Here are the last two days of my trip. I'm so glad I went, and I can't wait to go back! The photo link is at the end.
Today was my last full day in the park. I got up early but it was a pretty rainy and cold morning. . I left anyway, as I couldn’t really pass up an opportunity and you never know when the weather will clear. The power had also gone out overnight, so Silver Gate and the Northeast entrance had no electricity. I was on the road, but I felt bad for the people back in town. It came back on before 10 that morning, so that was a good thing!
There weren’t any big predators on the move this morning. I didn’t even see many of the regular pull out watchers. I think several of them had gone to the Lake area to watch for the grizzlies. I was too tired for any long jaunts so I kept going up and down Lamar. I stopped a few times to let people look through my borrowed scope at the Osprey nest by Slough Creek. I was really glad I was able to share that with other people. A bit before noon I decided to go back towards Silver Gate. The weather hadn’t gotten much better and I wanted to go to Stop the Car Trading Post as each time I’d checked in to say hi the owners were out. I had promised them I’d say hi when I came back.
As I was driving I noticed a black shape off to the side of the road. By the time I had slowed down I realized it was Spitfire. She crossed the road in front of me before I could get my camera out, and went over the hill to the den site. I snapped a quick and kinda blurry photo of her just before she disappeared. That was amazing. I’m so glad I decided to head back when I did. Another example of wildlife is everywhere and you never know where it will pop up.
I got back to Silver Gate and hung out at Stop the Car for a while. Once the skies cleared a bit I went back to see if anything was moving. There wasn’t much until I got near Slough Creek. There were some people watching a coyote den off the side of the road across from the pullout. I put up the scope and let anyone who stopped by see the pups playing. On the other side of the valley a grizzly with a single year old cub made occasional appearances. Eventually an elk walked by the den and scared the coyote pups back inside. There was a nice man there with a radio, and he said there weren’t any sighting going on in Lamar at the moment. I passed on my Spitfire sighting, and he radioed it in. After talking with some families for a while it was getting dark and I decided to call it a day as I wanted to return the scope and binoculars.
This was my last day in the park, and it was mainly just a drive out from Silver Gate back to Bozeman. As I was headed through Lamar Valley I noticed some people with scopes and cameras at a couple pull outs. I opted not to stop as I hadn’t done the drive back to Bozeman before and I had a plane to catch. As I was berating myself for not stopping, I finally decided to go back. Unfortunately, I had forgotten that I’d planned to gas up at the Roosevelt service station. I now didn’t have enough to drive back up the Valley, and still make it to the pumps. I resigned myself to missing whatever they were looking at and being happy with all that I had already seen so far. This ended up being really worthwhile. Right before the pumps I saw a couple cars pulled over, but not totally off the road. I figured they were watching the nearby bison. Nope. Just as I was about to pass I noticed a black bear moving out of the sage and about to cross the road. I stopped and let him on pass. I counted that as a more than consolation for not stopping in the valley and moved to the pumps. As I was gassing up I looked across the road and noticed he was still moving pretty near the road. I didn’t think much of it, finished, and kept going. Almost as soon as I got moving again I looked to my right and noticed he was keeping pace with my car. I slowed down and waited to see if he was going to cross in front of me. I’m glad I did, because he veered right on front of my car. I ended up following him up the road, keeping my distance, for a while before he moved to the left side. That was very cool. I had my windows already open, and as I was driving for a short while I could hear him breathing.
That was a great way to end the trip. I didn’t stop for anything else on the way. My car return went easily, as they didn’t notice the “refurbishments”, and my flights were relatively uneventful. All in all, this was a great second trip. I’m so glad I did the shorter trip the year before as it really gave me the bug to go back, and it helped me realize more of what I wanted to see and what I could avoid.