23 hours ago
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
I don't know all of their names, but most. I'm not a professional photographer. But I GLORY in all God's creations and have been swooning the whole month of July over the wildflowers of Wyoming. And there are few things so heart-melting as bumping along in silence on a dirt road with The Ranger in our old RAV 4 with over 260,000 miles on it and have him suddenly hit the brakes and throw the jalopy in park muttering, "I've got to take a picture of those paintbrush."
We camped in Wyoming at a mere 8300 feet (we live at Old Faithful which is 7300 feet), but the hiking trail started at 9030 feet. So beautiful! So MANY flowers!!! Loved these white bottle brush looking things. They are called American Bistort and they are from the Buckwheat family. The flower book says (we have an autographed copy by Steve Hegji), "...very common in alpine meadows and creates a beautiful contrast, in both color and shape, to the other flowers in the meadow. It looks a bit like a giant Q-tip sticking up above the other plants." Love.
So let's talk about mud. It's fanTAStic! Wet or dry. We visited Fountain Paint Pots one evening and saw only three other vehicles in the parking lot! No tour bus anywhere! We strolled. We oohed. We ahhed. And we took a great many photographs. Some of these aren't stunning to you, but each one is stunning to me. I almost cried while posting remembering our perfect evening. I could watch that mud for hours. Just like the sea lions in San Francisco, my husband had to gently tug me away when it was time to move on. The Earth is alive.
Well, only the first two are Audrey, the last one is a bull. I just think a graceful cow elk is like a movie star. Look at her! Huge, dark eyes and a short hair cut around the face! Yellowstone Lake is in the background. Purple lupines...so much elegance! Glorious summer.
We've been seeing a lot of Pronghorn Antelope lately. This fellow was grazing in Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park. On our way back from camping, we saw two pronghorn does each with twins! So, SO cute to see tiny replicas trailing behind. Most animals are excellent mothers--fun to watch.
We were making foil dinners at Colter Bay in Grand Teton when we noticed these fox kits playing around. There were four babies total and the mother made several appearances, but we could never photograph her. She was busy killing squirrels and bringing them home for dinner. So cute!
The first three are the same bear. I'm guessing she's a She-Bear because of her small stature. I'm also guessing she got kicked out of the den this spring by her mom who probably came into estrus (sp?) and needed to mate. Life is tough for bears. She's probably eating a lot of salad until she musters enough courage and hunger to just take down a calf elk or something. She was digging and digging and extremely intent on her digging. We had pulled off the highway in Wyoming outside of Grand Teton to see an overlook and viewpoint of the Tetons on the way to our campsite and there she was--about 10-15 yards away. She's probably about two years old, but I'm no bear expert. These are all just guesses.
The last photo is of a griz just south of Canyon in Yellowstone. He was also enjoying salad and very intent on getting the calories he could (guessing the gender). Bears need about 20,000 calories a day just to make it through hibernation, which is why they are called "generalists." If you're a mating female, you really need those calories or else you will never give birth. The actual calories you acquire say "yes" or "no" to whether you have cubs, no matter how many times you may have mated. No calories, no babies. Bears are big noses with four legs. They just need to smell their next meal and and get on with the eating.