Yellowstone: Blacktail Plateau Drive

Welcome to Disneyland people! This site was another first for me and I certainly hope it’s not my last. Honestly, as soon as we parked our car and started hiking, we had elk bounding across our path and birds were perched on our shoulders singing Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah. I felt like I was in a cartoon. We followed a great horned owl flying from tree to tree along with its tubby two fledglings. This blew me away because I’ve never encountered anRead more

Yellowstone: Storm Point

Storm Point is my absolute favorite hiking trail in Yellowstone. It’s short, non-strenuous, easy to get to and the views are breathtaking. Additionally, I always have interesting animal encounters here. Last year it was an overly-friendly squirrel doing vaudeville, complete with a top hat and cane, right there at my feet. This year was no different. I witnessed a nail-biter of a marmot squabble during my walk. As I approached the rocky cliff pictured above, an older couple warned me that there was a marmot scuffleRead more

Yellowstone: Crawfish Creek

Although I enjoy crawdads (or crayfish to us northeasterners), I do NOT enjoy Crawfish Creek. Remember the fire swamp in The Princess Bride? It’s just like that. It’s fun to watch in a movie but not fun to experience in real life. One minute you’re tromping through the forest and the next you’re being swallowed whole by thermal, mucky quicksand. For a few minutes I was sure that I sprained my ankle and I had no idea how I was going to be able to walk to theRead more

Yellowstone: Winter Creek

Welcome to Winter Creek, just past Grizzly Lake! This site was a first for me. I’m not sure how after all these years I’ve managed to avoid it but I finally got a taste. It was a little more than a three mile hike to our campsite but it felt more like ten with our packs on. Nevertheless, it was beautiful! And just like the area promises, we saw some grizzly footprints and some wolf footprints on the way in.Read more

Yellowstone: Gardner River

This outing took two teams to accomplish because of the five mile walk to the wetlands and the potential for sketchy wildlife encounters. A few years ago, my field partner was almost attacked by a grizzly mother with two cubs during the hike in. The mother literally swam across the river, with her cubs in tow, to charge the crew. Luckily, she was a good mother and swam over to save her little ones from being swept away instead of continuing herRead more

Yellowstone: July 11th, 2013

Oh Craig Pass…why? WHY!? Once again, we had another doozie of a catchment. Previous teams had set up seven navigation points to get us, the easiest way possible, to the wetlands. Well, Andrew and I both want to tell those people off. The navigation points led us through the worst forest known to man. Painful hours later, when we finally made it to our first site, it was a large lake. The entire day was one large lake after theRead more

Yellowstone: July 7th, 2013

After a tasty breakfast at the Fishing Bridge soda fountain, my friend had to leave and I felt like a sad little heap (sniffle, sniffle…the sniffles are never ending). It was so nice having him around. In the afternoon, I decided to go for a relaxing hike along the Storm Point trail. The hike was highly recommended by Deb and she couldn’t have been more on point about this one.  It’s only a few miles long but the views ofRead more

Yellowstone: July 1st, 2013

Today we tackled the Rock Point catchment. We assumed it would be a piece of cake since most of the wetlands were just off the side of the road and didn’t seem to take previous crews a long time to survey. Some said it was a half day of work, some said it was a short full day. So we figured it would take us–the dream team– a half day, easily. However, the only snag would be three naughty littleRead more

Yellowstone: June 19th, 2013

Welcome to my 16-hour day from both heaven and hell: Nez Perce starting from the west side of the Mary Mountain trail. Andrew and I woke up at 5 am to meet the GRYN crew at the trail head by 7 am. The dorm is almost in the center of Yellowstone, between Fishing Bridge and Lake, and it takes about 1.5 hours to drive to many of our field sites. It’s also about 2 hours from the nearest exit outRead more

Yellowstone: June 16th, 2013

In previous blog posts I’ve mentioned having weird dreams but this morning takes the cake! Have you ever heard your name being called in the middle of the night or right when you are dozing off? I think it’s fairly common and experts say it’s a hallucination of a sleepy mind. I woke up at about 4 am to a disembodied voice say something. The freaky part is that Brooke, one of the new forest ecologists from Wisconsin, woke upRead more