That’s not a baby goose – that’s a badger!
Get out the binoculars! Get out the binoculars!
|Drama unfolds on the Yellowstone River!|
We are taking a break on a small bluff overlooking the Yellowstone River. I am enthralled by the rock formation on the other side. Hours earlier on another hillside we had paused to watch a rather large furry animal stretch itself out in a grassy meadow and chomp chomp chomp away on whatever was within paw’s reach. Four of us humans were out for an eight mile hike along the Garnet Hill trail in the Tower area of Yellowstone, chattering noisily and scanning the scene as we toodled merrily through the forest.
Hey there’s a bear over there! It looks like it’s right off the trail!
|See the black bear? Through the trees?|
A black bear of rather rotund proportions was moving leisurely about in a small grassy clearing, directly where we wanted to go. We stopped and stared. It sensed our presence and stared back at us. With bears, the nose knows all. Apparently, though, the eyesight of bears is about as good as humans (although I’ve never seen a bear wearing bifocals as a vision aid). So there we all found ourselves – four humans and one black bear, everyone squinting at the other through the thin cover of trees.
So this is what those dang marmots were up to!
We had come across a platoon of marmots at the beginning of the hike – the sneaky little rodents were everywhere! Popping up through the grass, scurrying across boulders, stopping shamelessly in front of us in the middle of the trail, hundreds of these brazen brown furballs had closed ranks behind us, sneering at us and laughing madly to themselves like so many wicked witches of the west. They had obviously been propelling us toward a get–together with this big fat smelly omnivore.
Have a nice little hike, my lovelies! HahaHohoHeehee Snort!!!
|“I’ve got friends all over this mountain…”|
Since we didn’t want to turn back and face that horde of marauding marmots again our only choice was to contour up and around the hill, keeping what we hoped would be the Yellowstone–mandated 100–yard distance from Ursus americanus.
By this time the bear had discounted us as a threat and stretched out comfortably in the grass, its huge hind feet pads skyward, its nose nuzzled deep in the dirt. I could almost hear its teeth grinding the vegetation and insects to shreds, could almost smell its breath pungent beyond imagination from never having brushed or flossed a day in its life.
Fascinated, we perched ourselves on the hillside and burned some daylight.
|Bear-watching along the Garnet Hill trail|
OK enough of this wooly wildlife. This here Hill is named Garnet for a reason, and I’m going to find me some!
|Bye bye, bear! Take care of yourself!|
Whenever I find myself surrounded by three–billion year old metamorphic rocks I tend to go a little nuts. These Precambrian schists and gneisses of northern Yellowstone are no different. I caress and cuddle them. I call out to them. I swoon, I yodel, I sigh. People I hike with are used to this sort of behavior. In fact, they expect it and usually end up sighing and yodeling at the rocks, too.
|Loving the metamorphic rocks!|