DAY ONE - Saturday, November 13

ALONE AGAIN, HAPPILY

Iím on the road to YNP at 10:30AM. Itís overcast and 53 degrees, which is awfully warm for Bozeman in November! This whole year, the weather has been consistently bizarre.

Bozeman had a short morning snowstorm on Thursday, which may have confused a young male moose that was spotted early near the Radio Shack store on 19th near I90. Most likely he came from the Springhill Road area, but authorities had to tranquilize him before hauling him back north.

That snow melted away by Friday, leaving bare ground once again. Today itís quite windy so I get off the highway and drive the frontage road to Livingston.

Once in Paradise Valley I see there is very little fall color left. Only a few cottonwoods retain their golden hue. The Absarokas have a bit more snow than when I last saw them, but nowhere near winter level. Still, Pyramid and Pointy Head look nice.

I see elk and pronghorn north of Yankee Jim and more elk near the Sinclair station.

All the interior roads in the Park are now closed and shoulder season has arrived. Gardiner seems empty; vacancy signs on most of the motels.

I have my visit with Allison and then drive through Mammoth, finding more elk than people. Thatís a switch!

As I proceed east, itís thrilling to finally feel like Iím the only person here. Itís such a relief after the overflow crowds of fall. This is how I felt when I first fell in love with Yellowstone.

The day continues to be windy, with only partial sun to warm things, but Iíll take it!

At Hellroaring I see Jeffís parked van. He seems to be taking a nap, so I decide not to wake him.

Floating Island Lake is frozen over with a nice topping of snow and lots of interlacing tracks. Very pretty.

At the Ski Lot I check on the hibernating black bear. Yep, sheís just visible at the mouth of her ravine den.

I find lots of bison in Little America. Druid peak is nicely crowned in snow.

Along Soda Butte creek I find some lingering fall color in the willows; orange, purple and red. These colors are even more pronounced in Round Prairie.

Just as I cross into Montana the snow flurries begin. I unpack and spend a pleasant evening catching up with Laurie & Dan.

Today I saw: 1 black bear, bison, mule deer, elk, pronghorn, and the spirits of Allison and Richard.


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