DAY ONE - Saturday, June 15

RAIN MAKES GREEN

I leave Bozeman around 4PM. Itís a slightly warm 76 degrees and a typically gorgeous day. Bozeman is very, very green due to what has been a very cool and rainy spring.

As I near Livingston I can see rain up ahead. The mountains have a bit of snow on the tops and look just great. Itís especially delightful to see them given my recent travels in New Zealand. The mountains of the South Island are indeed beautiful, but I think Montanaís are even better!

I enter the Park just after 6PM. Itís overcast & drizzling and the temperature has dropped to 58. It feels great to me. I am not a fan of hot! There were elk just north of Yankee Jim and there are elk and pronghorn just inside the gate.

The Gardiner River is roaring and rushing. I find a lot more traffic than I like, but this is normal for June. I have my visit with Allison and smile at how green her resting place is right now.

Next I stop at Blacktail Ponds where I hear the wonderful rusty-hinge sound of two yellow-headed blackbirds. This spot looks incredibly beautiful. I see geese and four goslings.

I decide not to scope at the Nature Trail since there is no one here scoping and I have lots of food in the car needing a fridge.

Phantom Lake is more phantom than lake but itís very green and marshy. There is some standing water in the eastern corner.

I get through the tower area and in to Little America. Then I meet a big bison jam at Curve. Well, itís more of a car/photo op jam. The calves are just irresistible. Babies. After patiently waiting a while, I see a chance to drive past it and I do, drawing a few unhappy honks from other drivers.

Then a ranger car appears, lights flashing. At first I think heís gonna yell at me, but no, he is just trying to get the jam moving.

All the mountains here still have snow and look absolutely gorgeous!

Lamar looks amazing, a green jewel.

Just before the Soda Cone I see that the spring flood has gouged out a huge chunk of the bank, leaving a Volkswagon-sized pyramid of ďformer bankĒ sitting separate from it, an island in the creek.

There is a courting pair of black bears at Round Prairie west. A large cinnamon male & smaller black female.

I see a lone mule deer in the owl meadow.

I unpack in Silver Gate and check in with Laurie by phone. Oh boy, am I glad to be back!

Today I saw: 2 black bears, 2 yellow-headed blackbirds, bison, mule deer, elk, geese and goslings, pronghorn, and the spirits of Allison and Richard.

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