It was a long day that began at 5 a.m. and ended after 8 p.m. Another sunny, clear, very warm day. Someone said the temperature in their car registered 82 degrees. It was warm, maybe 70-80 degrees, but in the sun it felt like I was frying the sun was so strong.
    No wolves again today. Not for us anyway. Laurie and Rick saw 380F, 526F and 527F on a ridge just east of the Yellowstone Institute. They disappeared over the ridge and that was that. We thought they might reappear near Exclosure, but they never did.
    East of Soda Butte is a carcass. This morning there was a black bear feeding on it, but he was so harassed by ravens he gave up and ambled into the woods. At the edge of Little America, the black bear sow and her cinnamon cub have crossed the road to get a drink at a small pond. The cub runs into the water and dashes out and ahead of his mother. He stands on his hind legs in excitement, his mother not far behind him, steadily pushing him towards the woods, into the safety and seclusion of pine trees.
    We drove to Tower where a black bear and her two cubs of the year were entertaining a large crowd along the road. They ran back and forth, up and down trees, rolled in the grass and fought with each other. Finally they both climbed up the same tree about 30 feet and crashed on branches, falling asleep. Through the scope I could see two little black legs draped on each side of a branch, a little black head resting almost hidden by pine needles, eyes closed.
   *A word of warning here. This black sow is very tolerant of those who want to admire her cubs, but getting too close can change that at any time. One visitor, perhaps unaware of this, placed bits of food on a log, hoping to entice the cubs and take their picture. Another visitor, very disturbed by this action, videotaped this and called a ranger. Feeding any animals in the Park is strictly forbidden and those caught doing so will pay a very high fine and may even be banned from the Park. It was a field day for those taking pictures and we watched for more than an hour, until we couldn't take the sun anymore.
   We bought sun screen (and ice cream!) in Mammoth and hiked Mt. Everts Trail, the trail that begins in Swan Lake Flat and travels toward Mammoth. It starts out as a not so interesting trail, but climbs steeply through a wooded area to an overlook where you can see across Swan Lake Flat and Bunson Peak. The trail curves along a ridge through some deadfall and behind the Hoodoos, a mass of unusual rocks that lines the road. For the past few years we have been looking for a golden mantle chipmunk, a larger species of chipmunk with red/golden fur behind its ears and stripes that are lighter in color. Out of nowhere one appears on a rock munching something. He scurried between the rocks and posed for Tim long enough to get several shots.

Author - Christine Baleshta
Photography - Tim Springer

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Yellowstone Experiences 2006