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 > Yellowstone, one more time... Lots of pics.

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DWeikert

York, PA

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Posted: 09/19/11 02:57pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

This was my third trip to Yellowstone. The first was in late July 2006 when I was sleeping under the cap of the truck I owned at the time. The second was April 2010 but the only roads they had open then were between the west and north entrance, and the road to the northeast entrance and Cooke City, but the road was closed beyond Cooke City. I wanted to come back in September to try fishing some of the streams it was too hot to get to in July 2006. Temperatures then were getting near triple digit and water temperatures were warming up to the point it was suggested you stop fishing by noon to avoid excessive stress on the trout. I made use of the 2006 trip to hit a lot of the tourist spots so I'm sorry to say you won't see many here, except the one thing I didn't see then, Old Faithful.

Ready to roll
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Yeah, I know. I need to trim the shrubbery.

Approaching the "mountains" of Pennsylvania.
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First of the tunnels on the PA Turnpike.
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Leaving PA, entering West VA.
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Entering Ohio
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Missed the Indiana sign, probably due to the dark and thunderstorms at the time. Entering Illinois.
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Iowa
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The fuel stop I made in Iowa. You have to wonder what some people are thinking when they come up with the names for the mini-mart chain.
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One of several wind farms I passed in Iowa.
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Took a slightly northern route out along the southern part of Minnesota
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Missed the sign going in, but the loooong drive across South Dakota
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A rest area in South Dakota. Actually wasn't near as windy as my previous trips through here, in spite of what the flags may indicate.
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On the Beartooth Highway in Montana, approaching the Beartooth pass.
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A simple sign that says oh so much!
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Looking up the valley from the Beartooth Highway
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From the top of Beartooth Pass. As I recall, the elevation here was roughly 10,400'. Back in my skydiving days I got 40 seconds of freefall before opening altitude from this height.
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Northeast Entrance to Yellowstone
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Sample view while driving through the park.
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I stayed at the Pebble Creek campground. Had hoped to stay at the Slough Creek campground, but it was full. Pulling into Pebble I spotted a doe mule deer walking past the campsite attendant's trailer.
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Looking ahead, I saw where she was headed. Not a bad buck, still in velvet, munching on the greenery in the campground.
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You'd think with the millions of acres in Yellowstone, they wouldn't need to have the campsites packed together like sardines in a can. Then again, I guess in grizzly country there's safety in numbers.
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Note to self, need leveling blocks.

Decided to give myself a chance to acclimate since other than the plane rides to altitude for skydiving I've spent most of my life at 500' ASL, I didn't want to do too much climbing the first full day there so I fished Slough Creek just upstream of the Slough Creek campgrounds. Caught a few here but unlike the stocked hatchery fish back east that tug on the line for a few seconds then roll over and let you reel them in, the fish here fight all the way to your hand then don't stop flopping until they're free so I didn't even try to take pictures. Most fish here, that I caught, were in the 7-10 inch range.
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A little farther upstream
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Remains of a 2 week old elk kill.
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Bear tracks. Not as old as the elk, but not too fresh.
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Anybody that's been to Yellowstone knows about the buffalo jams. Sometimes they're actually caused by buffalo in the road
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Other times, it's just someone wanting to take pictures.
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I get a mix of amusement, frustration and confusion from these people. My best guess is they just got to the park because buffalo, at least in the Lamar Valley, are not hard to find.
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Next day I decided to take a hike up the trail to what's referred to as the first meadow of Slough Creek.
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Saw here the elk carcass I spotted the previous day was first found (killed?) on 8/24 which means it was 2 weeks old when I stumbled on it. Doesn't take long for a kill to get stripped to the bone here.

I started up the trail and after a few hundred yards I spot the big brown something coming around the bend.
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Keep in mind this pic was after I decided to fish out the camera or the bear spray. What I saw first was less than you see of the second buffalo still around the bend.

Fortunately, it only took a few seconds to recognize it as a pair of buffalo coming down the trail. I decided to give them the right of way and get far enough off the trail that I (hopefully) wouldn't be considered a threat.
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The view after climbing the trail for about half a mile.
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Further on the trail you get to the first meadow.
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I kept to the trail to get to the upper part of the meadow.
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While fishing here was good, these fish see a lot of fisherman. Not since my teenage dating years have I had so many rejections. A hopper pattern is supposedly the go to pattern here once the terrestrials start landing on the water, but I couldn't even get them to come up and look at one. I talked to a few other fisherman that reported the same thing. My guess is they had seen so many hopper patterns float overhead they just ignored them now. Once you can at least get them to come up and look at a fly, even if they reject it, you know you’re getting close. When you finally do fool one, it's just that much more rewarding. A nice Slough Creek Cutthroat
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The opening of this net is 12"x16" to give you a perspective.

The view from the streamside. You can tell by the mirror surface on the water there was barely a breath of wind, which just gave the fish that much more time to inspect the fly you were offering.
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Was a little surprised to see this guy hop into the creek. I'd read that the climate change was threatening frogs in the area but somehow I didn't expect frogs to thrive in a climate that got as cold as it did here. Turned out even though they're becoming threatened, frogs were pretty plentiful here. Many times I had to pause mid-step to keep from trampling one.
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I'd been seeing buffalo tracks in the gravel all day, but while approaching a good place to cross the stream I looked down and realized, that wasn't a buffalo.
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Not "too" fresh, but no doubt less than 24 hours. I became a little more vigilant at the "Hey Bear" shouts when approaching blind spots. Although, there were enough other fisherman and hikers in the valley that I didn't really expect a bear to be hanging around. Still, kept the spray handy and started talking to myself a little more than might be considered normal. [emoticon]

