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YNP/GTNP Trip Report June 10-15, 2021

Billings, Montana
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
Level Contributor
13,329 posts
1 review
4 helpful votes
YNP/GTNP Trip Report June 10-15, 2021
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I just got back from our annual 2nd weekend of June trip to Yellowstone Park. This 5 to 6-day trip has been a tradition for my oldest grandson (Braeden) and me for many years. This year, his 11 year old brother(Brogan) tagged along with us.

We had reservations for Madison Campground for the first two nights and Mammoth Campground for the 3rd night. I was unable to pick up cancellations for a campground inside Yellowstone for the last two nights so was planning on driving out of the northeast or east entrance to boondock somewhere in our campervan. After driving out to Lamar Valley the morning after staying at Mammoth Campground, we decided to go down to the Tetons for the last two nights to see what was going on down there.

We left Billings a little before 8 am Thursday morning and drove over Beartooth Pass to get to the northeast entrance. A little before the ski area, we found a herd of 16 mountain goats. We saw the same herd a little bit north of the West Summit on our way back over Beartooth Pass Tuesday afternoon, as well as a lone mountain goat by the ski area. Great way to start a trip!

Mountain goats on Beartooth Pass

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=4467742363244084&set=a.4467795843238736

https://www.facebook.com/100000250929411/videos/a.4467795843238736/4467747609910226

https://www.facebook.com/100000250929411/videos/a.4467795843238736/4467742243244096

We got through the construction zone pretty quickly on Thursday, but had a wait of about 35 minutes on Tuesday on the way back home.

Our wildlife sightings in Yellowstone Park for the 3 nights we were there were pretty good considering it was very warm the last 2 nights/days. The wildlife sightings in Grand Teton Park were not so good.

Final Yellowstone Wildlife Count (3 days): 9 grizzly bears, 15 black bears, 2 wolves, 1 moose, bison, elk, pronghorn antelope, sandhill cranes, and deer.

Final Grand Teton Wildlife Count (2 days): 2 foxes, pine martin running across the highway, 1 bull elk, bison that are almost always by the Elk Ranch Flats area, and a what seemed like a bazillion mosquitoes.

Traffic was significant in both parks…way more than any June I’ve experienced in the past. Lots of people continuing to not use pullouts to let traffic safely pass them and lots of people NOT looking before they pull out into traffic. There was a bad wreck on the east entrance road on Saturday while we were at a bear jam. Thank goodness there was a bear jam and a ranger and a wildlife management person at the jam, as there is no cell service in the area. A lone car rolled over 3 miles east of where we were watching the bears. Cars started driving up and telling the ranger that there was a really bad car wreck down the road. The ranger called it in and about 30 minutes later 3 ambulances and additional LEO vehicles went by. The last we heard on the radio scanner was the 2 ladies in the car were being transported to Cody in stable condition. A wrecker came back by us with their rental car and it was totaled. Reports from the first cars reaching us, said the people were still stuck in the car when they drove by. From the looks of the car on the wrecker, it looks like they rolled a couple of times. If the bear jam hadn’t been going on and the ranger/bear management people weren’t there, people would have had to drive all the way to at least Mary Bay before getting decent cell service.

Yellowstone Park Highlights:

Meeting up with Dave (dads2vette) and his son again (we spent time with them on our May 21-16th trip to the Teton and Pam (Dobby). We missed running into thbergs and her hubby as our itinerary just didn’t line up with theirs very well.

Finding the grizzly sow with her 1 year old cub east of Fishing Bridge that we hadn’t seen since last June. The cub has grown so much and they both blessed us with a great viewing experience on 3 different days.

Playing/wrestling with each other

https://www.facebook.com/100000250929411/videos/a.4467601829924804/4467500633268257

Cub playing with a stick

https://www.facebook.com/100000250929411/videos/a.4467601829924804/4467525703265750

Walking through and on deadfall

https://www.facebook.com/100000250929411/videos/a.4467601829924804/4467576876593966

Nursing

https://www.facebook.com/100000250929411/videos/a.4467601829924804/4468040446547609

The flowers in Yellowstone Park were phenomenal!

https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=4458904137461240&set=a.4451376764880644

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=4458904614127859&set=a.4451376764880644

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=4458904904127830&set=a.4451376764880644

Wolf in Lamar Valley

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=4467763139908673&set=a.4467795843238736

Lone grizzly bear

https://www.facebook.com/100000250929411/videos/a.4467795843238736/4467768543241466

Grand Teton Park Highlights:

We decided to do some Milky Way photography at the T. A. Moulton Barn on Mormon Row Monday night. I didn’t stay up as long as my oldest grandson did (2:30 am), but was around 12:30 am to look at the spectacular views….simply gorgeous! When he came back into the campervan, he showed me one of the photos that he took, on the back of his camera and all I could say was, “Wow!”. I’m looking forward to seeing his other photos when he gets them uploaded to his camera.

We stayed up to do some sunrise photos. It was amazing how many people arrived at the area around 4:30 am to set up for the photo opportunity. By a little after 5 am, the parking lot was full.

Fox by Signal Mountain Lodge

https://www.facebook.com/deb.roesler/videos/4467109899973997

Teton Sunset

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=4460617567289897&set=a.205905996094430

Links to my Facebook albums with more pics and videos:

YNP Griz and cub 6/10-13, 2021

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.4467601829924804&type=3

YNP/GTNP Misc. 6/10-15, 2021

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.4467795843238736&type=3

Cell Phone Pics YNP/GTNP 6/10-15, 2021

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.4451376764880644&type=3

*******************************

When we were driving back home over Beartooth Pass on Tuesday, we were able to watch and take some pics/videos of the Robertson's Draw Fire that started south of Red Lodge on Sunday afternoon. On Tuesday afternoon/night, the fire exploded due to extreme temps, high winds and very low humidity. As of Wednesday morning, it is at 21,000 acres. The following is the link to the Facebook album I have with some of the pics/videos that I took.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.4465570563461264&type=3

Deb

22 replies to this topic
Atlanta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
42,697 posts
534 reviews
174 helpful votes
1. Re: YNP/GTNP Trip Report June 10-15, 2021
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Thanks for sharing your trip report Deb! Your photos are always amazing.

