Escapades in Gardiner, MT outside Yellowstone National Park

Today was a beautiful day to drive through the Rocky Mountains.  The Beartooth Pass has already closed so I had to take the long way, west to Livingston and south from there.  For most of the trip, the road follows the Yellowstone River which according to “Tom the bartender from Billings, MT” is the only river in the entire U.S. that is not dammed.  To the northwest stood the snow topped Crazy Woman Mountains held sacred to the Crow.

Closer to the park I got my first glimpse of buffalo and later after checking into the hotel, I got the closest glimpse I’ve ever experienced of deer and elk.  I was walking around Gardiner, a rather cute tourist town just outside the northern entrance to the park.  I came across a side street where there was a family of deer in the front yard of the house on the corner.  Susan had showed me how to walk silently like the Lakota so I used this technique to creep up as close as possible.  I stood completely still in the street when their ears perked only to watch a local man walk loudly past me straight towards them and around the corner.  They hardly flinched and I laughed at how amusing I must have looked.  I walked up to about 20 feet from the family; there were 5 does and 3 fawns. I got a number of photos but I’m inserting the best of them.  I’m really happy with the way it turned out.

They weren’t frightened by humans in the least.  But I kept my distance, remembering what the police officer from Billings had told me, though they never stamped their feet or showed any signs of aggression.  I didn’t think I would get a better view of these beautiful animals than this.  I thought of how much my Dad would have loved to be standing there.  Later as the sun was going down, I came across a group of elk feasting on a crabapple tree.  The photo is a bit fuzzy as it was getting too dark.  I had never seen a living elk, let alone one that was almost within arms reach.

I spent some time frolicking along the Yellowstone River.  I found a perfect rock, round and pock marked, the size and shape of an ostrich egg.  I wanted to bring it with me as it felt so amazing in my hands but I decided to leave it in its natural habitat.  I did take some lovely photos in various positions; the one below is my favorite.



4 thoughts on “Escapades in Gardiner, MT outside Yellowstone National Park

  1. I have always wanted to go to Yellowstone. I am soooo jealous! We also have Elk here, west of Los Alamos, I saw them in a large herd from afar at Valles Caldera National Park. Make sure to keep taking lots of pics!

  2. Loved Yellowstone,,,The Grand Tetons,,rocky mtn national,,etc,,wonderfull part of the country,,and so much more for you to see,,,the west coast will amaze you also!!1

  3. Fade…How funny that you would compare your speacial rock to an ostrich egg, because TODAY, a friend gave me an OSTRICH EGG! It was decorated in turquoise stones and rhinestones all over and has four doors that open up to show a model of an American Indian kneeling beside his tipi and dipping his hand into a faux pool of water.

    Emerson & I loved your writing. We miss you.


    • Aw yay! More synchronicity. 🙂 I’m glad you’re staying with me. I was at the Yellowstone Park store at Old Faithful and thought of you when I saw Richard Louv’s books. I imagine you’ve probably read “Last Child in the Woods.” I’ll pick it up eventually. I also saw something by John Neihardt that brought me to his book, Black Elk Speaks, so I picked that up at a used book shop on my way to Seattle yesterday. Excited to read. When do you hear back about the job?

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