May 28th Off to Idaho and Yellowstone National Park

We left the Utah canyons after almost three weeks.  What an experience.  Each one was magnificent in its own way.  As we move on, I’m trying to decide which was my favorite and I’m not sure I can.  For true overwhelming magnificence, I think I would say Monument Valley tops the list.  I also would say that was my least favorite because of the harsh conditions.  Every day we came home with grit in our teeth and hair that felt like broom straw.  Dust really is a four-letter word, and red dust is the worst!  I have tremendous amount respect for the people that call that place home.

But I still remember first driving into Canyonlands and being amazed—our introduction to what lay ahead, and I loved Dead Horse and Kodachrome, and… and….   It’s been fantastic!  

I’d love to know, what was your favorite so far?

 

We left the Utah canyons with gray skies again—had more snow showers over the passes, on to Provo, 

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Then to Island Park, Idaho, a remote area on Henry’s Lake about 20 miles from West Yellowstone.  A neighbor at a RV camp told us about this place—quiet and off the beaten path.  They weren’t kidding!  It really was in the middle of nowhere.  Beautiful with a surprise! We arrived with 4 inches of snow on the grass and more falling.  Hello!  It’s almost June!!!

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The next morning it was sunny, almost 60 degrees, so we rode our bikes to Henry’s Lake, one of the primo trout fishing areas in the country.  The fields still had a frosting  of snow and we found a huge ice ledge on the edge of the lake—a remnant of the long winter.  I don’t think many people live in this area year round.  The winters must be brutal.

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Lake

This really is a place with non-stop weather changes.  Pellet-size hail again at night, but bright and warm the next day.  It sure kept us guessing.  The roads were never a problem, so we headed to West Yellowstone to check out the area where we had snowmobiled almost two years before.  We found some of the places we remembered covered with snow-packed roads–now it had a more routine flavor.  But it snowed and sleeted again.  Mother Nature can’t make up her mind.  We did stop to made arrangements for fly fishing lessons before heading into the park.

As I mentioned, we were here January 2010.  That was glorious and we wanted to visit some of the same areas inside the park this time, but we didn’t get far before stopping.  We immediately found new life springing up everywhere—like mothers and baby elk beside a lake.

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An osprey we had watched hunting

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Bison herds still down from the high meadows for the winter.  They were next to—and in– the road.

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From the car window…

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Herd

Bison cows stopped a few feet from us and seemed completely oblivious to visitors as they nursed their calves. 

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We moved on and drove the full loop around the geyser basin

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and made it to Old Faithful right at showtime!

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As we moved through the upper elevations the park still had a thick snow pack; it looked to be at least six feet in some places.  And Yellowstone Lake was almost tolally covered with ice.

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In the mountains we stopped with a jam of cars and caught a brief glimpse of a mamma grizzly who had two cubs hiding behind the rise–not a great shot, but this was not a time for an up close and personal encounter…

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As we were leaving the park we came across an elk with a tracking collar…giving us a few choice words

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And a young brown bear was playing hide and seek in the brush–he won!

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Tomorrow, we’ll be going back to Yellowstone to try our hand at fly fishing.  We had no idea how great the park would be this time of year!  

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