DAY ONE - Tuesday, June 23


I get a late start but at 3:15 PM I am finally heading out. It’s very warm; 86 in Bozeman. The temp cools a bit as I head upriver and I am grateful!

There is still a smattering of snow up high, though and far more clouds in the sky throughout Paradise Valley than in Bozeman.

I reach the Park about 5:00 and have my visit with Allison. There are many elk in Mammoth (as per usual) and yellow-headed blackbirds at Black Tail Ponds. I stop at S curves to scope a bit. Nothing here. At Lower Hellroaring I stop to watch a single black bear – perhaps one of the bears I saw earlier in June with my family.

Then just east of Elk Creek I stop to watch a black bear sow with one, coming up the hill, trying to cross the road. The crowd is well behaved until the bear gets to the road. Then they go nuts. So I leave before it gets any crazier.

It’s cooled to about 75 degrees now – at 6:08PM.

Just past Yellowstone picnic I reach a massive jam for a black bear with two cinnamon cubs – they hard to see at the moment, up a tree. I wait though, keeping an eye on the big Douglas fir on the north side of the road. Eventually the cubs move enough for me to see them. The sow rests casually near a big boulder at the bottom of the tree. John Kerr is here and we chat a bit, enjoying the cubs' antics.

I check the radio but not much is going on so I decide to make it an early evening in Silver Gate. But I do stop at Footbridge to see a sow grizzly with two on the first finger of Norris. Boy, the bears are really turning out for me this trip!

I get to Laurie’s a little after 7:00 and have a great evening catching up with her.

TODAY I SAW: 6 black bears (including 3 cubs), 3 grizzly bears (including 2 cubs), bison, elk, pronghorn and the spirit of Allison.

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