8 hours ago
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Swans and Such
Yellowstone is beautiful every single day.
One day I was on trail patrol at Mud Volcano while the ranger managed his guided walk with thirty or so people. A bison came right down the slope by Dragon's Mouth Spring, took the boardwalk over toward Mud Volcano, and then slipped behind the fence in order to plop right down in front of this namesake thermal feature. I wonder if the old bulls are arthritic and the heat from the feature makes their bones happy. Or I wonder if the gurgling, churning noises from the hot water soothe them, especially when so many people are around. For some reason, they like it. I babysat the bison to make sure no humans jumped the fence or did anything seriously stupid to aggravate him. One of my favorite questions is, "How do you know it's a boy?" Also, one gentleman was reading the wayside sign about Mud Volcano and then gazed at the thermal feature itself when suddenly, he spied the bison (yeah, that 2,000 pound beast right there in plain sight). It startled him in a terrific way, "Oh my GOSH! I did NOT see that! Oh my GOSH!" He was a little freaked out.
Volunteer Susan and I took off to Cody one day to view the garden show. We toured five gardens around the city and took lots of photos. There was an artist at each garden creating art which was later auctioned off at the luncheon.
TR and I finally got to go camping again! It was only our second time all season due to my illness and trip to Virginia. We camped along the Madison River and then drove the Gravelly Range. Wildflowers were in bloom and so we had to snap more than a few pictures. We saw FIVE osprey nests, three of which were being sat upon. I wonder if mothers were shading their babies from the 93 degree heat. One nest had a rope swing of sorts. Looks like these birds are using baling twine to supplement their construction projects--funny.
On the way back into the park, we stopped at Artist Paint Pots. Love the white mud there...and tried to get the irregularly shaped "pieces" of mud that were getting launched into the air. Look closely. Mesmerizing.
One morning I drove out to Hayden Valley prior to sunrise. Five trumpeter swans were sleeping with their beaks tucked into their down. As the sun rose, one pair decided to swim compliantly toward me for morning coffee. Later, the other three swam over, so I was able to watch these beautiful creatures for a good thirty minutes. Sandhill cranes, geese, ducks, and other birds were having morning conversations and taking off at intervals, an airport of sorts.
The bison rut has begun. Poor gentlemen, they are at the mercy of their hormones, therefore, they've lost all of their senses. One was hanging out in housing the other day, bellowing for all he was worth. He was making dust clouds around himself, turning back traffic, and scratching his head and horns on the power pole. My favorite picture is the one where he's all sacked out like a dog.