Once again up early and out before sunrise, pretty much retracing my route of yesterday morning down the west side of the Madison River south of Ennis.
Took a side road up into the foothills and through a lot of scattered mini ranches, and found a few more small groups of pronghorns.
I have noticed many nesting platforms for ospreys erected on the side of the road and in pastureland all along the madison River Valley. Most seem to still have an all but full grown chick or two still in the nest, with one or both parents around.
I found my small band of horses from yesterday a little further from the fence and managed to get some of the shots I had hoped to get yesterday.
Weather remains quite hot with strong breezes bringing some relief if you are in the shade. Late afternoon thunder showers hit almost every day severely limiting early evening photo excursions.
As always, click on any image to see a larger version.
Unfortunately I have to address my HWH hydraulic leveling system problem. For a week or so I have had one front jack that will not descend, now I have the other front jack deciding that it will not retract, so time has come to find a service technician. Fortunately, the people here at the Ennis Rv Village had the card for a local tech who does work on these HWH systems and I was able to get an appointment for Monday AM. Unfortunately, his hourly rate is $100/ hr., sure hope he is worth what he charges.
I took off this morning at sunrise hoping to find some deer to photograph and maybe even some pronghorns. I headed down a road on the west side of the Madison River out of Ennis heading toward the fish hatchery. It didn’t take long to find both deer, though no nice bucks, and my first pronghorns of the trip.
There was a doe with her fawn grazing in the tall grass alongside an irrigation ditch and I stopped to take some photos. I was horrified to see how badly tick infested the fawn was, while the doe had no visible ticks. You would think mom could help her poor kid out somehow, but I guess that is not how it works. Perhaps the fawn should consider signing on with a baboon troop.
Scouted out a couple more small campgrounds along the Madison River and got some shots of couples heading out flyfishing with their guide. Looks like a great way to spend a gorgeous day like today.
Crossed over the Madison River, from the west over to the east side, and drove through a couple of miles of open range pasture, where I could see hundreds of black angus, and hoped to find more pronghorns.
After getting through my black angus road block, I ran into a few more female pronghorns and their fawns and then finally found where all the big boys were hiding.
I would guess that the mating season has yet to start for them as the males are still herded up together and the females and youngsters are still in separate bands.
On the way home, I stopped by a horse pasture hoping to get some full body horse images for my painting references. There were a couple light horses, a few beautiful reds, and one paint that I thought would make a good addition to my reference gallery. Well, before I could get up to the fence to take my shots, they had all covered the hundred yards or so between them and the fence. They must be used to people bringing them something to eat, or were they just being friendly?
Anyhow, I couldn’t resist taking some horse portraits since they really were beautiful animals.
Two days spent exploring the gold rush towns of Virginia City and Nevada City
Took off at 6 AM for some soft light, no traffic photos in Virginia City and Nevada City. Ran into a mule deer family, a nice buck and some does and fawns right on the side of 287 barely out of the commercial strip in Ennis, but unfortunately wasn’t ready for them and so got no decent photos. I really need to be prepared for this sort of thing because you just never know what you may run into every time out.
( As usual, click on any image to get a larger version )
Getting to Virginia City before the people were up and about yielded some nice opportunities to get the shots I was looking for when I came here yesterday a little later in the day. It also was a bit cooler here at 7 AM than yesterday at noon when it hit the 90’s.
These two towns and Adobe City ( a mile out of Nevada City ) had a population of over 20,000 during the 19th century gold rush. A very interesting stop for any history loving travelers.
In addition to many old buildings, Nevada City has several old railroad cars and a rail station to investigate.
Washed the car and the motorhome first thing this morning to try to remove whatever the clear glaze that was sprayed all over both while going through the construction zones yesterday ( calcium chloride? ). Fortunately, though hardened and yet still sticky to the touch, it did seem to come off. Kind of neat to be able to wash vehicles in a campground, especially since this campground’s well sits above a geothermal hotspot and the water comes out of the spigot warm, works well for car washing but would take some getting used to for drinking.
Decided to head to Yellowstone to check out if there would be any chance of getting into Mammoth Hot Springs campground for the next couple of weeks. I knew it would make for a long day, but with the temperature hovering around 90, I figured why not spend the day in the air conditioned car. So I took 287 south to 191 south into West Yellowstone, a very pleasant and interesting route, especially along the shore of Hebgen Lake. Then 20/287/191 into the west entrance of the park, then north up 89 ( Grand Loop Road ) to Mammoth Hot Springs Campground.
Checked out two National Forest Campgrounds on the way in just north of West Yellowstone to see if they might be viable options. Spoke with the attendant at Mammoth and she said it normally is not a problem getting in if I were to show up at 11 AM . Looks like there are a few nice sites for rigs my size here.
On the return trip home I stopped for a bull elk shot, but couldn’t help but notice the lack of all types of wildlife while driving through the park today. I assume the elk are just now probably starting to descend to the lower meadows for the breeding season. I have never been here this early before so the lack of elk and bison was a bit of a surprise ( did encounter one bison grazing along the road ). I was also a little surprised that the traffic in the park really wasn’t all that bad at this time of year.
Stopped at a beaver pond on the way back home for some shots on what I think are Lesser Scaup, a new duck to me.
Back on 287 about 25 miles south of Ennis, I drove into a couple more National Forest campgrounds to check them out. One was completely empty and the other had but two tent campers set up.
One was on a bluff looking down on the Madison River ( this is where I was surprised by the sandhill crane pair ) and the other had sites that back directly up to the Madison River. Also stopped to check out one private campground of Hebgen Lake that had full hookups for a now shoulder season rate of $35.