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
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
Cub playing with a stick
Walking through and on deadfall
The flowers in Yellowstone Park were phenomenal!
Wolf in Lamar Valley
Lone grizzly bear
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
Links to my Facebook albums with more pics and videos:
YNP Griz and cub 6/10-13, 2021
YNP/GTNP Misc. 6/10-15, 2021
Cell Phone Pics YNP/GTNP 6/10-15, 2021
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.