DAY ONE - Saturday, January 13

A FRIGID DAY

I leave Bozeman at 9:30AM on one of the coldest days here, ever.

So far, this winter has produced very little snow. But two days ago, an arctic cold front descended and itís predicted to stick around a few days.

My car temp reads minus 18, having been inside my garage. The actual temp is minus 31!

There is also fog this morning, even though the sun is shining brightly at 11:30.

The roads are fine, almost no snow at all. On 89 the flat ground on both sides is bare; snow clings only to the highest peaks.

At Emigrant, my car temp reads minus 15. Itís windy through Yankee Jim. The river looks frozen solid! Wow. There is very little traffic which always amazes me. Itís a beautiful bright clear day but crazy cold.

The only wildlife I see is some mulies in Paradise Valley.

I have my visit with Allison from the high pullout, and add several bighorns on McMinn to my wildlife tally. I continue east and see a coyote at Blacktail Ponds, trotting east. He angles right and crosses the road up ahead.

Little America has very little snow. When I get to Lamar I see several bison herds. I scope from Dorothyís because I like the view. The temp has ďrisenĒ to minus 10 which I find tolerable.

A small group of visitors stand along the road west of Confluence, looking at a pair of eagles in the trees across the river. I was hoping they had otters!

The snow level is definitely higher than when I left in December but itís still woefully low. The bright side is that it will be much easier to find places to park off road when itís like this!

I continue east, enjoying the landscape. Just before Moose Meadow I come upon a white van off the road. The driver is ok but will need help getting out. I ask if he wants me to notify the Silver Gate Ranger for him, and he says yes.

This is the third time Iíve had to knock on the Rangerís residence door to report a snow-stuck vehicle. I compliment him on his Christmas lights.

I pull into Laurieís around 4PM and unload my stuff. We have a good catch- up visit and relax. Rick calls to tell us a new bison carcass has been found south of the road from Picnic. I must have missed it when I went through earlier. I donít remember anyone looking south from there.

Today I saw: bison, a coyote, mule deer, 2 eagles, bighorn sheep, and the spirits of Allison, Richard and Jeff.


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