We were a little desperate to see some wildlife so we decided to swing by Yellowstone National Park. We had visited Yellowstone in 2012 so we knew the odds were good of spotting something…at least a buffalo or two! We weren’t disappointed as we started seeing buffalo a few miles outside of the park and once inside the park we immediately saw a herd of elk cows wandering through the streets of Mammoth Hot Springs. There were also two young bulls including the one shown below. It doesn’t take long to get your wildlife fix in Yellowstone!
We followed the road south out of Mammoth and quickly regretted it. There is extensive road work going on and you have to wait to follow a lead car through the work. We sat in line for easily a half hour. It’s a good section of road to avoid unless there is a specific sight you want to see in this area.
Soon we were back on the road and scanning the fields and trees looking for wildlife. In short order we saw a couple of animals moving through a savannah-like field and they were coming towards us. They were two very healthy looking coyotes and they were enjoying themselves by running back and forth and playing tag with one another. I couldn’t get a good picture of the two at the same time, but I did get a picture of the coyote shown above as the first pic in this blog.
A little farther along and we saw several cars pulled to the side of the road with lots of people looking through telescopes and/or using cameras with big lenses. We stopped and asked what they were watching and heard the word “grizzly” so of course we had to stop. It took a few moments to spot the bear but we finally managed to see him and take the picture below. He’s pretty far out so the pic is a little fuzzy, but it’s a grizzly nonetheless!
After watching the bear for about 15 minutes we decided to move along. After all, the purpose of this visit was to spot wildlife and we needed to see more! We were now in the Hayden Valley area and were pretty certain we’d see buffalo. Our expectations were soon met as we saw about 50 buffalo scattered through the area.
We stopped about 5 or 6 times to take pictures of buffalo before moving on and continuing our journey north. We were coming down from Mt. Washburn when Mona suddenly shouted, “Stop the car, I just saw something big!”. She was pointing into the woods, but I couldn’t see a thing. I pulled the car off the road and cautiously got out, doing my eagle-eye scan of the woods trying to see what was there. After some detailed scrutiny I saw it too….a horn or antler or something.
Yep, it’s a bull elk. He was totally indifferent to me and slowly he wandered through the woods until he came to a small clearing where I got the picture below. As I said, he wasn’t paying any attention to me and frankly, I was glad of that!
Now, it was starting to get dark and we decided to head out of the park. We were driving in an 45 mph area and I was speeding along when all of a sudden I spotted something in the road ahead. I hit the brakes and stopped about 200 feet from a big buffalo who was ambling down my side of the road. He didn’t seem to care about us or our car and slowly walked by us with nary a glance. Again, I’m kind of glad about that indifference!
We had only been to Yellowstone for a few hours but we got our wildlife fix; easily seeing seven or eight species and over a hundred animals. And, it was only fitting that the elk cows were still in Mammoth Hot Springs to say good night to us! It’s hard not to love Yellowstone!