Yellowstone #3

Yellowstone #3

Days 8 to 10, based in Cooke City, Montana — looking for wolves in all the wrong places

Day 8: We were on our way after breakfast and drove through the foggy Hayden Valley where we were stopped by another bison jam. As we got higher, the mist cleared and at the top of the hill we parked and walked up the fairly steep trail. There were lots of lovely chipmunks along the way and there were band-winged grasshoppers everywhere. We got up to a view point and then, reluctantly, headed back down again. Back on the road, we moved on to the Chittenden Road where we had lunch while admiring the view. Further down, at Tower, we stopped for some ice cream and a look at the waterfall.

As it was rather hot we drove on to the Soda Butte lodge in Cooke City to check in and have a rest. On the way through the Lamar Valley we came across a fairly tame fox which we photographed. We had an early dinner and headed back to the Lamar Valley looking for wolves again. We understood that the Institute was where it was all happening, except that it wasn’t. We were told that wolves had been seen there regularly, including that morning.

Day 9: We set off back to the Institute before dawn hoping again to see wolves. There were plenty of people already there waiting but as the sun rose there was no sign of wolves. Eventually we headed back for breakfast. Afterwards, we set off in the opposite direction, towards Beartooth Pass. We stopped a few times on the way and had superb views of Pilot Peak. We stopped for a loo break at the ‘Top-of-the-World’ where we were told that there were mountain goats at the ski lifts further up. We parked at the highest point of the pass and, sure enough, there they were. After we’d had our fill of mountain goat viewing we drove a little way down and stopped for lunch on a hillside. After a slow drive back we had an early dinner and tried again for the wolves. Alas, no luck but there were plenty of other things to see.

Day 10: Another early start and we had all dressed warmly but it was all just to see a couple of Coyotes wandering past. As it got lighter we moved on to another spot where there were plenty of birds and our leaders got rather excited when they spotted some Bobolinks, a type of sparrow, a first for them on their Yellowstone trips. We decided to have breakfast at Roosevelt Lodge and then went on to Mammoth where we drove round the travertine terraces and then walked on the boardwalks. We all met up again at the bottom for ice-cream. On the way back we drove along the Black-tail Deer drive.

< Days 5 to 7, by Yellowstone Lake — Yellowstone National Park

Day 11, at Old Faithful — exploring the geology >

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