Chimene was pretty bummed because it always seems that I have a show going on at anniversary time. We have never really gone anywhere or done anything besides dinner or a movie on the anniversary so this one was going to be a big deal, we thought.
After Friday's rehearsal, I talked to the director and he said I didn't need to be there as he was going to be rehearsing different things than what I was responsible for. Chimene and I decided to do the Yellowstone trip but on Saturday only. It would have been fun to spend the night in the old historic hotel, but we weren't about to miss Mother's Day with the kids to do it.
On the way to Yellowstone, we stopped at Swan Lake because there were three trumpeter swans there. I've always liked swans. The last time we were through, there was only one swan on the lake. Swans always remind me of my Dad.
|Three trumpeter Swans on Swan Lake, Island Park, Idaho|
I have a colleague that calls The Lamar Valley in Yellowstone, "America's Serengeti." That was where we decided to go to see the animals. The largest wild herd of bison in the world makes its' home in The Lamar Valley. Where there's food, there are predators.
There are two routes from Norris to the Lamar Valley, the northern route through Mammoth and the southern route through Canyon. The southern route was closed because several areas of the road had washed out in the spring, so we chose the north by default. We stopped at Gibbon Falls. I've seen Gibbon Falls hundreds of times and yet I never tire of it's grandeur. I usually see it during the late summer, so seeing it in the spring with all the runoff was a treat.
|The Hot Chick at Gibbon Falls|
|Gibbon Falls in the spring|
|Me at Undine Falls|
Throughout the park, from about 7 Mile Bridge on, we saw large herds of bison. I counted over a hundred individuals in a small herd in the Madison River valley. I saw several much larger herds as the day passed. I estimate that we saw over 1000 bison yesterday.
|Small herd on the Madison River|
|A couple of big fellers near Madison Junction|
|An aggressive bull bison at Mammoth Hot Springs|
|Bison calf in the Lamar Valley|
There was a rock in the Madison River, around a bend in the road that when we were little, my sister mistook for an elk. Forever after, that rock has been called the "Jolene Elk". I decided to take a picture of it this time.
|The "Jolene Elk"|
|Scruffy elk at Mammoth|
|Bull elk with velvet coated antlers|
|Bighorn sheep near the Lamar Valley|
|Sow grizzly bear and two cubs|
|Black bear cub|
|Black bear sow|
It was very neat to see the bears and wolves. That was dinner. The dessert came when we were on our way back and saw a little red fox. He was unconcerned about the people who had stopped to watch him and proceeded to run around the hillside and pee on everything. We had hoped to see a bear and had figured we'd see a wolf, but the little red fox was completely unexpected. I don't think I've ever seen one of them in the park before.