“Forging of a Family”

Our day started early at 5 a.m. It was a little rainy, but not an absolute downpour.  The lightning in the sky was spectacular as we scanned the mountains.  We kicked off the day looking at wildlife in Slough Creek.  We didn’t see any wolves near the den we were scouting, but further down the path we were able to see a golden eagle and her two eaglets, as well as a black bear.  Once we left that area we entered the Lamar Valley where we saw tons of bison, a few grizzlies and their cubs, and probably most exciting of the morning, seeing coyote pups.  We were able to watch them play together around their den entrance. 

herd of bison
Bison herd primarily composed of cows and calves (the orange ones)

After a quick yet delicious brunch in Silver Gate at the Log Cabin Cafe near the Northeast Entrance to Yellowstone, we were able to sit down and have an engaging talk with Dan Hartman.  Dan and Cindy are local wildlife photographers and expert naturalists. Dan showed us some of his video clips of owls, bears, and other animals that have been featured in National Geographic, BBC, as well as his own videos.  While we were finishing up at the Hartman’s we got side tracked by a red squirrel and a goldenrod spider, which led to Dan queuing up another video of a goldenrod spider capturing a hover-fly.  

After our visit with the Hartmans, we wound down with some huckleberry ice cream, and a journaling break by the Soda Butte Creek. We spied on an American Dipper coming in and out of her nest.

Svetlana, James, and Laura W. looking at mountain goats on a dramatic cliffside

While the animal life is most exciting, it cannot overshadow the expansive landscape and the beautiful plant life of Yellowstone. Some of the most notable (and loved by our group) would be the phlox, lupines and prairie smoke. Another favorite is the sagebrush. It is nearly impossible to walk by it without rubbing its foliage between our hands, then inhaling the scent from our hands. This powerful and relaxing scent is something we all wish we could take home with us. 

Dinner was at the Roosevelt Lodge on the historic property. We finished up this beautiful day looking for more wildlife near Slough Creek, in the Lamar Valley, and with an evening hike at Trout Lake. Admittedly, we are all hoping to see more wolves, which the park is known for, and more importantly continuing to grow as a group.

group in front of lake and mountains at sunset
The group at Trout Lake as the sun was setting

Allyson McFalls, Laura Walkup, and James Blake



  • Sharon

    1 month ago

    Wish I was there. But as a backup plan attended the members opening night of amazing pollinators at the museum with Rachel (another 2023 Yellowstone alum) and her sister. Thinking happy thoughts for you all

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