Yellowstone Yearround Adventures




12/22/07: Watched the Druid pack north of the road by Trout Lake, close to where they were the day before. Not much activity as they were bedded on the ridge. A little play by the pups. The bull elk are still at Lava Creek, some today were close enough for great photo opportunities as they grazed close in the area of Blacktail Ponds. Big horn sheep grazing on McMinn Bench above Gardiner canyon. Went west of the arch on the old road and found pronghorn antelope, mule deer, and whitetail deer.

12/21/07: Druid wolf pack were south of Soda Butte this morning. We watched as they socialized and they put on a grand performance of howling which echoed off the cliffs above them increasing the magnificence of the performance. As we watched they started traveling east in groups and sometimes singles and eventually crossed the road and went to a carcass site on the north side of the roadway. They were close enough one did not need optics for viewing. Part of the day was also spent watching the large bull elk at Lava Creek and the big horn sheep in Gardiner canyon.

12/4/07: Spent the day with a couple from Florida that came north to view wildlife in Yellowstone during winter season. The day was quite rewarding as we saw not one but two packs of wolves, these being the Druids and Slough Creek packs. We saw a total of 23 wolves this day and we were treated to the Druids putting on a howling show. The big horn sheep were in the Gardiner river canyon and also spotted some large rams on Specimen Ridge between Tower Junction and Lamar Valley. Found 4 large bull elk at Black Tail Creek and they posed nicely for photos. It was another great day.

11/20/07: Spent the day in the field with a couple from Texas. We watched the Agate pack in the Tower Junction area. They were resting on an open hillside but once in awhile one or two would get up and move a short distance to a carcass and feed. Back in Mammoth we stopped at Pallette terrace and went up the boardwalk. There was a black wolf pup standing watching us, tired of that and picked up a bone from a carcass and walked up the hill and out of sight. Really close and an awesome experience. The couple was highly pleased and many photos were taken. On leaving the terraces we proceeded down the Gardiner canyon and located 8 big horn sheep rams watching us from the cliffs.

11/06/07: With the interior of the park closing down in preparation for winter season and over snow vehicles our touring turns exclusively to winter wildlife tours on the northern range. This is the area from Gardiner to Cooke City and points in between. Today my client was treated to having the opportunity to watch 14 of the Agate wolf pack and as an added bonus we got to hear them do a group howling.  Throughout the day we were able to locate and enjoy several other species of wildlife. These included 20 bighorn sheep, 1 mountain goat on Barronette Peak, 3 bald eagles in Lamar area, coyotes, mule deer, elk, bison, pronghorn antelope, mule deer and a rare treat of getting to see a small herd of white tail deer in the area of Tower Junction.

11/03/07: Spent a good part of the morning watching the Druid pack in Lamar Valley in the area of the Institute. They were feeding on an elk carcass on the edge of the Lamar River. Their meal was interrupted by the arrival of a grizzly that went right to the carcass, scattering the Druids in the process. It was fun to watch the interaction as the wolves would try to distract the grizzly and give another wolf the opportunity to sneak in and get a bite or pull some meat from the carcass and make a hasty retreat. This went on for quite sometime before the grizzly left the carcass, waded the river and bedded down on the other side close to the carcass. He must have been full as the wolves were able to move onto the carcass and resume feeding without any interference from the bear. As if on que the wolves gathered and left the area up river and not long after the grizzly also left, leaving the carcass to the coyotes and ravens. The drama was very exciting for sometime and appreciated by all that got to witness it. On our way back to Gardiner we were able to locate and watch the big horn sheep on the cliffs in the Gardiner canyon as they worked their way down the steep cliffs to the river to drink.

10-26-07: Went into the park today and just inside the north gate less than a mile spotted 16 big horn sheep rams on the hillside coming down to water at the Gardiner River. It is also getting to the time of the year for their mating season so they were also doing some fairly aggressive posturing and head butting. The sharp “crack” sound as they crashed together was very clear between the canyon sides. Located one nice bull elk still with his harem not far above the sheep on the Gardiner River. Also watched a pair of mature bald eagles perched on a snag along the Madison River. Bison and elk were also along the Madison River. It was a very enjoyable few hours in “Wonderland”.

