Thursday, April 27, 2017

April 2016: Yellowstone and Stupid People


I didn't blog at all in 2016.  This trip to Yellowstone may be the reason.  We headed up at the end of April, which is one of our favorite times to go.  Typically during this time of year the majority of the license plates you see on cars come from Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming.  All people who should know better.  These people don't usually stop for elk or bison unless there are babies or a couple of bulls that want to beat each other up.  These are the people who come to Yellowstone to see bears, wolves and bears.

This is also the time of year when you see people with expensive cameras and two foot long lenses that cost as much as a car.  Anytime in April or May, when you see one of those lenses on a tripod, you know you should stop to see what they are seeing.  Typically it ain't a Canada Goose.

We normally hit the hot water events early in April because the crowds are small and the geysers and mudpots all seem more liquid and active.  But by the end of April and to the end of May, we're hunting bears.  We decided to head to the Lamar Valley in hopes of seeing a few Ursa Majors.  We headed north from Madison Junction and within a few miles we saw a line of cars along both sides of the road and a lot of really long lenses on cameras.  This was along the Gibbon River near Gibbon Falls.

These are the people who should have known better.

There was a sow grizzly with three very young cubs on the hillside.  The professional photographers were having a heyday with these bears.  The problem was that the sow was trying to take her cubs to the river and the photographers had created an impenetrable wall of humanity that wouldn't allow her to pass.  I think she wanted to take her cubs for a drink and teach them things, but I don't speak bear very well.  What I do know is that she was very agitated.  She would approach the people with her cubs and when they didn't move, she turned and walked back up the hill.  The cubs followed very closely.  If the cubs were any older, they'd have been off playing and climbing trees.  These cubs were so young they stayed with the mama the whole time.

She'd get a safe distance up the hill and then head south ten or so yards then head back down the hill, hoping to cross the road.  The photographers refused to part and she'd get agitated again.  My thought is that if the cubs had been any older and she hadn't felt the need to be so protective that there would have been a few dead photographers.  We watched this for awhile and when she got to where we were, we left, hoping to give her a spot to cross.  Pretty sure the people behind us filled in as soon as we left though.  For the next hour we looked for a ranger to try to let him or her know what was going on to help the sow get her young to water.  We never found one.
Bears approaching the wall of humanity

Frustrated, moving south

Another attempt

Heading to water

Why won't these people move?

Heading south again

Looking for an opening, see the car in the foreground

This sow was getting agitated

Heading south again

Looking for an opening, not finding it

Heading south yet agan

This went on and on

Trying again

Bringing her cubs with her

Heading up the mountain

Looking for an opening

Heading south again

This is about the time we left
We continued on our way and headed toward the Lamar Valley.  On the way, we saw an osprey, stopped for the annual, obligatory climb up Sheepeater Cliff, saw a few waterfalls and visited with a black bear.

Bison, think they own the place

Annual climb up Sheepeater Cliff

My brother the raven

Rustic Falls, full of spring runoff

Undine Falls, the same

The black bear

We just hung out for awhile


had a good time

Blacktail deer
The title of this blog post is "Yellowstone and Stupid People."  We saw the stupid people with the grizzly bear at the beginning of our journey, then we headed into the Lamar Valley and saw some more.

There is a bridge over the river just as you enter the Lamar Valley, and when we crossed, we saw a magnificent bighorn ram with a full curl reposing on the hillside, surveying his domain.  He was awesome.  I pulled over and took a bunch of photos of him.  He was unconcerned by me.  I had my 250mm lens on my camera and the photos I'm going to show are not cropped.

Here's why I said there were stupid people in Yellowstone that day.  We were the only car that stopped to take photos of this incredible ram.  I guess it's because he wasn't a bear or a wolf.  Sometimes people irritate me.

The most magnificent animal in the park that no one saw 

There were migrating bison on the hillside

The ram was checking them out

We were just hanging out

Bison and pronghorns living in harmony, mass hysteria.

We headed home and wouldn't you know it, the sow and her cubs were still trying to get across the river.  Hours later.  It was ridiculous.

Still trying to get across the road

Those cubs look thirsty


What the heck?

Giving up

Sometimes people are stupid.

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