In Search of Beauty and Knowledge
July 3, 2015
Today was my last full day as a Roads scholar and that is a good thing, as my head has gotten full.
We started up Mt. Washburn on our way to Yellowstone Lake. Along the way there was a lot of evidence of the 1988 fire that burned a large portion of Yellowstone. While there had been any number of options on how to clean up the mess, the management philosophy was to let nature take its course. And it is replenishing itself with many stands of lodge pole pines that needed a good fire in order to propagate themselves. It will take a hundred years before it returns to its pre-fire condition, at which time another fire can be expected. Circle of life and all of that.
I couldn’t get a picture of a grizzly so you get the Grand Canyon
We did spot a grizzly along the way but it was far off and that is the way everyone likes it. The park service puts more effort now into managing people than into managing the animals. If you get hurt in the park by either an animal or some feature of the park, and you sue the park, you are going to lose. The assumption is that you were doing something stupid and probably deserved what you got. Accepting responsibility-what a concept!
A herd of buffalo
We spotted a herd of buffalo all of which were females and calves. The males only show up when it is time to party and pretty much wander around alone. The males are big, much more so then the females. It is a nice thing that an animal that was reduced in number to 1091 has now made such a come back that herds like the one above is hardly worth noting.
Young bull elk.
There are also a lot of elk around and I finally got a picture of a bull. The female elks tend to stay in herds and keep the young in line and they are everywhere. I got to hear a female bugle to her youngster, an act that is not often performed. The males bugle in courtship but the females rarely do.
We took a good hike along the Yellowstone River and I got a shot of the scholars with a rainbow behind them. Nice bunch of people.
After dinner and another lecture the program came to an end. If one travels the roads of Yellowstone you will get to visit 2 % of the park. I would allow a week to do this on your own. If you go along with a guide like Gene Ball, from Leeville, LA, no less, I would allow about a month. This guy wants to look at every bird, every piece of scat, and every blow hole. At 71 his enthusiasm is contagious. He made the trip.
So after I have a farewell beer with Gene and our lovely coordinator Sharon Anderson, I am going to pull the plug on the knowledge section of this tour and go back to doing what I do best-wander around aimlessly.