10/12-16/07: I spent the last five days in the field with another outfitter, assisting him with a tour. We stayed 2 nights at Signal Mountain Lodge in the Tetons and 2 nights at Old Faithful. Spent some time at the Ox-Bow section of the Snake River while in the Tetons and were able to locate and enjoy beaver, muskrat, and also a family of River Otters. The elk were moving onto the refuge on the north side of Jackson. I counted one herd of 58 bull elk together. Quite a sight. Enjoyed the time at Old Faithful area and the adjoining basins. The group were treated to a lot of great geyser activity. They were able to see Grand Geyser, Riverside, Castle, Grotto, Grottos Fountain, and of course the signature geyser of the area, Old Faithful.

9-30-07:
Took a return client into Yellowstone today. We spent a lot of time watching and my client photographing the elk at Mammoth. They were bugling and working hard to keep their harems of cows together. The sound of a bugling bull elk early on a fall morning is a great experience and always remembered. A black bear was gathering quite a crowd close to Tower and she was fun to watch. Found another one later in the day just above Tower Junction. Also a nice herd of bison right at Tower Junction and created a minor traffic jam as they decided to travel the old stage road. We later traveled to the Narrows by Tower Junction and the big horn sheep were right close to the road area so again another great photo opportunity. Spotted a grizzly on Mount Washburn and found several mountain goats on Upper Barronette Peak. Another great day in Yellowstone Park

9-29-07: Carol and I had some free time so we decided to take a quick trip into the Tower/Lamar Valley area.
The short time we were in our decision was well rewarded. There was a black bear sow with a cub in great viewing distance right at Elk Creek. It was a nice way to start the morning. Photographed a cow and calf moose at Round Prairie and were able to find 3 mountain goats on Lower Barronette Peak.

9-11-07: Lee spent the day with a couple from the United Kingdom that had come to Yellowstone to celebrate their anniversary and of course if possible get the chance to see wolves and bears. They spent most of their day in Lamar watching the Slough Creek pack and a grizzly sow with triplets. Later they traveled to Barronette Peak and were able to see mountain goats. We were very honored to be a part of their time in the United States and be able to help them realize their dream of wolves and bears in the wild.

9-9-07: Had some free time from the Popular Photography touring so made a side trip on my own to Hayden Valley just to look around. Just past Grizzly Overlook was treated to getting to watch the Alpha Male of the Hayden wolf pack cross the road just yards away carrying meat, most probably back to the pups. After crossing the road he went to the Yellowstone River, swam across, stopped and watched all those watching him, and then trotted off into the sagebrush.

9-8-07: Spent a few days over in West Yellowstone assisting with the guiding of the Popular Photography mentor series, which is based out of New York. It is very exciting to get to spend time with those that are so accomplished in the field of photography and be a part of such an exciting program. This is my third year with them.

9-7-07: Met with a group at Mammoth who hoped to the Yellowstone wolves. The day was awesome as we traveled to the Mount Washburn area and watched several of the Agate pack. They were treated to howling as well as witnessing the socializing when the Alpha male came to the area. The pack then started to bed down so we left and went to the Lamar Valley and watched a grizzly across from the institute foraging. We later traveled to Barronette Peak and were able to find 6 mountain goats on the peak high above our vantage point. This group had never before seen wolves, grizzlies, or mountain goats in the wild so it was a very memorable day and it was great to be a part of their time in Yellowstone.

9-5-07: Lee had a banner day in the field with his group. They spent time enjoying the play of 5 of the Slough Creek pups and then watched a grizzly across from the Institute. Later in the day the big horn sheep were at the Narrows on the Yellowstone. They also were treated to a sighting of a cow moose on the south side of Dunraven Pass. The elk have started coming into Mammoth.

8-31-07: Took a couple from North Carolina into the park before daylight this morning. They were hoping to get the chance to see Yellowstone wolves in the wild. We were a Lamar Valley before daylight and wound up climbing Cardiac Hill to increase our chances of catching the wolves across the Lamar River on Jasper Bench. The climb was well rewarded. We watched 17 of the Slough Creek pack for over 2 hours. We saw all 13 pups. From our vantage we were able to observe the social behavior which included the adults feeding the pups by regurgitation. Traveled up to Barronette Peak and located 6 mountain goats on the high slopes.
Another great day in Wonderland.

