And then we got to yellowstone. It was hot and dry, and beautiful. Things were going pretty well. We found a site on the edge of the campground, bordering a medium-to-small meadow with a (very) meandering creek. I spent the afternoon reading a very bad science anthology of stories written in the '30s compiled and commented on by Isaac Asimov. Very bad science fiction.
At one point I heard funny noises in the meadow, and I peeked out my tent, only to see about 3 bison, slowly making their way through the grasses. I smiled and read more bad science fiction.
Then when my parents and brother came back from touring the Norris Geyser basin, I was refreshed and they were all tired, so they napped, and I explored out meadow. This entailed following the creek, winding back and forth, and trying not to fall into the occasional swampy bits. I found a place shallow enough to cross, so I hiked up my pants and did so. There was a bison skeleton on the opposite bank. They have spikey upper vertebrae and huge shoulder blades. Shoulder blades should really be called shoulder plates.
We did a lot of driving around. Yellowstone is big, and there are distances between things.
Animals I saw in yellowstone:
Lots of Bison
A Coyote or Two
ravens, canadian geese, ducks, magpies, least chipmunks, ground squirrels, and deer.
Then we went Backpacking
which really hardly counted, seeing as we hardly went anywhere, only went out for 4 days, 3 nights, and did the most hiking on our "rest day"
The second night we stopped about middling elevation on this particular mountainside, meaning it was Strawberry Country
which was fortuitous, because the camping cheesecake we had would have tasted awful without the strawberries James and I plucked up.
Whilst hiking up the mountain, we saw quite a bit of bear sign, mostly tracks and scat. Our first two days we only ever saw black bear tracks (characterized by clawmarks closer to the "toes" and a more curved toe pattern). Sleeping out in grizzly country is tough. Harder than sleeping is getting up in the night to piss. Bring the pepper spray, just in case
And for good measure, here's James showing the proper response to a predatory grizzly
that and beating the shit out of it. Nearly all predatory grizzly attacks are fatal. All cases in which the victims "play dead" are. And I'm about to go into a grizzly lecture. Oh well. Point is, a grizzly's startled by you and charges, hold your ground. If s/he then attacks, play dead, don't move except to stay on your stomach, don't make any noises. Now, if a bear's been following you, circling your camp, or entering your camp, be prepared to fight for your fucking life. Because he sees you as food. /lecture
and more pictures:
Crossing Pebble Creek
Waiting for 20 minutes While Mom takes off her shoes, puts on her sandals makes dad carry her pack, crosses the creek, takes off her sandals and puts her shoes back on
and Coyote Print
The backpacking was really fun. Pretty stressful, what with being with family all the time, but it was good to get out there again. It'd been too long.
On our hike back to Civilization, we encountered a Grizzly Print which presumably had been there at least a week. Which, seeing as this was an in-and-out trip, we must've passed
I'm glad we didn't see this on the way in. It would have made sleeping even harder.
The we came back and saw Thermal Features
of course there are more pictures, and of course we saw Old Faithful. Twice. But at this point I'm tired and in a bad mood. So! there's what you get of my trip.a bad mood. So! there's what you get of my trip.