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This turned out to be a once in a life time experience. On Tuesday, our first whole day, we planned a trip along the Grand Loop Road. In our first stretch of 14 miles from the West Gate to Madison Junction, just trying to get to the loop road, there were bison, moose, deer and then on another leg of the journey, bear and elk; it was an exciting trip around the upper grand loop.

Navigation note: West Yellowstone is just outside the West Gate of Yellowstone NP. The road from the gate, leads to the Gand Loop Road, which is basically a figure 8, or actually more like 2 boxes stacked on one another. To get anywhere in Yellowstone, you have to take the loop road. The West gate road intersects the Grand Loop road at Madison Junction.

IMG_2518IMG_2520You can always tell when there is wildlife about, all the traffic stops and people get out of the vehicles to gawk. At one point, there were buffalo on both sides of the road, just ambling along beside the highway. There was one male, taking his frustration out on a small tree, trying to rub off some of his winter coat. The tree survived, but just barely. The first leg of the trip was from the West Gate to Madison Junction, which is on the grand loop. This stretch was 14 miles. Between the buffalo and moose, I think it took us close to an hour.

IMG_2551IMG_2549Once we got to Canyon Village and had a quick look around, we followed the North Rim Road along the north bank of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone for a view of the Lower Falls. It was totally awesome. The rain put a damper on the trip as it was not fun to walk to some of the overlooks in the rain. But then everyone was in the same position, walking around with cameras tucked under their coats or shirts.

With the combination of rain and construction on the Canyon-Tower Road, the truck looked like a white elephant that had been rolling in the mud. It took me an hour the next day to get it looking white again.

IMG_2559IMG_2563We stopped at Roosevelt Lodge along our way around the Grand Loop Road, and then on to Mammoth Springs. It was so busy at Mammoth, that we couldn’t find a parking spot, so just continued on. On our way back to Madison Junction, we came across a male elk, sitting in a meadow in all of his glory, just taking the occasional munch on some grass.

With all the wildlife just happening to congregate around parking spots, I have 2 theories:

a). The park rangers put food out near parking turnouts so that the wildlife will congregate at these locations.

My preferred theory: b). Early each morning, the bears, elk, moose and bison have a scheduling meeting and decide who is going to meander around which parking turnouts and then after the meeting, they shuffle off to take their shifts entertaining the tourists and seeing who can make the tourists do the stupidest things (all observed over the course of 3 days) like running along behind their car or leaping from rock to rock in a stream and falling in, all just to take a picture.

IMG_2573I think the bears have it down to an art, meandering through a meadow with their rear ends pointing to the road and counting how many stupid bear butt pictures the humans take.

 

Just a thought!

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  West Yellowstone and Yellowstone NP Day 1  
  West Yellowstone and Yellowstone NP: Day 2  
  West Yellowstone and Yellowstone NP: Day 3  
  West Yellowstone and Yellowstone NP: Day 4  
  West Yellowstone and Yellowstone NP: Day 5 and 6  
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  Kerrville TX and NHOG 2013  
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  Sanger TX Spring  
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  Junction City KS, Spring 2013  
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