Cruise over the rolling hillside as it slowly guides you towards Lamar Valley. Warmer temperatures of late spring have thawed Yellowstone, bringing life back to the valley once more. The wide lazy waters of Lamar River slip thru the center of the prairie as you enter. Animal lovers will rejoice as vast herds of bison dot the landscape for as far as your eyes can see.Lamar Valley was by far our families favorite part of Yellowstone. From Mammoth Hot Springs head east on US-212 past Roosevelt Lodge and straight ahead to bison freedom. Slowly and nerve racking at times, you’ll maneuver your rig through herds of bison as they stand watch. Time it just right and you’ll be in the sparing arena of calves, as they plow across the road in hot pursuit of a head butting kin. Who is in need of some serious ass kicking!
A small herd of pronghorns graze with their young on the grassy hillsides. While the doe watches as her long legged, wobbly fawns, no taller then the shrubs, chase and race one another. A large buck has spotted us, trapped he holds his ground, eyes sharp and ears alert. Not sure what to make of us, a loud “Mooooo” shatters the silence, as Lily’s head hangs out the window. Her small hands pressed to her mouth as she belts another long “Mooooo”. Bewildered Fred and I look on as Lily starts “Moooing” once again. Guess when your six and you don’t know what sounds a pronghorn makes, you just simply gotta “moo”.
As you journey throughout Yellowstone, make an effort to strike up a conversation with Park Rangers, as they are fountains of knowledge! Fred, Lily and I met so many great folks this way, all of whom were friendly and knowledgeable. Lily also found the Rangers interesting, although for different reasons than Dad and I. As every Ranger that we chatted with give her stickers, coloring pages, stamps and other small items for listening or answering a couple of questions about Yellowstone. 🙂
Thankful for the advice of one Ranger, we were able to lose the crowds for a little while, by wondering down to see the Petrified Tree. A small walk down the path lead us to a large section, of a still standing, petrified tree. Driving back we were lucky to observe from a afar, a mother black bear with her two cubs! Small lumps of black fur bob behind as mom leads the way. Searching the sparsely treed hillside for some much needed grub.
As we were heading out of Lamar Valley nearing sunset. We had a lead that a large pack of wolves had been spotted by the north entrance of Lamar Valley. So off we took, hoping to fulfill one of Fred’s lifetime goals. Anxiously we stopped at every gathering of photographers, Fred eager to hear if they’d spotted the pack. They had! Only we just missed em. There we go shooting off again. Two miles down the road an other cluster of folks gather around their cars. Lily and I wait for the news as Fred runs back to the car. Missed em again. This pattern continues for the next six or so miles. Finally much to Fred’s dismay, we admit defeat and declare that we had just missed the largest pack of wolves in Yellowstone, not once but three times! 😦
From our family to yours: Fred and I had been worried that Lily would get board on this adventure, as it was a lot of riding in the car. Being preemptive I made sure to pack her a travel fun box, filled to the brim with coloring pages, animal books, binoculars, dolls and mazes. In the end, there had been no need to worry. All she needed was a pair of binoculars as there was plenty to see along the way.All our best and safe travels!
Jenny, Fred and Lily