Yellowstone Youngsters
July, 2000

We returned to Yellowstone National Park for the third time in nine months.  Last November we were practically by ourselves.  Most of the park was closed and we were the only ones staying in the single campground that was open.  We came back in May, shortly after the park reopened.  There was still snow on the ground and the crowds hadn't arrived. 
During our visit in May, the boys had their Junior Ranger worksheets signed off by  Ranger Jessica.  She asked if she could take a picture of them in their Junior Ranger shirts for the Park's outdoor evening slide show titled "Yellowstone Youngsters".  It's about the young animals of the park, (including kids), and promotes the Junior Ranger program.  So here we are for our third visit to the Park to see the slide show.  They wore their shirts to the show that evening and Ranger Jessica also invited them onto the stage.

More Bears

We were the first ones to see a grizzly this evening.  Soon, sixteen other cars stopped to look.  Max had more fun counting the people that stopped than looking at the bear.
This soon turned into some interesting episodes on observing human nature. Mitch and Max would ask to pull the truck over to the road's shoulder, then get out and look off into the distance with our binoculars at nothing.  Then they'd see how many people would stop, get out and try to figure out what they were looking at.  You'd be surprised at the number of cars that would accumulate.
This Honey Bucket was along side of the construction project at Fishing Bridge.  (There's a young, female flagger inside).  When the flagger went in, there was no buffalo there.  You should have seen her run when she stepped out.  The buffalo was actually five feet back and looking right at her.
It is really something to get this close to the animals in the wild.
At the Fishing Bridge Campground there are wide strips of trees between the rows of RVs.
The boys spent all of their free time out here building forts and teepees.  Max learned the hard way that the misquotes come out in mass as the sun goes down.

On our third visit we finally got to see a beaver.  There where three of them swimming with branches from two hundred yards upstream to add to a dam they had built across the small river. 

On our way to Yellowstone we met up with some friends, Don and Linda, that we met in Medford Oregon.  We also ran into them again in San Diego.  They really like to fly fish and we learned all about the sport.  We met up with them along a stretch of the Henry's Fork River in eastern Idaho.  This river is for catch-and-release fishing only.  They showed the boys how to handle the fly poles but the only thing caught that morning was Max's arm.  All Max had to say was, "Dad, did you say these were barb-less hooks?"
That afternoon Linda showed the kids how to tie their own flies.  At one point Mitch looked up and said, "Dad this is going to cost you."
So far I'm only out $100 for a beginners pole and reel and a simple fly tying kit.  I can hardly wait to see if they can really catch a fish with some of the exotic bugs they have tied so far.
 
The fish at Fishing Bridge in Yellowstone were feeding on a large hatch of bugs the morning we were there.  There was a fish every two to three feet across the river.  In the afternoon when the bugs are low the boys would catch bugs and throw them to the fish. 

A pelican flew over and all of the fish jumped up out of the water at exactly the same instant in order to get a quick, deep dive to safety.
 

This may look like a poor picture, but each little spot is a bug.  Since the fish are eating thousands of bugs, it's a great time to fly fish. (No, the bugs don't bite or sting).  Mitch and Max caught bugs again and threw them to the fish. There were so many bugs on the water that the fish could pick and choose the freshest, juiciest ones.  We could see how challenging it is to tie a good fly hook.  Most of the real bugs we tossed in just floated by the fish.
We drove fifteen miles north of Yellowstone National Park and walked through a cattle field and up a hill to a petrified forest.  It was a hot, steep climb but we did find many petrified trees.  Some were standing vertically in the rocks.  They had been covered by volcanic ash and had stood there for millions of years ago.   Max can be seen coming down the trail between the branches of the evergreens.  Cheryl and Mitch are above him.  I had came back on a trail that stayed on the upper ridge where I took this picture.

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