Tag Archives: pronghorn antelop

October 1, 2013 Feds Shut Down Teton National Park

The Grand Tetons

The Grand Tetons

Wouldn’t you know, today is the first day since my arrival that I woke up to clearing skies, sunshine and a federal government shutdown. All the entrances to the park have been blockaded and the campgrounds told to boot everybody out. I figured I would head up Route 89/191 and would at least be able to watch for moose around the oxbow area and north past Colter Bay, and be able to get some nice landscape shots of the Tetons from that vantage point. On the internet it was noted that the highway through the park was kept open during the last shutdown in 1995, though all the access roads into the park from this route were blocked off.

The Grand Tetons

The Grand Tetons

 

However, I was forcefully told by a park ranger that there would be NO travel on these state roads during this shutdown.

 

 

 

Teton Bison

Teton Bison

Teton Bison

Teton Bison courtship

 

 

 

 

 

 

After being turned around by the rangers at the Moran entrance to Grand Teton National Park, I encountered a large herd of bison and stopped to take some shots. These guys were part of a large herd of at least 200 animals and they seemed to be moving north towards Yellowstone with a purpose. This could well have been a scene from the old west.

Teton pronghorn in autumn

Teton pronghorn in autumn

Teton pronghorn in autumn

Teton pronghorn in autumn

Heading back towards the Gros Ventre campground I came upon a couple of pronghorn bucks traveling separately along the edge of the woods by the Gros Ventre River.

Pronghorn challenge

Pronghorn challenge

Pronghorn battle

Pronghorn battle

 

 

 

 

 

When they got within 30 feet of each other, they squared off and began a pretty serious skirmish that finally ended with one chasing the other out of the meadow they were in.

Jackson from Teton Pass

Jackson from Teton Pass

After grabbing lunch at the motorhome, and with the park now out of bounds, I decided to go back through Jackson, up over the Teton Pass on Route 22 to Victor, Idaho, take Route 31 south from there to Route 26 east along the Snake River and the Palisades Reservoir, then to complete the loop, 89 to 191/189 north back to Jackson. An interesting ride ( note to self and other RV’ers, be advised that Route 22 up and over the Teton Pass is not one I would want to attempt with my motorhome, a very long steep grade ) through rich Idaho farmland, scenic canyons, and the Snake River Valley.

Autumn colors Idaho

Autumn colors Idaho

Autumn colors Idaho

Autumn colors Idaho

 

 

I found some surprisingly colorful foliage enroute in the area of the palisades reservoir.

 

 

 

 

Abandoned Idaho farmhouse

Abandoned Idaho farmhouse

Along with this abandoned farmhouse. Made it home just before dark, and though it turned out to be a little longer day trip than I had anticipated, I do believe it was worth the trip.

Teton cabins

Teton cabins

Teton Bison

Teton Bison

Teton Bison

Teton Bison

 

 

 

 

 

LotOfFemales3Image

Pronghorn harem

Teton Bison

Teton Bison

Teton Bison

Teton Bison

 

 

 

September 15, 2013 Yellowstone National Park

Mammoth wildlife viewing

Mammoth wildlife viewing

I must be doing something wrong!

I travel 100 miles a day and put in my 6 to 10 hours a day searching out magnificent bull elk, while this guy just rolls out of bed and opens the window.

I had initially figured to get back down to Hayden Valley today, since I wouldn’t have to go through the road construction on a work day, and thus avoid the frustrating delays there. But since yesterday was a total loss ( first rainout in quite some time ), I decided to make it a trip around the entire Yellowstone loop road today. The weather was in and out all day with intermittent showers. Didn’t really see much other than the occasional roadside bison and a few herds of bison in the distance as I made my way to Hayden.

Surprisingly little in the way of grazers in the northern portion of Hayden Valley, just a single bison here and there. I stopped at one of the large turnouts that was packed with cars with people out scanning with binoculars. About a mile out I could just make out a dark shape moving through the sagebrush, so I joined the others and got my binocs out. The dark shape turned out to be a black wolf soon joined by a white wolf. Now, I suppose this was a little exciting, though I can’t get real worked up about spotting wildlife that I can’t photograph.

Yellowstone coyote

I can hear you

Mid air coyote

Mid air coyote

Mid air coyote

Got him!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mid air coyote

Mid air coyote

Mid air coyote

Mid air coyote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just below Hayden, I came on a minor traffic jam at a roadside meadow and stopped to investigate. The subject of everyone’s attention was a very healthy looking male coyote hunting down meadow voles or mice in the roadside meadow. As you can see, he was a very cooperative subject, except that every time he did his leaping in the air to dive for a rodent, he insisted on doing it facing away from the camera.

Since I was in the area, I checked out the Fishing Bridge campground. This campground is restricted to only hard sided rigs because of bear activity in the area and also is the only campground in the park that has hookups, for which you pay a pretty hefty premium. After driving around a couple of the loops, I would have to say that you would want to have the hookups pretty bad to want to stay here, the sites are wedged in so closely that one’s slideouts would all but be in contact with your neighbor’s, the spaces are really, really tight. Looks quite rundown and dated also, but it does offer hookups.

Stopped at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and walked around a bit at a couple of the lookouts. Pretty amazing colors in the canyon, but with today’s rain and overcast skies, I guess I will have to come back another day for pictures.

