Sunday, June 8, 2014

I'm Back! -- Yellowstone Part I

Mountain Chickadee

A lot has happened in the past two months.  Ive been short-changed on sleep;  I have a farmers tan, i.e. my face and hands are brown but the rest of me is lily white; and Ive done a lot of wonderful wildlife watching.  Part of April and much of May Dale and I were in Yellowstone National Park.  When we arrived winter was lingering on and when we left spring was popping into full glory.  Lots happened in between.  I plan to post snippits out of my journal, some of my drawings, and a few photographs  and some musings.. more than one blog post. 

When we left home, my lilac bush was in full bloom, we had mowed the grass three times, and even the oaks were starting to leaf out.  Spring was early and the winter had been unusually dry.  We drove back into winter. Real winter.  Yellowstone is 1000 miles away and sits at a much high elevation.  The park had had about 150% of normal snowfall, and most of it was still there. 

April 10, 2014
Were here!  Arrived yesterday.           Slow start this morning .. no start really.  We went through the North entrance  gate far enough to make a phone call (better cell service there) and then turned around to come back and buy groceries.  Dale spotted a bison calf on that short jaunt.  The little fella still seemed a little unsteady.  Too far away to look for a fresh umbilical cord, but he looked very new to the world, and about two weeks early.  Mamma was leading him away from the flats between the Yellowstone River and the Gardiner River., heading into the park.

Pine Grosbeak
 We headed back out mid afternoon, but not into the park.  Our neighbors, Nick and Diane, asked for help identifying a pretty bird with a red head.  It turned out to be a pine grosbeak, a bird Ive only seen once before in my life!  As soon as we had settled properly into our cabin, we drove to Jardine, just north of the park, and found the birds.  They remind me of parrots when they twist and turn and reach for another bud.  They were eating cottonwood buds and I think willow.  One needs to be close, but I heard a lot of soft, bubbling singing connecting the small group. 

Yellowstone Association Overlook:  I see far across the valleys to Electric Mountain a slight blush of green on the bare, lower slopes.  The breeze sweeps up the slope in front of me, carrying a soaring redtail.  He floats effortlessly in front of me, then tucks his wings and dives over the rise in front of us, down into the deep valley below, and out of our sight. 

Late sun is warm, highlighting a few hairs on the backlit deer and quivering grass.  Whitebark pine rustles in the spring breeze. 

Lots of two inch shoots of fresh green grass.  Maybe they should be three inches, but virtually all clumps have already had a haircut.  Five mule deer graze as I sketch.


  1. So glad to have you back home and posting. Missed your drawings and wonderful writing so much these many weeks.

  2. Fun to see you back here posting. I got to see some of these sketches in person..some not painted yet and all lovelier in person. Always nice to see Dales photos too.

  3. Sounds like a great trip! Love the cute chickadee!

  4. Welcome back, looking forward to seeing all the sketches and stories of your stay at Yellowstone.

  5. Well, hello there! Looks like the start of another fantastic visit to the park. I look forward to tagging along! Love the baby "buffalett."