Big Bus Tour to Lamar Valley

We were going on our last tour and were excited because it was to Lamar Valley.  Lamar Valley is home to bison, elk, mountain sheep, grizzly bears and wolves and we hoped to see some of them in their natural habitat.  Our tour began at 4:30pm at Canyon Valley Lodge. We left early around 2:30pm as one never knows what might happen.  When an animal jam occurs, it might take hours to get moving again.  So far on our vacation we only ran into 3 and were able to take photos and move on.  Just in case you don’t know, an animal jam happens when someone spies an animal and everyone stops to look at it and a long line of traffic occurs.  People often park on the sides of the road or even jump out of their cars to get photos – leaving their vehicles in the middle of the road.

There were quite a few people waiting for the tour and it was already past time for our transportation to arrive.  Then we saw a huge bus pull up and we were disappointed to discover that we were going on a that bus.  When Shawn and I got on, we saw that there were already tourists on the bus so we ended up half way back. Not a very good photography situation. The driver was an elderly man who seemed a bit unsure of himself but anyways we were off.

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The first thing that happened – we came upon a herd of bison crossing the road. We didn’t get out but did get some shots out of the window.

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Buffalo grazing after crossing the road.

Next, we stopped  along the Yellowstone River where there had been sightings of a nest of osprey.  There was room for us to stop so we all clambered out of the bus.  The driver set up a spotting scope and people took turns taking a look.  There was the nest but the osprey wasn’t at home.  I spent my time trying to take flower photos and looking for the osprey’s nest through my camera lens.

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Lovely flowers along the Yellowstone River.

Moving right along, someone spied some mountain sheep but there was no where to stop. We didn’t get a chance to see or photograph them. We also  passed by a “bear jam” but again since our bus was so big, there was no place to pull over.  The driver said maybe we would see the bear on the way back.

We stopped several more times but didn’t really see anything close up.  In the distance, we saw deer and elk and did stop along the Yellowstone River to see another bird nest. I could see some babies in the nest using my lens but way too far away to take photos. We did see two bears on the way back but since there was a ranger moving people along, we weren’t able to take many photos.  There was actually a grizzly bear and a black bear in the clearing very close to each other.

This was the most disappointing tour of our trip. It just didn’t make sense to have a tour in such a big bus when you couldn’t even stop to take a picture.  I guess some people just enjoyed the ride and seeing some wild animals from time to time.  For ourselves, we wished we had gone in our own car and had done the tour on our own.  We arrived back in Canyon Village around 8:30pm.  It was still light out so I was happy as I didn’t like driving in the dark.

Near the turn-off for  West Yellowstone, we saw a gorgeous sunset!  We pulled off into the turn-out and got out to take photos.  That was actually our first time to take sunset photos and we didn’t realize how bad the mosquitos were.  Thank goodness I had mosquito repellant to put on.

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This was the first turn-out sunset photo that we took.
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We found another turn-out and took more photos.  Several more cars  joined us.
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We pulled off again up the road as the sunset was stunning!

It was totally dark by the time we got back and we hadn’t eaten.  It was about 9pm so it was a peanut butter sandwich and soup for Shawn and I had fried potatoes and mushrooms. We needed to get to bed early as the next day would be a lot of driving.

While reading up on Yellowstone before we arrived, I noticed quite a bit of information  about the the Museum of the Rockies which houses a collection of the largest dinosaur remains in the United States.  Since we had two free days before our vacation was at an end, we decided to drive to Bozeman and see the museum.

 

 

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