DAY ONE - Tuesday, June 20


DAY ONE Ė Tuesday, June 20, 2023

I leave Bozeman around 2PM in clear weather with a pleasant temperature of 57.

The drive over the pass is uneventful, and I find the Yellowstone river along Rt 89 still muddy and full. T he green color in the fields and hillsides reflect the steady amount of rain June has delivered. I notice a small amount of snow still crowning the tops of both Pyramid & Pointyhead.

In Mammoth, the wind picks up and I nearly lose my hat! The high bridge construction still narrows the road to only one lane, but itís the east bound lane now.

Itís almost 4PM when I stop at the Nature Trail lot. This late in the day I find nobody else here, but I set up my scope just to re-familiarize myself with the area. I note all the same markers but find no wolves.

I do see elk, pronghorn and some bison.

I continue east and scope from Lower Hellroaring, finding only elk and bison. Bill W stops by and we chat. He has a ticket for the Conference and wants to hear Cam Sholly speak tomorrow, so we make a plan to meet.

Construction near the Yellowstone River Bridge is in full swing. Itís upsetting to see so many beloved a reas torn up! I know it will all turn out fine in the end, but I feel bad for the first timers to Yellowstone who are getting a skewed impression of this beautiful area.

At Junction Butte I come upon a crowd enthralled by twin pronghorn fawns and their attentive mother.

There are slow drivers in Little America again, but I remembered to bring my patience this trip!

In Lamar Canyon I see that the road crew has made major progress. Half the former hillside is gone. Further east I note the two driftwood logs are still on top of the indicator rock. And at least four feet of that rock is now above the water level. I wonder how long those logs will stay in that spot?

I stop at Coyote and scope a bit, finding plentiful bison, plus pronghorn and sandhills.

Gary radios that he has a bear visible south of the Institute. I find it from here and then run into Paul, who tells me about seeing Junctions earlier this morning. He also says the Shrimps were seen this morning at 480ís crossing.

Lamar Valley is thick with bison, so many that they also cover the hills on both sides.

Just north of Round Prairie, I spot a single, small black bear. A bit further on, at Soda Butte Picnic, a moose poses for visitor photos. And the Barronette fox puts in an appearance, too.

Just before I get to Laurieís I see Bill H, so I stop and chat with him.

Then I unload my stuff, do my exercises and hit the sack early. My alarm is set for 3:45AM!

Today I saw: A black bear, a grizzly bear, bison, sandhill cranes, a coyote, mule deer, elk, a fox, a moose, pronghorn (including twin fawns) and the spirits of Allison, Richard and Jeff.

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