It was an early April morning in 2022. The interior roads had still not started opening up, leaving just the Northern Range of the park available to adventure in with ease. The snow had mostly melted out in the main areas of the region, giving ample opportunity to wander around. However, the mud was pretty rough on a lot of the trails, as it had only just started to warm up. The goal for the day was to scamper up the hills and get to the top of Druid Peak. The mud and lingering snow made that hope just a dream, so a different adventure was picked.
With all the snow gone in the Tower Falls area, it was a bit of a no-brainer to head up to the falls and then hike down the path to the Yellowstone River. While I skied and snowshoed a bunch of times to the overlook of the waterfall, I hadn’t been down to the river in an embarrassingly long time. Now that there was no snow on the road or the trail down, I decided not to let this opportunity pass. There were also zero other cars parked at the start of the trail, giving an added bonus of solitude and seclusion.
It would be a decent day hike, six miles in length with a little under 800 feet of elevation gain. Not quite the off-trail adventure I had in mind when I drove into the park that day, but it would totally work. There would be a chance to see wildlife and have moments along the river, which was just starting to flow a little higher. The high waters of the record June 2022 flood were still a long ways off.
About the Picture
After walking the road to the falls, dropping down to the river and watching a bison in the distance, it was time to start walking back. While ending a hike is always sad, on this day, I decided to save on of my favorite spots for last- Calcite Springs Overlook.
It was there, way off in the distance, across the canyon and river far below, that I spotted a bit of movement in a hillside very far away. A closer look through binoculars showed me a herd of bison in the far distance, and a gaggle of bighorn sheep in the near distance.
As always, click on the images to see them larger.
This is what the scene looked like from the Calcite Springs Overlook:
Now, I could obviously just be a jerk and have you search for the bison and bighorn sheep in this picture.
I won’t, though. From this distance, you’d only see small specks at best.
Instead, this is the image which I’ll use for this week’s Find the Animal Friday.
Still Having Trouble?
Here is another picture, zoomed in even more. Once you locate them, see if you can find them in the previous two images, based on their position and the landmarks around the animals. By doing this, you’ll start to develop your wildlife spotting skills to be ready for a Yellowstone adventure!