What to do, what do to?

Sunrise in Gardiner Canyon
Sunrise in Gardiner Canyon

Yesterday was absolutely gorgeous with much warmer temperatures and a kinder, gentler sky with clouds that diffused the blinding of the sun.

But, from Lamar to Blacktail, no wolves to be seen.  We spent some time looking for the Junction Buttes but they never did show themselves.  I believe that the Prospect Team saw a couple of animals and maybe even found their pack later in the day but can’t be sure.  With the loss of two alpha males, the packs will be in upheaval, particularly with the partial blending of the 8 Mile and Prospect.  Rick did make a point of letting me know that 755 was back in Hayden with his Lady Love and her sister, which is a good place for them at this time of year.  Once the elk hunt ends life will be easier but not completely.

And so, what do do?  Go home and work on the computer with warm temps?  Well, let’s compromise and take a hike before heading home.

Yesterday’s hike was just to Wraith Falls which is a nice, quiet easy hike with a little climb at the end up towards the ugliest falls I have ever seen.  I’ve been up there twice and they lacked inspiration both times, to the point that I did not raise the camera to them.  But, it was a quiet time in the forest, on a newly rebuilt trail, looking at the various tracks and listening to the sounds.

I saw a flash of movement and my heart skipped.  Me, I was hoping ermine or pine marten but got squirrel.  Patient and sort of friendly squirrel that was surrounded by its winter storage cache.

Squirrel with cache evidence
Squirrel with cache evidence
Only a small portion of its cache
Only a small portion of its cache

So, I learned something about tracking the squirrels of the forest in winter, look for the signs of their storage and eating.  This squirrel had a huge amount of cones stored in various places along some logs.  Oh, speaking of logs, I tried to get closer and slipped with my butt landing hard.  It was an easy fall and I laughed at myself.

The squirrel watched my movements.
The squirrel watched my movements.

The squirrel, chubby in its winter coat, kept its eye on me but did not take off, even when I slipped and fell.

Peekaboo
Peekaboo

And then he came closer for a better look, hiding behind the snow.  Might not have been a wolf or bear (BTW, I did see bear tracks on this hike as well.  Fairly fresh.) but he kept me entertained.

Plein Air Artists at Lava Creek
Plein Air Artists at Lava Creek

I finished my hike and began to head towards the barn but was thrilled to see some Plein Air Artists out enjoying the warmer day, doing some paintings at Lava Creek.  This is not a scene that one sees often in Yellowstone, so definitely worth a shot.

elk near Mammoth, against the massive wall of Everts.
elk near Mammoth, against the massive wall of Everts.

 

Then I saw some ears just past the High Bridge and decided to get out and walk some more.  When I came upon these elk they were resting and quickly got to their feet to watch me.  I snapped a couple of shots and left, hoping that they would continue to enjoy their day.  And, I followed some very fresh and massive grizzly tracks back towards the bridge.  So, the bears are still out.

Pronghorn Buck at the Bison Range
Pronghorn Buck at the Bison Range

Now, I definitely did not see this pronghorn buck yesterday as this image was taken several years ago during a trip to the Bison Range in Montana.

But, what is significant about the image is that Idaho Fish and Game asked me to let them use the image, for free, on interpretive signs about sagebrush.  They promised to put my name on the signs.  I wrote back and told them that I would feel like a hypocrite for giving an image to Idaho Fish and Game, given that I am a strong wolf advocate.  But, I did offer to give them an image of a beautiful wolf to use on interpretive signs throughout the state – one that explained the true facts about the wolves.  Seeing as how it looked like wolf education was very much needed in Idaho.  I am sure they didn’t find my note very funny but I don’t think that their misinformation and the killing of packs because they eat elk is very funny either.  My offer was dead on serious and I would never feel good about donating  images to the wildlife managers in my second home state.  Not a state that I am proud of for sure.  Though, it really is quite a beautiful place that should be preserved for everyone.

 

My little dig at wolf politics for today.

4 thoughts on “What to do, what do to?

  1. Glad your butt plant was not damaging. I had to look at the Peekaboo shot for a bit to figure it out. Very cool.
    To be asked about sharing one of your photos is neat, but really happy you said no and offered a wolf photo with truths attached. Hope they take you up on that one.

    1. Thanks for caring Jenni. They actually wrote back and told me that they aren’t doing a wolf sign now but if they decide to do one they will take me up on the offer.

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