Saturday, September 5, 2015

Camping with Critters

. . . and I don't mean the dogs.

We've spent just over two weeks at Bridge Bay Campground in Yellowstone National Park.  The first 11 days we dry-camped without power; our longest period "off the grid". The biggest pain was not turning on our coffee pot until we could start the generator at 8 a.m. We found that after an hour or so of charging the solar was able to keep up with the demand during the day. Most days we then topped off the batteries for the last half-hour to hour before 8 p.m. when generators have to be off and we made it through the night just fine.

The first of September the Xanterra employee campsites start emptying out. We are currently traveling with Tom's sister Leslie and her partner Terry who worked for Xanterra several years and still have friends here. Leslie was able to talk our way into two of those vacated full-hookup sites at no additional charge. The weather is turning cool with the advent of fall and we are more than a little happy with the arrangements.


Bridge Bay has some permanent residents.

Like this guy.

Kady has developed a new habit. At the start of each walk she goes just far enough to stick her head out of the door, stopping with her front feet on the bottom inside step. She then looks carefully in each direction before taking the final two steps to the ground. Smart dog.

 Taken from the window over the couch.

A Saturday afternoon nap.

This bull bison recognizable for his high tailset passed in front of our RV. Tom stepped out to get a couple of pictures.

He rushed back in saying "There's a bear out there!" 

Sure enough, there was a grizzly stalking through the trees right behind where you see the bison. Before we could get a clear picture she or he doubled back and headed up the hill toward the service road.

Believe these signs.

It's a "no-no" to leave stuff outside as our current next-door neighbors did last night.

We have to stay away from them, but the animals apparently don't have the same restriction about staying away from us.

Nobody tells the chipmunks for sure.

Why he was checking out our wheels?

I was walking Huxley when we came across this bull elk just a few sites up the hill from us. 

I had noticed three deer in the vacant site on the morning we moved. There was a mature buck, a two-year-old buck, and a doe. I didn't think any more about it until I went up there to help guide Tom and the RV into the site. At that point I came eye-to-eye with the buck who had hung around.

I'm not sure who was the most surprised but I think it was me. He merely meandered across the road.

Bison in Hayden Valley

You see lone bull bison all over the park, but the cows and calves stay with the herd.

Swimming across the Yellowstone River.

This bull was chasing a cow.  I believe that I know what he was after.

Young calves are "cinnamon" in color. I was lucky to get these pictures of a bull, cow, and the nursing calf as we drove by.

Another cow with her youngster just before they crossed the road.

And the bison have the right-of-way on the roads. Don't expect to get anywhere very fast.


Bears cause traffic jams

This grizzly was apparently hunting gophers or other small rodents a couple of hundred yard off the road near Hayden Valley. Whenever a bear is sighted all traffic stops and everyone gets out with their cameras. Rangers descend upon the area to keep people back.


Elk in Mammoth

Isn't this guy magnificent?


Do you think that they're on the payroll?

Why should they forage for dry grass in the wild when the city provides green lawn for munching on.


Trumpeter Swans

Living on the Yellowstone River along with Canada geese and grebes.