We LOVE the Bearclaw Bakery! (Next to the Super 8 hotel in Cooke City, MT). We had breakfast there again this morning. It was snowing (light) this morning then stopped by the time we left for the Park around 7:45am. It was cloudy most of the day this side of the Park (east) but on the west side (Gardiner) it was beautiful.. blue skies, sunny.... Tomorrow's forecast is mostly sunny....
We started the day driving through Lamar Valley and saw nothing...then we come upon another coyote (snow/ice on his face) in the road. He looked at us (unfazed by us) , posed and then went into the snowy sage brush looking for something to eat. We watched him as he followed a trail (probably his from previous days). It so happens we positioned ourselves at the end of that trail...he came right at us, we snapped away, he walked right past us (within 10 feet) making his way down the road (east). Jared was already down the road and the coyote just walks towards him, Jared kept walking away, the coyote kept walking his way....The coyote then went to the left side of the road and continued on his merry way. We got some really nice images of him. We surmised the coyote was headed to the elk carcass which was 0.3 mile down the road.
We continued on to Gardiner. We saw some cow elk along the way. I really want to get some bull elk. Maybe tomorrow? We saw Lamar Canyon Pack 755M and his new Mollie Pack girlfriend resting through a spotting scope. I am told the rest of the Lamar Pack is in Wyoming somewhere (out of the Park). Everyone is expecting 755M and his GF to mate this season and start a new Pack this year.... Hopefully. So far, we have had no close encounters with wolves yet.
Once in the Gardiner area, we noted no big horns in the canyon. We came across a huge herd (30-40 at least) of pronghorn (just before leaving the park) and they stampeded across the road and went up on the hills to feed. We got some nice images of these guys. We proceeded out of the Park and went down a little known road and found more bison, more pronghorn (these pronghorn were along the road and never budged as we drove by) We snapped more pronghorn images. We continued on the road and came across a lone bald eagle sitting in a tree by the Yellowstone River. Snap. Snap. Snap. He then flew off and was joining by another bald eagle plus we saw two more bald eagles soaring for a total of four...
We then ventured further out of the Park up another road and found some beautiful horses in the snow, a young mule deer posted for us with a snow / mountain back ground and then we took some overlook landscape images of Gardiner / the mountains around Gardiner. It was sunny, blue skies and the cloud formations were great! We had lunch at Subway. Snapped a pic of 4 mule deer in someone's front yard by the road. Very tame mule deer.
We made out way back to Lamar and again, saw some cow elk but not much otherwise....until we came across a stunning big horn sheep ram in Lamar in the perfect setting! I mean this boy was a "Gorgeous George"!
No golden eagles seen today but I want one of those too!
After the big horn ram encounter, we moved towards Cooke City and came across four (4) moose at Pebble Creek. Two of the bulls shared a friendly moment then they started sparring. You could hear the antlers clacking as these two toyed with each other. The image in this blog post is the "Moose Smooch" before the sparring. It was low light, cloudy. The posted image was taken with the Canon EOS 1D Mark IV, 700mm, ISO 3200, f 5.6, 1/1600 and + 2 plus EV. I have number images of the sparring. Fun stuff! The moose encounter ended our day.... with a great dinner at the Bistro Cafe in Cooke City.
3 more days to go!
Can we top the last 3 days?
Stay Tuned for Day 5 tomorrow!