Snow flurries, sleet, and dark, threatening skies kept me at home this morning. Finally the weather lifted enough to go out around 4.
The one nice thing about the continual dark skies this week is that every now and then, when there is a distant break in the clouds and a little sunlight actually gets through, it can make for some dramatic shots.
Took the park road up to Colter again with a side trip up to the top of Signal Mountain, quite a view!
A mule deer buck sporting a pretty nice set of antlers.
I got these almost humorous shots of a bull moose having a bad hair day, or maybe he was bringing this stuff home to learn basket weaving, I don’t know, but he made no attempt to shake the grasses off in the half hour I spent with him.
In this image, he almost seems to be laughing at himself.
Just before leaving the park, a little north of the Visitor’s center, a lone bull elk came flying out of the woods and came towards the road looking for a safe place to cross. I managed to get a few shots of him silhouetted against the evening sky, but unfortunately, he just wouldn’t run all the way up the bank and pose in profile.
Headed out early this morning to do the same trip around the upper loop road and down to Hayden valley but in the reverse order of Saturday’s trip. Today was one of those days where I cover a lot of ground, at the proper time of day, but just pretty much come up empty. I may have set some kind of reverse record for wildlife sightings in Hayden Valley. I traversed the entire valley north to south and then again south to north and saw but one lone bison in the distance, no elk, antelope, bison herds, wolves, bears, or coyotes. If you have ever been to the Hayden Valley, you know how rare it is to have it virtually empty of wildlife.
I did manage to find these swans to photograph. I was excited to see some Canada Geese floating downstream towards the swans, for I seem to recall that the swans are extremely territorial, and will drive off other birds such as the geese. I was ready for some action! But these guys seemed like they were the best of friends.
I was rounding a sharp corner and saw this young black bear cub all but in the road grazing on the curbside clover. With no mother in sight and other people stopping and getting within 6 feet of the youngster, for once, I was almost hoping a ranger would come along and break this up before the cub was startled out into the road and struck by a car. At times, his head was only a foot or so from the pavement and he acted as if he didn’t even see or hear the cars only a couple of feet from his head whizzing by, and he was completely oblivious to the growing crowd of people all but reaching out to pet him. I hope he survived this, but with no mother and this lack of fear of traffic and people, it probably doesn’t look like much of a future for this guy.
Lastly, a couple more bison shots. I got a kick out of this guy, once again using the centerline of the highway to negotiate his way down the road. They do move at a very slow pace while traveling on the highway, but they can seriously unnerve you as they pass by at only a couple of feet from your vehicle.
Especially if you are on a very narrow gravel road, such as the one to the fire tower, and you encounter a fellow like this coming down the road as you head up. At least he was using the shoulder of the road, I assume because there was no yellow centerline on the gravel road.
Once again, I traversed the upper loop road from Mammoth to Tower, out to the Lamar Valley, and then on to Hayden Valley, then back to Norris, then home to Mammoth Campground.
I encountered a couple of bison jams along the way and a few scattered elk. Though unable to get any photos of him because of the distance, I was able to observe the grizzly that has been camped out on a carcass on the far shore of Swan Lake for the past three days.
I got a few nice predawn shots of the bull elk in town, controlling his ever growing harem of cows, going out over the hills to drive a stray back to the harem if she wandered too far to graze.
In the late afternoon, while I was at the computer processing today’s shots, I heard a bull bugling just outside the campground and it sounded like he was heading my way. Sure enough, I looked out the windshield and there he was cutting through the site directly in front of me and heading for the main road. I gathered up my camera and shot out the door after him and managed to get a couple of decent shots of him before he disappeared over the hill, apparently looking for some company.
Today I officially became homeless and unemployed.
After 5 years of attempting to sell my home and business, today I am freed of all encumbrances, no more physical ties to the Upper Valley region of New Hampshire, my home for the past 34 years.
Today, as I head west on I-89, out of my adopted home state, my long anticipated next (final?) adventure begins. After 20 years of owning and running a business and 30 plus years of rehabbing and maintaining a 5700 square foot, 200 year old house, it seems almost hard to believe that my only responsibilities now are my two canine companions and the only daily chores will be to keep my 2004 Allegro motorhome and my “toad”, a 2012 Prius, running smoothly. Oh, and I guess I will also have to make an attempt to figure out how to keep a blog going and perhaps even make it interesting.
Since 1993 I have owned and operated the Red Roof Frame Shop and Gallery in Enfield, NH, with another shop in West Lebanon, NH. With the sale of the Enfield property, the Red Roof Gallery in Enfield is no more ( the West Lebanon Red Roof Frame Shop will continue on under the new owner, Lisa Tibbits, who, incidentally, has been running the shop on her own for the past seven years ) and, while I suppose I should feel some kind of remorse, I must admit that it is more like relief, not regret.
Beautiful, yes, but, to me, all I can think is, no more weeding, transplanting, watering, mulching, autumn cut down and cleanup, never again! Free at last!
Also, no more scrapping and painting, no more lawns to mow, and never again will I have to shovel and snowblow that awful white stuff.
No more art shows to hang and take down, no more Opening Night Receptions (I will miss the excitement, the people, the conversations), no more 4 AM til 10 PM work days, no more vendor delivery mess-ups.
Also, most importantly, no more (censored) government paperwork and interference. I never realized, until starting a business and hiring employees, just how much productive time our wonderful government agencies, federal, state, and local, can manage to steal from a small businessperson.
So, with that little rant off my shoulders, off I go. My intent here is to provide viewers with some interesting photos of places I visit, people I meet, and wildlife I run into. I am a semi accomplished photographer and I do tend to concentrate on wildlife, especially birds, but I also appreciate the many wonderful landscapes I constantly observe in my travels.
Below is a small sampling of the sort or work I do. Just click on each thumbnail for a larger version of the image.