Saturday, May 14, 2011

Beaver Ponds Trail Backwards

Last year I did a post about hiking the Beaver Ponds Trail. Today I hiked the loop in the opposite direction. Just as I began I met a large group of fellow employees but let them go ahead. Doing it solo this year gave me a lot more time to take photos.

I thought of doing the hike last week but took the bluebird trail that day instead.

A couple days ago I witnessed bison running (not something usually seen here) down the old dirt road on the hill behind the dorm. They ran past the hotel and the leader, after reaching the open grass and sage across the street, turned and was practically jumping with excitement as he bobbed his head up and down. Do you think it's just a coincidence that this happened a few days after the park began releasing bison which had been held in pens all winter to keep them from migrating into areas where they're not welcome?

A little while after the above shot I was warned by a pair of returning hikers that there were bison in the trees by the trail ahead. I hurried forward to witness this but it turned out the bison were actually beneath the trees. I should have been tipped off by the cell phone and flip flops. Just kidding--I don't actually remember how it was phrased. But the cell phone and flip flops were real. I detoured without taking photos because even my detour took me closer to the bison than I should have been.

I followed that adventure by walking along the edge of a mostly snow-covered portion of the trail. There was a steep drop-off to my right so I buried my left hand in the snow to turn myself into a more stable tripod. The lack of fresh footprints told me that the more sensible people ahead of me had detoured around this as well as the bison, but I didn't want to turn back. By the time I finished that trail section, my left hand was cold and red and my right hand was shaking from the adrenaline. It was mostly smooth sailing from there on.

One of the many burrows, which for reasons I could only guess at, are located just beside the trail:

Beetle trails on the beaver trail.

The trail scat portion of our program is brought to you by the critters of Yellowstone.

After that, you deserve a buttercup and a shooting star.

The star of our show, possibly being played today by a muskrat. I wasn't really close enough to be sure and never saw the tail.


Allan Stellar said...

You are getting much more adventurous...

Love the scat shots!

greentangle said...

Only in the woods with trees to bounce off while I'm falling--the next day I was on a wide open trail on the side of a mountain and said nope, can't do this.

veganelder said...

Cool scat. :-)