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June 15, 2015 – Babies, babies, babies!

June 16, 2015

Today was baby day at Yellowstone National Park. Though we saw a lot of wildlife today, our most special memories are of the babies. Early this morning, we saw a momma black bear with her three cubs right next to the road. We watched safely from the car as they wrestled, climbed trees, chased each other, and caused a large traffic jam because everyone wanted to watch them play. We even got some video of the cubs in action!

baby bears

Playing black bear cubs

A short while later, we saw four sprinting baby pronghorns chasing each other and frolicing in the meadows. Pronghorn can reach speeds of 60 mph, an adaptation most likely evolved in response to faster predators now extinct. Nothing in Yellowstone today can catch a healthly adult pronghorn. Pronghorns are unique among horned animals. Most horns are never shed but grow bigger each year. Pronghorns shed the keratin sheath that covers the boney core of their horns annually. We decided that we might not have been as dedicated as the pronghorn mother, who eats the feces of her babies to hike their scent from predators. Happy Mother’s Day (belatedly), for all your hard work, Mommy Pronghorns.

Other highlights (from before 9 am) included two sandhill cranes and their young colt (the term for a baby crane). We watched the colt practice flapping its wings while its parents fed in the grasslands. Immediately across the road was a herd of bison. The soft reddish brown babies (calves) alternated between nursing, resting, and running. Bison travel in large herds of cows and calves; they will protect their babies by encircling them in times of danger. High up on a mountain ridge we spotted a nanny mountain goat and her little white kid. We were impressed with its balance and dexterity as it navigated the rocky precipices high above us.

group looking through binoculars at a cliff face

“Look!!! A baby mountain goat!” (very, very high on the cliffs)

But our closest wildlife encounter of the day happened while we were taking a break from our hike atop a ridge overlooking the Yellowstone River. Unexpectedly, a momma bighorn sheep (ewe) crested the ridge behind us with her triplet lambs. The lambs were extremely curious, seeming to inch towards us when their mom looked away. But with a loud snort the ewe rounded up her lambs and dashed down a steep gravel embankment towards the river below.

 

Bighorn sheep lambs

Bighorn sheep lambs

The new life in Yellowstone reminds us of the importance of rebirth and renewal as we wrap up one school year and look to another.

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24 Comments leave one →
  1. Dottie permalink
    June 16, 2015 7:54 am

    Viewing two sets of triplets in one day! I thought triplets were rare for bears and sheep, and you saw both in one day. Savor these experiences.

    • meganchesser permalink
      June 16, 2015 9:04 am

      We will have lots more baby photos when we get back! Laura

  2. lizbaird permalink
    June 16, 2015 1:40 pm

    What a great day!
    What is the temperature like out there?

    • meganchesser permalink
      June 16, 2015 2:42 pm

      Hi Liz, the highs have been in the mid 60’s- lower 70’s and lows in the upper 30’s. Perfect weather so far. A little rainy today, but the rest of the week looks great!

  3. Jess permalink
    June 16, 2015 7:02 pm

    Darla wants to know about how old the baby bears are.

  4. June 16, 2015 9:04 pm

    Hi Wendy, I hope you are staying comfortable. I know you packed for winter! Take me lots of pictures, your mountain goats look like my baby sheep. Could you hear any of animals, even with an echo off the mountain side?

  5. Amanda Parnell permalink
    June 16, 2015 10:27 pm

    Hey Wendy! I hope you’re having a great trip. It looks like you all chose the perfect week to go temperature wise as it’s HOT here in NC. Today my thermometer read 101 degrees!! Enjoy the rest of your trip and I continue to look forward to the updates. 🙂

    • June 19, 2015 12:20 pm

      Wow! We are glad that we are here and not there. We are now enjoying about 65 degrees, dry and sunny. But we do need sunscreen!

  6. Miracle Matthews permalink
    June 16, 2015 10:52 pm

    Tanya, Congratulations to you for getting a chance to expirence a once in a lifetime opportunity. I am so happy for you because not a lot of people get chances like this. I know YOU CAN DO THIS! You just have to believe in yourself. I have faith in you and all the other ladies that are on this trip. Have you in my PRAYERS!

    • meganchesser permalink
      June 19, 2015 12:20 pm

      Miracle, I can’t wait to share my experiences with you when I get home!!!

  7. Miah Matthews permalink
    June 16, 2015 11:11 pm

    I hope you are having fun at Yellowstone. Send lots of pictures of all of ever thing you see there. I love you and I hope you enjoy your trip!!!!

    • meganchesser permalink
      June 19, 2015 12:20 pm

      Can’t wait to see you when I get home! Having a great time!!!

  8. Judy Almond permalink
    June 17, 2015 4:22 pm

    Hi Wendy….looks like you guys are having an awesome time!!! Beautiful photos! Would love to be there with you. Can’t wait to hear all about it!

  9. Mike permalink
    June 17, 2015 10:17 pm

    Laura, Gabe wants to know if it’s harder to hike there because of the elevation.

    • June 19, 2015 11:43 am

      Yes! We huffed and puffed on small slopes, especially on the first day or two as we were getting used to the elevation. We’ve been over 7000 ft most of the time here in Yellowstone.

    • meganchesser permalink
      June 19, 2015 12:23 pm

      Yes! But I know my little mountain man could do it! Love and hugs!

  10. Dee Dee permalink
    June 17, 2015 10:29 pm

    Wow Coleen – I want to visit Montana now! Send me lots of photos please. I loved seeing the Cubs and the kids. Loved reading the blog too. Enjoy and remember that I want to hear every detail! Dee Dee & Arne
    PS. How are the boots??

    • meganchesser permalink
      June 19, 2015 1:39 pm

      Guess what Dee Dee? I was in bison parade!

      • Lindsay permalink
        June 19, 2015 3:54 pm

        Sounds like everyone is having a great time. Can’t wait to hear the stories and see the pictures of the bison parade. What do you throw in a bison parade? Bison beads!!

      • meganchesser permalink
        June 19, 2015 10:57 pm

        Bison chips! Hehehe! We saw some fresh ones today!

      • Lindsay permalink
        June 20, 2015 12:57 am

        See them, leave them, don’t bring them home!!!

      • Dee Dee permalink
        June 20, 2015 3:42 pm

        Coleen, Thanks for the postcard! Mom wants to know 2 things. Were you leading the parade (did you stash a baton in your backpack)? And have you seen Yogi and Boo Boo yet? Soak up everything! It just sounds like the best trip – Enjoy!! Can’t wait to catch up next week — Dee Dee

  11. Kim Linker permalink
    June 18, 2015 7:48 pm

    Love the pictures! Keep them coming!

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