Hiking back the trail later in the day I spotted a fox eying a potential dinner in the brush.
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Whatever he was watching apparently got away and he continued down the trail toward me.
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He literally walked within 10 feet and stood there looking at me.
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I snapped a ton of pics while he milled around the trail in front of me. Anywhere else this would've been amazing, but in Yellowstone, he was probably waiting to see if I'd throw some food. I didn't. I finally decided to take a couple steps toward him to see if I could get him to move along and he turned a trotted down the trail and around a bend ahead. I kept walking and a few seconds later he came back around the bend and stopped and looked at me. I swear it was like he was saying, "are you coming?". I stood there fishing my camera back out and he sat down in the middle of the trail until I started walking again.
[image]
He then disappeared around the bend and that was the last I saw of him that day. Although the next day as I hiked back to fish the lower part of the meadow, there was my buddy perched on a log.
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A pronghorn watching over the valley.
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Got a better site in the campground for the next night. One for the "view out your camper window" thread.
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While heading to Old Faithful on my last day there, a herd of buffalo attracted some tourists. It's amazing how many people think the world is a petting zoo? Half of those dots are people heading out into the field to get closer to the 1500+lb wild animals. Any wonder buffalo are responsible for more injuries than any other animal in the park?
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Hot springs around Old Faithful
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VERY hot spring
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Old Faithful blowing off some steam.
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Forest fire on the other side of Yellowstone Lake. This fire started naturally so they were letting it burn itself out.
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Previously burnt out section. Note how fast the undergrowth recovers. It's been reported that animals often prefer recently burnt out sections of forest over the older growth areas. No doubt better grazing here than with a full tree canopy overhead.
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The view leaving the park via the east entrance into Wyoming.
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In the words of Pink Floyd, "Into the distance, a ribbon of black..."
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When I went home this way in 2006 I passed a sign that I didn't have time to explore. This time I did.
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Wish I knew more geology. It's be interesting to know when each of those different layers were laid down, or just what causes the coloring.
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After about 5 miles back a road that appeared to go nowhere
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You find-
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That's a quarter used for a size comparison. These tracks were created 167 million years ago, though they don't know what dinosaur made them. Kind of an interesting experience to literally walk in the footsteps of a dinosaur. The stride was a good 12-16 inches longer than my normal 6'2" stride.
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Also interesting that they let you walk right down on the surface with the tracks.
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Can't help but wonder what still lies buried under the hillside.

Just so you remember what I was driving. [emoticon]
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Not only was I the only one there, but looking at the registry, it appears one vehicle per day for the last three days had been there. Or at least signed the register.

Heading up the Bighorn range they occasionally have markers at different rock layers identifying the age of the rock.
[image]
Never even knew there was a Pennsylvanian Era (290-330 million years ago)

Smoke from a forest fire near the Bighorn Pass. Perhaps it was just the time of year but every other time I've been out west it seemed the winds were always blowing. But as you can see from how the smoke is just rising, it was amazingly calm this day as the smoke actually rose up to form a cloud,
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At the top of the Bighorns it flattens out to form a plateau.
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The view just before starting down the eastern slope.
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But eventually, you have to go down the other side.
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Even though the Duramax/Allison doesn't have a true exhaust brake, the engine brake was enough to allow me to comfortable coast down the other side. In fact, many times I had to accelerate because it was slowing me too much.

Finally, the (nearly) full moonrise and sunset over Wyoming.
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Miles driven 4443. Fuel used, 318 gallons of diesel. Worst mileage, 12.3 mpg (head wind in South Dakota). Best mileage, 16.9, but that was only half a tank with half of that spent driving 35-45 MPH in Yellowstone and the other half the downhill run to the East entrance of the park and into Cody WY. Best all highway tank 15 mpg with a quartering tail wind across Indiana and Ohio. Average MPG, 13.97.

Hope you enjoyed the trip, I know I did.
Dan

* This post was last edited 03/19/12 02:34pm by DWeikert *   View edit history


Dan
2008 Chevy D/A 2500HD ECSB
2010 Northstar 8.5 Adventurer


Bigfootchevy

Bancroft, Ontario, Canada

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Posted: 09/19/11 03:10pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Excellent pics. Looks like you had a great trip. Thanks for sharing.

Paul

Jay Pat

Round Rock, TX

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Posted: 09/19/11 03:20pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great Trip report!!! Thanks!!
Pat


2010 Ford F-350 SRW
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AZ9

Phoenix, AZ

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Posted: 09/19/11 03:20pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Really enjoy to read your trip report, thank you for sharing!





weymard

NORMANDY

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Posted: 09/19/11 03:35pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Beautiful landscapes, and a very cool "meeting" with the fox! Thanks for sharing.


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France, Normandy

1mtnman

Colorado

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Posted: 09/19/11 03:52pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

There is nothing that compares to the Western Landscape. Thanks for sharing pictures of your travels.





kitesurfer

nor cal

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Posted: 09/19/11 04:00pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nice pics, liked the close up of the Fox and of course who doesn't need a stop at the local Kum and Go!

Reader1

Ohio

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Posted: 09/19/11 04:17pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thank you for the smiles we had looking at your pictures. We have been to Yellowstone three times, and each time, it feels like we've arrived home.

nycsteve

NY

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Posted: 09/19/11 04:25pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks for the pics and report.
Any idea if its to hot already in June?
Thanks again.





Bubtoofat

SE Michigan

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Posted: 09/19/11 04:27pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Love it! Reminds me of our summer trip. I like how you showed the signs of all the states you went through.
Mike


2005 Chevy 2500HD Crew 4X4 6.0
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Hellwig Bigwig, Ride-Rites, Fastguns, KYB Monomax.


"No matter where I am, I can't help feeling I'm just a day away from where I want to be."
Jackson Browne

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