The interior roads of Yellowstone started to open up for the 2008 summer season on Friday -- April 18. The roads from Mammoth to Canyon to West Yellowstone and into Old Faithful are now open to the public. Stay tuned though, it’s snowing pretty hard in Gardiner right now, on April 20th.
I was in West Yellowstone Friday night and drove out for a look around on Saturday and – well – Yellowstone does not disappoint.
I headed to Old Faithful and parked over towards the Lodge then walked by Old Faithful, ran into some other locals and watched a Grizzly Bear that was over on the other side of the Firehole. I was shooting some video of that when I heard someone over by the General Store yelling “You might want to get back in the car.” Then I realized he was yelling at me or, at least me and some others. I turned around and there was a Griz on the road, past the store headed towards the Inn and not as far from me as I would prefer. I walked oh-so-deliberately back towards Old Faithful. A car passed the bear, the bear turned around, and I got a shot of him walking back behind a snow bank. Bear number one was out of sight by this time but both were foremost in all of our thoughts out there walking the geyser basin. Spotted a few bluebirds back near Old Faithful.
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There’s an impressive amount of snow in the park. We’ve been in a drought around here for awhile so the snow is terrific to see.
I drove north and was stopped just south of Midway Geyser Basin by a Bison calf and cow in my lane. The calf was just sorting out how to walk. A great sight to see especially having lost half of Yellowstone’s Bison herd over the winter. It’s hard out here to be a Bison. It’s always some kind of magic to see the calves – there were several near Madison Junction as well.
Canyon has a whole lot of snow – the registration building for the Lodge is pretty much buried.
The store has been largely shoveled and the parking lot has a few trenches through it but it’s still pretty wintry out there. I soaked up the scene at Lookout Point for a few minutes before a woman walked up who was a bit misty eyed. It’s a powerful spot, and she’d never been there before. She said she’d been dreaming of coming to Yellowstone for 74 years. The next day, today, would be her 74th birthday. I gave her a hug then left her alone so she could soak it up by herself.
Great medicine – these parks.
Bears, Birth, Dreams and, when I got home – Death. A small deer died next to my house while I was away. It’s been the roughest winter in awhile out here. Animals that get through the crux of the winter often don’t make it by much. It was over 70 here yesterday and the green is coming on fast. It’s in the 20’s today and snowing and blowing. Just when it seems the good times are here for the wildlife they fall heart breakingly short.
Yellowstone – it’s all happening out here. Early season employees are arriving, snow is melting and the good times ARE coming for wildlife and summer employees. The cycle begins again.