Yellowstone coyote

Yellowstone coyote

Mid air coyote

Mid air coyote

Coyote on the hunt

On the hunt

 

 

 

 

 

Yellowstone elk

Yellowstone elk

Coyote on the hunt

On the hunt

Yellowstone coyote posing

Yellowstone coyote posing

 

 

 

 

 

Yellowstone pronghorn

Yellowstone pronghorn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 3, 2013 Moving day

Palisades BLM campground to Red Mountain BLM campground

SmallRV andToadMooseMoved this morning about 35 miles north from my BLM site at Palisades to the Red Mountain BLM campground on the banks of the Madison, 8 miles east of Norris on 84. I wanted to get closer to Bozeman to find a solution to my missing window, and that would be the only likely place I will find a glass shop that might be able to make the repair. Since I had no Verizon coverage whatsoever at the Palisades site, I stopped at the grocery store parking lot in Ennis and got the IMac out to get on the internet and search out glass shops in Bozeman. I found 2 shops that looked look they may be able to help.

After getting set up on Site 7 at Red Mountain, right on the banks of the Madison, but really not that attractive a campground, no “it” factor, I hopped in the car and headed to Bozeman. Easily found the Glass Doctor and spoke with a helpful young man at the front desk. He seemed to understand what I was looking for, said they could cut laminated glass with rounded corners, had it in stock, and was familiar with the type of window frame I had and set me up an appointment for Thursday at 11 AM. Looks like kind of a tight fit to get the motorhome into their lot, and they are on a very busy business highway, but he assured me they can get me in there. His estimate is around $220 which seems a fair price I can live with.

Returned to my campsite around noon but just couldn’t take the heat anymore by 2PM. Loaded the dogs in the car, turned on the AC, and set out to go explore around Pony, according to the Montana Road Map, a ghost town up in the mountains. Turns out there are a few old buildings in Pony, but it mostly is just another small backwater, rather rundown town whose best days are obviously behind it.

Abandoned Montana barn

Abandoned Montana barn

Abandoned Montana farmhouse

Abandoned Montana farmhouse

 

 

 

 

 

However, there were a couple of dirt roads leading out of town and up into the mountains to National Forest lands and campgrounds and so up I went. By the time I reached the end of the road, I had gained enough elevation to have the temperature drop from 94 degrees to 74 degrees, just what I was looking for. Although the roads looked like they should have led to some wildlife sitings, all I got for my efforts was a very dusty car and heat relief, though I did see 4 good sized piles of bear scat in the road, just no bear scat depositor.

Mule deer doe and fawn

Mule deer doe

A pair of pronghorn

A pair of pronghorn

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did see a few mule deer and a small herd of Pronghorns as I took a shortcut along a dirt road through farmland from Pony back to route 287. Got back home around 6:30 and it was still hot. This was one evening it did not seem to cool down so quickly, but a thunderstorm around 8 PM finally did the trick.

Montana farmland

Montana farmland

Montana farmland

Montana farmland

A pronghorn and his harem

A pronghorn and his harem

Camera shy pronghorns

Camera shy pronghorns

August 26, 2013 Ennis,Montana

Whitetail fawn

Whitetail fawn

Got out before sunrise again this morning and went north on 287 out of Ennis to explore the area around Ennis Lake, a lake formed by the damming of the Madison River.

1941 Plymouth

1941 Plymouth

 

Next to a ramshackled dwelling, near a small fishing access recreation area just a mile off 287, I stumbled on a great old 41 Plymouth, a great watercolor possibility.

 

 

Mule deer Doe and fawn

Mule deer Doe and fawn

A little further north on 287 was the road that looked like it would go around the east side of the lake. There was another boat access recreation area on the east side of the lake with several nice looking sites right on the waters edge, but when I got out to take some photos of them, and the mule deer feeding in the willows along the lake, I was engulfed in a cloud of mosquitos and had to quickly retreat to the car. The campsites look quite nice, but I’m not sure about staying here if the bugs are always this bad. Incidentally, this is the first place I have encountered bugs of any sort in my week long stay around Ennis, not too surprising I suppose, with the constant 20 mph breezes.

 

The road around the lake soon crossed a concrete bridge and split left to the dam, and right to continue around the lake and eventually reconnect with 287 south of Ennis. I took the road to the left and went about three miles down to the dam and then a little beyond until you are not allowed to go any further. The road runs down through a narrow canyon reminiscent of a miniature Grand Canyon of the Gunnison, steep black rock walls towering above both sides of the water, where it looked like bighorn sheep should pop up at any moment, though none did. I could see a bald eagle floating way up above the opposite cliffs, and all kinds of small fish breaking the surface of the water. A sign along the banks of the river below the dam said the river here contains arctic grayling, along with the west slope trout, brookies and browns.

I had to be back at my campsite for the mobile tech by 9 AM, so I wasn’t able to wait for some sunlight to make it’s way down into this canyon and be able to get some shots, so no images, but if you are in the area, it is a definite must see.

The tech replaced two burnt out solenoids that were the root of my front jacks problems and it was determined that the springs that retract the jacks were not fully retracting them and that is what most likely caused the solenoids to burn up. I decided to bite the bullet and replace all four sets of springs as a preventative maintenance measure. The solenoids were a couple of hundred dollars each ( ouch! ) and the springs $30 a pair. Add in 4 hours of labor at $100/hr and I have pretty much blown my motorhome maintenance budget for this year, sure hope nothing else major goes wrong.

Pronghorn buck and harem

Pronghorn buck and harem

Pronghorn mom and fawn

Mom and fawn

 

 

 

 

 

Today, with only scattered afternoon showers, I had an opportunity to make an early evening photo trip and found a few more pronghorns and this lone whitetail fawn grazing in a crop field, no mom anywhere that I could see.

Osprey on fence post

Osprey

Young mule deer buck

Young mule deer buck