It seems the warmer it gets the less wildlife activity there is especially in the Tetons.

On our last June visit the mosquitos were awful in the Signal Mt. area.

Billings, Montana
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
Level Contributor
13,329 posts
1 review
4 helpful votes
2. Re: YNP/GTNP Trip Report June 10-15, 2021
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Thanks PeachBelle 🙂

The unseasonable heat wave this last week definitely affected our wildlife sightings in both parks.

The mosquitoes were so bad in Grand Teton Park that we weren't able to eat any of our meals outside the campervan during the 2.5 days we were there. We ate all of our meals outside the campervan or with the sliding door wide open in Yellowstone Park.

Deb

Boise, Idaho
Level Contributor
3,101 posts
75 reviews
50 helpful votes
3. Re: YNP/GTNP Trip Report June 10-15, 2021
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Thanks for sharing. The weather was warm.

Billings, Montana
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
Level Contributor
13,329 posts
1 review
4 helpful votes
4. Re: YNP/GTNP Trip Report June 10-15, 2021
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I downloaded the photos that my 9 year old grandson took with my little point and shoot camera. Considering that the camera has been dropped a few times in the last couple of years by both him and his younger sister and has been glitching lately, I think he did pretty darn good with it.

Grizzly bear nursing a yearling cub

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=4468539989830988&set=a.4468562909828696

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=4468544039830583&set=a.4468562909828696

Grizzly bear and cub

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=4468544219830565&set=a.4468562909828696

Fox in Grand Teton Park

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=4468547049830282&set=a.4468562909828696

Mountain goat on Beartooth Pass

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=4468540319830955&set=a.4468562909828696

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=4468546896496964&set=a.4468562909828696

Yellowstone Flowers

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=4468544353163885&set=a.4468562909828696

When we were taking pics of the mountain goats on top of Beartooth Pass, Brogan told me that there was a flower in the water stream next to the road. I didn't know what he was talking about until I uploaded his pics and saw this photo. I like how the photo turned out.

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=4468546959830291&set=a.4468562909828696

Deb

Edited: June 17, 2021, 9:47 pm
Columbus, Ohio
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405 posts
27 reviews
5 helpful votes
5. Re: YNP/GTNP Trip Report June 10-15, 2021
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Nice trip report! It was very warm by the time we got to the Tetons which must have been about a week before you. We saw a grizzly the first evening, but by the next few days we didn't see much wildlife. Luckily we missed out on the mosquitos!

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334 posts
6. Re: YNP/GTNP Trip Report June 10-15, 2021
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He did a great job Deb. The mom and cub are great.

We just watched the fox on its morning walk by the lake, 2 days in a row. Has a definite routine, lol.

Carolyn

Atlanta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
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42,697 posts
534 reviews
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7. Re: YNP/GTNP Trip Report June 10-15, 2021
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Grandson's photos are great!

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17 posts
8. Re: YNP/GTNP Trip Report June 10-15, 2021
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Great Pics and video by both of you! I have to ask, how close to wildlife were you, and what kind of camera and Lens are you using. I have a 100 - 300 mm for Digital Nikon, and iPhone 11.

thanks

Billings, Montana
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park
Level Contributor
13,329 posts
1 review
4 helpful votes
9. Re: YNP/GTNP Trip Report June 10-15, 2021
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>>>Great Pics and video by both of you! I have to ask, how close to wildlife were you, and what kind of camera and Lens are you using. I have a 100 - 300 mm for Digital Nikon, and iPhone 11.<<<

Good questions!

I have a Nikon P1000 which is a bridge camera with 125X zoom which is an equivalent of a 34-3000mm lens. It's a great camera.

My little point and shoot is a Sony20x zoom that fits in the palm of my hand. It has consistently gotten great videos and still pics, as long as you don't zoom it all the way out (the same is true for the P1000). If you watch this video until the end, you will get a good idea about the reach that the little point and shoot has:

https://www.facebook.com/deb.roesler/videos/1568377603180589

Regarding distances from the wildlife in the pics/videos I linked in the trip report:

Video #1 (Playing/wrestling with each other)- About 80 yards according to the ranger and bear management person working the jam.

Video #2, 3, and 4- About 150 yards down a steep hill. These photos were taken with my cell phone of where we were in relation to the bears.

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=4455050997846554&set=pcb.4455051777846476

https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=4455051694513151&set=pcb.4455051777846476

The wolf was about 100-120 yards away. The lone grizzly bear was about 90 yards out. The fox was about 20 yards from us, but walked right next to a motorhome and within 5 feet of the people standing in front of it right before I started taking a video of it.

The mountain goats on top of Beartooth Pass are one of a couple different herds that get right next to the road. We were probably about 40- 50 yards from them. At the end of June/beginning of July, they will start bringing their babies up near the roads to dig at different mineral licks. When they do this, they will sometimes come within 30 feet of the guardrail at the pullout.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2587719101246429&type=3

Deb

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2,903 posts
10. Re: YNP/GTNP Trip Report June 10-15, 2021
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Thanks so much for your TR. I Love the photos and videos. Can't wait to be out in the wild . It looks so beautiful. I just want to hug those bears.

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