One of my favorite things about going camping and getting outdoors is seeing the wildlife. It's exciting and sometimes a little scary. When I was a kid, we went camping a LOT. Yellowstone was a frequent destination. In fact, I was there when it was burning in 1988. I've seen buffalo, elk, deer and moose. I've caught site of wolves and coyotes. But in all those years, I'd never seen a bear, just the tracks they left behind after sniffing over our campsite. For your viewing pleasure, I've collected the pictures I took of the various forms of wildlife on this particular trip. Please hold your applause until the end.
Buffalo seem like bigger, slower-witted versions of cows. But they can be very aggressive. Just ask the buffalo that was clogging traffic but threatened to gore any car that tried to pass him. Imagine my horror when an Asian mother was instructing her two kids to go stand by the grazing buffalo so she could get a good picture! I was glad there was a park ranger on hand to stop them from getting too close!
Elk are a fairly common site, especially in the hour between dinner and the kids' bedtime. We were staying just outside the North Entrance, so every evening we passed through Mammoth, a small touristy town by the Mammoth Springs. And every night, we slowed to a crawl to join the other tourists gawking at the elk that took over the grassy lawns. Elk tend to ignore people but get to close and they head for the hills. Then there was this guy:
You might notice through our bug-spattered windshield that he is running down the center of the road - right towards us! He had been cantering along until we rounded the corner. We slowed to a stop but he started running, even lowered his antlers to charge our van! At the last minute, he decided against attacking the Japanese auto industry and veered to the side. Still...it was pretty freaky!
For the past 29.95* years of my life, I'd never seen a bear outside a zoo. On this trip, we saw three (and one of those was rumored to have two cubs but I didn't see them). THREE!!! This one was close enough to the road that the Man isn't even using the zoom here. Grandma and Grandpa G, I bet you're wishing you hadn't passed on going to the Petrified Tree!
One evening, on our way back home, traffic was horrible. If there's not a park ranger and someone sees something remotely interesting, then people start stopping on the road, leaving their cars to go and stare. They don't always know what they're looking at but they don't want to miss a chance to see a chipmunk. Such was the case then. Except these weren't chipmunk. They were wolves. At least one adult and more than a couple pups. It was fun to watch the pups jumping and leaping, playing with each other. What? Can't you see them in the picture? Okay, hang on...
Had to put my mad Photoshop skills to use. Try not to envy my talents. I really wish I had thought to use the movie function...
Last but not least, my favorite large animal: the Moose.
Here we see him in his natural habitat, calmly holding still, as if he takes no notice of us, as if he weren't even alive! Okay, so this is a stuffed moose I got for Baby. We didn't get to see a real one. I was kinda bummed about that but, hey! Now I can say we were charged by an elk and saw BEARS!! Real bears! No "teddy" or nothing!
*Because for all intents and purposes, I will forever remain 29.95 plus shipping and handling.
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