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Another spectacular day…

June 21, 2017

It was an early morning start this Tuesday the 20th and we hit the road at 5 AM. We set out for the northern range of the park using our spotting scopes and searching for early morning creatures. There were a few baby bison frolicking and a wolf on the horizon.

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Afterwards, we made our way out of the park and headed out to Silver Gate to meet up with Dan Hartman. As soon as we parked, Dan rushed us out of the van with a beckoning hand to climb up the hill to his house and look out his window for a treat. Smack dab in front of the window for his gallery we saw an awesome pine marten staring right back at us. This was no ordinary pine marten and we would soon come to find out that Dan Hartman was no ordinary Montanan. The pine marten that we were so lucky to see was the son of the pine martin showcased on Planet Earth. (The Forest Episode. If you have not seen it, stop what you are doing and go watch it. Go!). It turns out Dan has worked with PBS, BBC, National Geographic, and many other publications. In fact, tomorrow PBS is airing a special on Yellowstone featuring much of Dan’s work: The Great Yellowstone Thaw.

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Dan and the two vans lumbered on up the mountains and headed to the Beartooth Pass. Along the way we spotted several different types of birds and a few mountain goats. We were curious about the pink snow surrounding us as we continued climbing to higher elevations. Dan assured us that we were seeing “watermelon snow” that was created from algae on the surface of the snow. We stopped so that we could smell this “watermelon snow” and see if we could recognize the fruit. No fruity aroma was detected – perhaps it just wasn’t concentrated enough? Dan regaled us with tales of close encounters with grizzlies, observing owl nests for weeks, and a few special characters he has met while living right next to Yellowstone.

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Red-naped sapsucker nest that Dan found

After heading down the mountain and enjoying dinner in Cooke City, we headed back to the park and were surprised with a couple of moose (timely, as today’s blog post is being brought to you by the one and only Moose Group) and a red fox. It was another spectacular day in and around Yellowstone and we are all excited about the fun adventures ahead.

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At the very end of the day, even after this blog was written, we drove back through Lamar Valley an got to experience a remarkable sunset, practically surrounded by a large herd of  bison. What an amazing way to end the day!

~Moose Group

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. C. Knott permalink
    June 21, 2017 3:14 pm

    From Mrs. C. Knott’s 4th grade class:
    We have a couple of questions for you. Are there mountain lions, cougars, panthers or bob cats in Yellowstone? Where do the owls nest in Yellowstone? What is the weather like there? Does it get foggy due to the smoke from the geysers?
    We are enjoying reading about all your adventures! Can’t wait to hear all about the trip when you return! Stay safe and have fun!!!

    • June 21, 2017 9:38 pm

      Mountains lions are also called cougars and yes, there are cougars in Yellowstone. Unfortunately, not many people see them and we haven’t yet! There are at least 5 species of owls in Yellowstone and they all nest in different habitats. We saw an old great horned owl nest that is in a clump of branches in a tree. The weather is cold in the morning (40 degrees) and in the afternoon it was in the upper 70s. We haven’t gotten to the geyser basins yet so keep reading for more information about them. Thanks for you questions! Keep them coming!

  2. Kendall Solomon and family permalink
    June 21, 2017 3:44 pm

    Absolutely wonderful post Moose group!!! And you caught the bison that Kendall asked about!!! Thank you sooo much for keeping us in touch (vicariously) with the great outdoors!

  3. Carla Zegerman permalink
    June 21, 2017 9:01 pm

    Sounds like an incredible experience. Love the photos!

  4. Barbara Carson permalink
    June 23, 2017 9:17 am

    Love the bison picture!!

  5. Charlotte Heinze permalink
    June 23, 2017 7:22 pm

    What a great adventure you are having! It’s great being able to follow you and experiencing all of this vicariously.

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