, using the half rolled up window to brace my camera. Or I can stand on the door step to get some extra height.
Sometimes we have solitude, sometimes there is madness. Even with these chaotic traffic jams that do sometimes occur, all in all, it’s an awesome sport, and everyone wins sometimes.
We slid into Missoula, Montana, on a hot sultry afternoon, to replenish a few necessities, namely dog food!
Then there was the customary gas up, and groceries, along with getting a couple of small propane bottles for the camp stove, before hitting a book store, and finding a “Benchmark” road and recreation atlas for Montana. Love these maps!!!
We traveled west back along I-90 and off into the National Forest to find a campground for our first real official night (many more to come) of camping among the Grizzlies. This campsite was pretty remote with lot’s of Bear Warnings everywhere, but, well, when in Montana, do as the Montanans do.
We’ve learned to be neat, clean, and secure, and actually have found it to be enjoyable knowing that our neighbor could be an 800 pound Ursus arctos horribilis.
The night was uneventful, so we left the campground and headed up to our first stop, The National Bison Range. We took a lovely 21 mile gravel road loop that meandered up, over, down and around hills, bluffs, forests and stream beds. Most of the wildlife (there was much more than just bison) was busy being wildlife and staying sheltered, but we did have fun. The scenery and landscape was Beauty to Behold.
Barely saw this mother black bear chasing her two cubs up the hill after playing in the pond. The cubs were faster than mom, so they didn’t get in the picture 🙂
Or…I was too slow to capture them.
Enjoyed these Whitetail Deer – we are used to Mule Deer, so thought them just beautiful, flashing their white tails as they crossed the meadows!
Savored the sight of Bison on the hills, and a few old lone Buffs, staking out their wallows.
Leaving the range, we continued up toward Kalispell, crossing through the Nine Pipe Wildlife Refuge just as the daylight was going behind the mountains.
We were a little sidetracked by the refuge, so only made it as far as a Wallmart Parking Lot in Polson for this dreamy night.
I’m once again way behind here on this blog, so forthcoming will be posting a few more photo galleries of the parks we’ve visited, and some of the sights we’ve seen, so I can get a little caught up.