"A Sand County Almanac"

"THERE ARE SOME WHO CAN LIVE WITHOUT WILD THINGS AND SOME WHO CANNOT."
"FOR US IN THE MINORITY THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEE GEESE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN TELEVISION.".....Aldo Leopold

"THE TABLES TURNED"

"COME FORTH INTO THE LIGHT OF THINGS. LET NATURE BE YOUR TEACHER"....William Wordsworth


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Yellowstone Scenery

When talking with someone who has just visited Yellowstone National Park (YNP) for the first time, I am often surprised at the small amount of wildlife sightings they report.  Perhaps it is because they are overwhelmed by the varied and beautiful scenery.  In this blog update I hope to share some of the sights of YNP.

The road from Gardner, Montana leads to Mammoth Hot Springs which is a large complex of hot springs on a hill of travertine...
 
 
The limestone from rock formations along a fault is the source of the calcium carbonate.  As the calcium carbonate, or travertine, builds up various configurations are formed...
 
 
Orange Spring Mound, above, and White Elephants Back Terrace, below, are two examples... 
 
 
As the travertine terrace slowly expands it encircles living trees and eventually kills them...
 
 
The water generated by the hot springs forms the Boiling River, which flows down hill until it joins the Gardner River...
 
 
Here, it creates a delightful warm water swimming area for visitors...
 
 

Near the mouth of the Boiling River can be found ancient geysers...
 
 
And evidence of geological upheavals from thousands, or millions, of years past...
 
 
Also found at Mammoth Hot Springs is the historic stagecoach road to Gardner which can be traveled by automobile during warmer months...
 
 
Aspen trees are plentiful along the stagecoach road...
 
 
The Gardner River Canyon rises from the valley floor...
 
 
 Another popular feature in YNP is the ancient redwood petrified tree located about three miles West of Tower Junction...
 
 
Tower Junction is also the location of the 132 foot Tower Fall...
 
 
Just south of Tower Junction one encounters Calcite Springs which marks the downstream end of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Geothermally altered rhyolite and steep columnar basalt cliffs are ancient remnants of lava flow...
 
 

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is a remarkable and beautiful geological feature...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
The Yellowstone River is the longest undammed river in the continental United States. It flows over 600 miles from Wyoming to South Dakota where it empties into the Missouri River. For part of this distance it flows through the Hayden Valley...
 
 
 
 
From the Hayden Valley it is a short drive to Mount Washburn which rises 10,423 feet above the west side of the canyon.  When descending Mount Washburn it is not uncommon to find ones self above the clouds...
 
 
 
Wildflowers grow abundantly on the slopes of Mount Washburn...
 

The Bannock Trail, once used by Native Americans to access the buffalo plains east of the park, was used from approximately 1840 to 1876.  A portion of this trail extends from the Blacktail Plateau and ascends the Lamar River Valley to the Lamar-Soda Butte confluence...

 

 
 
The Blacktail Plateau is home to Grizzly Rock, so named for obvious reasons...



Geothermal features are found in many places throughout the park...

 
The blue water of this pool indicates that it is too hot for bacteria or algae to live...
 
 
The Chocolate Pot geyser below, located along the Gibbon River, maintains a temperature of 130 F.  The three to four feet high cone has green, yellow, brown and orange streaks formed by warm water loving bacteria and algae.  Mineral oxides are responsible for the dark brown color...
 
 
The Madison River is a widely known, and acclaimed, trout fishery...

 

The Madison flows between high rocky mountains through much of its course in YNP...


 



In 1988 Yellowstone experienced one of it's largest forest fires in history.  Dead snags still stand, although new growth is apparent in most areas...

 
As you can probably tell by now there is much more to Yellowstone than just the wildlife...
 

I hope you get an understanding of the vastness of Yellowstone, and why good binoculars are a must.  A spotting scope is a wonderful item to have along if you are travelling by automobile...


 
Thanks for letting me share some of the scenery of Yellowstone National Park with you.
 
Be well, enjoy nature, and come back soon.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Whitetail Deer At Monocacy National Battlefield

I have been spending a good bit of time at the battlefield since our return from Wyoming in an attempt to photograph Whitetail Deer.
  The large bucks have been staying under cover during daylight hours, probably due to the hot weather our area has been experiencing. 
With that being said I will share some of the does and fawns that I was able to photograph...


The steep angle of the setting sun cast rays of a particularly warm hue on this fawn...


If you enjoy watching deer I would encourage you to visit the battlefield as many times as possible before the sharpshooting plan goes into effect later this year...





There is no doubt that all of the deer pictured here will fall victim to the government's sharpshooters when the plan is put into effect.  Piles of corn will be used to lure the unsuspecting animals to a location where riflemen, armed with silenced weapons and night vision optics, will lay waste to hundreds of them.

The National Park Service (NPS) estimates that there are 175 deer per square mile on the Monocacy Battlefield.  The NPS's desired number is 15-20.

 
This doe seemed to be running for the sheer joy of being alive...
 





There are at least two piebald deer at the battlefield this year...


Most of these animals can bee seen at the Worthington Farm area just off Baker Valley Road...



Thanks for visiting, and don't forget to visit the battlefield while there are still deer to be seen.