08-23-07: Lee and I were both in the field today with 2 different groups enjoying their Yellowstone family vacations. Our time was spent in the Lamar Valley and Dunraven Pass area. We watched the Agate’s, one of the packs of Yellowstone wolves. Big horn sheep have moved back to the Narrows on the Yellowstone and are always fun to watch. The very respectable bull moose that has been in the lower end of Antelope Creek showed himself again today and provided some very gracious wildlife nature photography opportunities. The buffalo in Lamar Valley area were close and it was great viewing. Had time to take my group on a short day hike in the area and checked out some of the buffalo wallow sites, after the buffalo had left the area. Another great day in Yellowstone National Park.

8-22-07: Our guide Lee took a family of 5 out today as they were in hopes of having the chance to see Yellowstone wolves, do a little bear watching if possible, and if lucky see grizzly bears. What a day they had with all their wishes answered. They watched 8 of the Slough Creek wolf pack in Lamar Valley, then went to the high country on Mount Washburn and saw 4 of the Agate wolf pack. From there they went to Dunraven Pass and got to see their grizzly bear, not one but 3, and for good measure 2 black bears as well.

8-20-07: Out with a family on a Yellowstone tour, the main focus was viewing Yellowstone wolves and grizzly bears. What luck we had. In Lamar Valley we watched all 22 of the Slough Creek wolf pack as they traveled single file across Jasper Bench. The pups are very playful and fun to watch as they wrestle, play tag, and tug of war with a stick. Like all kids, they love to play. We then went up onto Dunraven Pass and got to see the very rare site of a grizzly sow with 4 cubs. What a treat that was. It will be hard to beat this day.

8-19-07: In the park early again today with a couple to do a tour of the upper area of Yellowstone.
Near Dunraven Pass we were treated to having the opportunity to view a black bear with her cub of the year. She was working the white bark pine tree areas in search of cones. The cones offer a lot of protein and calories and help them put on extra weight for the winter hibernation. After spending time with the bears we left and continued on to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. The words awe inspiring do not do justice to the beauty of the canyon as we watched the water of the Yellowstone River tumble over the lower falls, dropping 308 feet to the canyon floor, there resuming its journey to the Missouri River. After leaving the canyon we journeyed out into Hayden Valley and the buffalo as if on cue were everywhere. It is their mating season and many of the buffalo of Yellowstone come to this area during the first three weeks of August. They were close to the road and the photo opportunities were great with a background of rolling sagebrush hills and the Yellowstone River snaking its way along the valley floor.

8-18-07: Spent the day on a sightseeing tour as part of their trip to Yellowstone.
The better part of the day was spent in the lower basin area and we were treated to some above average geyser gazing. Old Faithful put on its usual great show but we also were very fortunate and got to witness a dynamic display by Great Fountain Geyser. Cliff geyser was much enjoyed also as we watched the cycle of the eruption and witnessed the draining of the pool as you would watch a bath tub drain. The hot springs in the area were a beautiful touch as always, including the special beauty of Emerald Pool in Black Sand basin. As always the colored bubbling mud at the fountain paint pots was a joy to see. Yes, it was a great day in the thermal area.


I was so impressed with Rick's knowledge of the Park and his skill in knowing the behavior of animals... Now, my wife and I along with our three children had toured the Park many times over the years, but we always did it the same way: kids and baggage loaded in the car, a drive through east to west or north to south and a lot of "point and shoot" photography. Not that there is anything wrong with that approach; except one misses some of the vast beauty and very unique character of Yellowstone National Park... You will have a great experience arranging a tour with Yellowstone Yearround Adventures. If you have children or grandchildren with you, they will be enriched by the knowledge and skill of Rick Keats and his tour guiding. And, all of you participating will clearly see more, learn more, and have a very positive experience letting someone else do the driving, help with supervision around the wild animals, and prepare your picnic lunch.

Don and Gayle Hooper

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