Grizzly vs Wolf

Day 6 (final):

On our last day in Yellowstone, we decided to wake up early – 5 AM early – and try one last time to see some wildlife and possibly see the sunrise. So as we drove out to Hayden Valley, it ended up being too snowy and too foggy to really get a good sunrise photo but we did get to see some more wildlife. We saw a huge herd of elk – about 35 of them – that is very large for a herd. Then, we got to see a smaller family of elk VERY close up…like on the other side of the road with a buck standing there. Needless to say, Cameron got some good shots of them. As we were driving through Hayden Valley, we saw a whole bunch of cars parked off the road looking into one direction. We decided to pull over and see what it was all about. As it turns out, there was a carcass about a mile and a half out into the valley on the hill. On top of that carcass, was a mamma grizzly and her two cubs. It was a little hard to see but you could definitely make out the silhouettes of them.

Then, things got interesting. Off to the left, we saw three wolves making their way up the hill heading towards the carcass. Mom and cubs were still feeding when the wolves came up and circled them. Mamma grizzly’s protective side came out and hit one of the wolves to get them away. After a minute, two of the wolves left and the other stayed around to make sure he couldn’t get any food. After a while, he also left. The bears stayed for a while to finish their meal and headed off on their way. It was SO cool to see the interaction. We didn’t get the best photos (because they were so far away) but we did get a few where you can make out their silhouettes. It was definitely one of the biggest highlights of our trip.

Now that we got to see that best interaction ever – we headed back towards the Falls to actually get photos of them since yesterday, we couldn’t see anything because of all the snow. We actually saw the falls and they were amazing! They call them ‘The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone’ and we could tell why. It was beautiful and a great way to end our trip…or so we thought.

Throughout our trip, we have seen the following animals: bison, elk, pronghorn, black bear, big horn sheep, mountain goat, coyotes, foxes, grizzly bears, and wolves. We figured – this is the best it is going to get. We got to see grizzlies and wolves from far away but at least we got to see them. Then, we hit a traffic jam. This was do to a grizzly bear hanging out in the valley just digging for food about 75 yards away. There was our close up! It was awesome to see one a little closer…but not too close!

Afterwards, we headed to Fairy Falls trailhead and did a great 6-mile hike to kick off the last day. We were hoping to see the Grand Prismatic Springs from a higher viewpoint but it was closed with MANY signs that said do not enter. Now, Cameron would have gladly walked right past those signs but I am a rule follower (and proud of it) and said no. Plus, it was steep, snowy/slippery, and had a sign that said “chance of DEATH,” so we didn’t. When we were just about to our car, another trail block by bison – again. We waited for a little while to see if they were going to move. When they didn’t, we cautiously walked around just like we had done before but this time, we were a little more confident in ourselves! Onlookers were getting so close to the Bison, that they could probably reach out and touch them. Bad idea considering they have killed more people than any other animal in the park. Stupid people.

As we drove back to the hotel in the evening, being completely satisfied with our last day at Yellowstone, out flies a bald eagle. We saw it quickly but couldn’t catch a photo. Then, we spot another. Sitting in a tree then it soars off flying. It was such a beautiful bird to see in the wild!

Overall, we have had an AMAZING week here in Yellowstone! It has treated us so well. A HUGE thank you to my dad, Chuck, for being an awesome tour guide and a great Sherpa to Cameron :-). We love you!

More posts to come on our favorite things, thing we should have brought, and things we wish we could have done/done more of. Anything you want to hear about more?

- C & K