Sunday, August 6, 2017
Scene & Story - July 2017
One of the most unforgettable experiences in Yellowstone is seeing wolves. Most people don't even see them because you need to get up early to have a chance of a wolf encounter.
The Lamar Valley is home to one or two wolf packs, and so we headed out one morning before sunrise. We first saw a black bear right at the side of the road who didn't bother to pay any attention to these humans in their funny little boxes on wheels. After the bear had trundled away we continued our journey into the valley - and when we reached the top of a hill we had this stunning view over the valley.
I already knew when I took photos of this moment before the sun rose over the mountains that one of them would be a favorite of the month. This image reflects the atmosphere of that morning in Lamar Valley perfectly - the beginning of a new day, cool air before the heat, the meadows with the Lamar River meandering through them and those tall trees scattered all around. It holds the anticipation of seeing wildlife - at this moment I didn't know that only minutes later I would see five wolves feeding on a bison carcass and, after their meal, standing together and howling, an eerily spooky and beautiful sound at the same time. I would stand and stare through the scopes and listen to those "wolf watchers" talk to each other, deeply envying them for the time and leisure they had to follow these amazing animals day after day and get familiar with their behavior. My heart would beat for joy that I could see the wolves.
But all of this I didn't know when I took this photo, but when I look at it now it all comes back. I have always loved the gentle Lamar Valley with its abundance of wildlife and its tranquility. I know how quickly it can change from calmness to excitement, from peaceful enjoyment to breath taking joy.
I'm joining Sarah and León for Scene and Story.