Road Trip 2013 | Jackson Hole, WY, Yellowstone, and Bozeman, MT
WARNING: Long post with a lot of photos! :)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, my heart lives in Wyoming (although, I’ve never visited in the dead of winter). Last year, my hubby Greg worked with my niece Sam to create a special video they played for me on Christmas morning. The video revealed my full Christmas gift: a road trip to two of my favorite places on earth, Jackson Hole and Yellowstone… but this time, Roxy was coming, too!
So, a few weeks ago, we set off…
I love driving the truck.
Our first few nights were spent in Jackson, WY at the Fireside Resort. Aren’t the cabins awesome?! They even come with a s’mores kit.
On our first day there, Greg, Roxy, and I had our portraits taken down near Mormon Row (read about our family portrait session) and afterward, we hung around to take some more photos.
This is one of my favorite barns.
After the snow stopped, we went out to take some photos near Hayden Valley.
Mr. Bison has a mouthful of grass.
We found a coyote hunting in a field… I realized when we got here that my tripod broke (of course!) so I used the hood of the truck until I could get a replacement. I’ve never seen a coyote hunt like a little fox before!
Speaking of that broken tripod… we had to make an emergency trip to F-11 Photographic in Bozeman, MT. I wanted to see Bozeman on this trip, anyway, so off we went. The salesman at the shop was extremely helpful and hooked me up with a brand new tripod and ball head that would work with the 600mm lens I rented from LensRentals.com. This lens requires the use of a tripod; it’s almost 18″ long and weighs just over 11 pounds… it’s not exactly a lens that can be hand-held (I dubbed it “THE BEAST” — yes, in all caps).
While we were there, I wanted to check out Hedvig’s Trail, a 37-acre — completely enclosed — trail system for dogs to enjoy off-leash. Here’s a shot of Roxy (well, her butt, at least) enjoying sniffing all the great smells.
Then he made my life complete by bugling. I was meant to live where the elk bugle.
We also enjoyed some soft-serve. Yes, we shared some with Roxy, too.
A few days later, we moved up to Mammoth Hot Springs. We had never seen bighorn sheep before and it was on our wish-list for this trip. We knew they were around the Mammoth area and we got completely lucky one evening. We were driving by and — Oh! Hello! — a bighorn sheep right on the side of the road. We parked in the nearest pull-out and took a look up on the steep cliffs beside us…
On our way back out of Lamar, headed toward Tower-Roosevelt, we came across two pronghorn right off the road. We stopped and I got out THE BEAST lens so I could get some up-close shots of these two. What transpired was a truly special sight to see!
First, we have our bachelor, Little Guy…
This all went on for a while, but eventually Big Guy ushered Lady up the hill to the rest of his harem. We’re not sure if she was a part of it to begin with, but we felt pretty bad for her… she didn’t want anything to do with either of these guys… she just wanted to eat some grass!
After our pronghorn adventure, we stopped into a nearby lookout to see what we could find. There were lots of bison and elk roaming the hillside but the weather was rolling in so we decided to get back to the cabin…
There was so much more to this trip that I simply couldn’t get photos of. Sometimes, I just need to enjoy the moment. Some of these moments included: watching a mama bear and her two cubs far, far away on a hillside; spotting a little black bear just off the road one evening enjoying some dinner; and having picnic lunches in Slough Creek and watching Roxy sniff around all the new smells.
But, by far, my best memory of this trip was watching the Junction Butte wolf pack play on a hillside one morning. We met up with a group of wolf watchers and researches early that morning at a favorite lookout. The wolves were about five miles away (hence, no photos) but we were able to see them through the use of a spotting scope. I counted seven wolves, although others counted more. I could see this year’s puppies playing with each other, rolling around, then napping, then playing some more. We could see that some were gray and some were black. It was just so special to see the wild wolves of Yellowstone. As an added bonus, the bull elk in the canyon below were bugling the entire time!
This entire trip was an incredibly special one: we had great fun, saw a countless amount of wildlife, and now I can officially call Roxy my little Yellowstone wolf. Best Christmas present ever.