Yellowstone – Lamar Valley

After leaving Tower Roosevelt we headed on to Lamar Valley. Serious animal watchers rave about this valley and we both wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Thankfully the weather had really cleared up and the vistas were beautiful. Once again the ever changing landscape never ceases to amaze me.

Yeah blue skies…remember we started with snow on our windshield in the morning.
Loved this rock formation in the middle of a large field

As beautiful as the vistas were the animal sightings were not as good as other areas of the park in my opinion. The sightings were really far away and if you have high powered binoculars or camera lenses (which many people did) you might enjoy it but this was the best bear picture I got all day.

It was a momma and her two cubs but really far away.

As you can see from the last post we have had much closer encounters with wildlife than here but we saw numerous groups of serious photographers. In particular they were lined up in a couple of places where there were wolf dens and pups. With my 400mm I couldn’t see anything and personally had little interest in staying in one place to see a wolf pup pop its head out. Others though were fascinated and unfortunately kept getting closer and closer. We learned later that the pack moved the pups from one den because a couple of photographers had gotten too close. Not cool.

One of the many lineups

We did get to see some buffalo closeup when we pulled into a side area and it was a great place for Jack to take a walk. He is really good about riding with us long days but we need to find areas he can stop and stretch his legs.

As we continued to head east though the terrain changed again and we started seeing absolutely beautiful snow covered mountains. It was really pretty and we stopped as we left the park to get a picture of Jack with the sign. Lee is always posing him places and in this case he was not thrilled but we got our picture.

We continued on to Cooke City which is a pretty funky little town. Dogs wander the streets (one had a bandana that said don’t feed me, but he still went up to moving cars and begged for food) and the stores that were open were all owned by free spirits. There is a really nice gift shop there that has a “museum” with stuffed animals and we spent some time talking to the very young owners. Unfortunately the Beartooth highway was still closed so we could not continue on and we had to turn around and go back the way we came.

To be honest Lamar Valley was one of my least favorite places we have visited in the park and I won’t be in a big hurry to go back. Once Beartooth pass opens we will definitely come back and we have a friend working at Red Lodge so we will probably see him as well. The problem with these farther corners of the park is there is no simple way to get back without going through the park again. The later in the day the more crowds there are so it can make for a VERY long day. I am glad we saw it though before it was too crowded but mountains aside for me at least it was only so-so. Next up we explore outside of the park a bit.

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