• Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Visit: Montana Cowgirl
  • Saturday, April 18, 2009

    Mostly Gentle

    "U" Turn At Apollinaris Spring
    the dodo's are lose
    .. It would seem that on the second day of Yellowstone's Summer Season that visitors savvy enough to arrive early would also be smart enough to have a bit of consideration and suavity - not so for a few of the visitors that we saw yesterday.
    .. Briefly: a madhouse of dogs running lose on the lawn at the Albright Visitor Center, "U" turns in several unlikely and unsafe places, parking in the road, toddlers running in the road, toddlers between elk & bison & sink holes, cars sideways in the road with no driver, cars buried in the untracked snow of side roads and pull-outs, bicyclists three abreast going up the hill from Mammoth, bicyclists and their water stations taking up full pullouts, mobile condominiums pulling Hummer's parked in the middle of the road at Gibbon Falls, etc.
    .. It's no wonder we did not see any law enforcement all day - they're probably hiding from the chaos.
    .. But, we digress. The Gibbon river drainage is only slightly ahead of the Madison River drainage in it's runoff, (yes there's more pictures of culverts in the slide show.)
    .. There is very little color in the water and it's bank-full. We took a few of the obligatory pictures to prove that we actually got off of our duff and made the trip. Flood stage can only be a week or so away for the Gibbon River - talk about color, we'll let you know.
    .. There was a mayfly of some sort spotted in the "Tunnel" just upriver from Tuff Cliff. Not far away was a dead ground squirrel. We speculate that the two are not related - but . . .
    .. Gibbon Falls is still running clear. We would have taken a picture but an obstruction in the form of a land yacht was jackknifed and parked on the double yellow line - check his pictures; his wife was yelling instructions from the open side door. She ignored many unfriendly finger-salutes from a long line of irritated visitors weaving their way past the bright orange monster.
    .. The Gibbon River Canyon is particularly beautiful this time of the year. We're going to miss the fishing during the road construction. The route of the new road will make access to about 3 miles of the canyon a genuine backcountry adventure. Reclamation for the old roadbed will guarantee that the down and up of it will reduce fishing pressure.
    .. A graben has opened up in the middle of the soon-to-be-abandoned road section. It looks like the road is about to slide into the river. Repairs and abandonment are probably right on time.
    .. The big meadows, (Elk Meadows and Gibbon Meadows,) are still covered with a foot or more of snow. No elk were present but coyotes and bison were under the cloud of spume from Monument, (bison in the trees is like trout in the grass- rare but not unusual.)
    .. The little meadows at Norris are nearly snow-free and thoroughly saturated with ponded water and geese. The grayling meadows above the cascades are pure white and driven.
    .. With the opening just 4 weeks away, (May 22, 2009,) and the long range forecast in our favor there might be a chance to fish these areas early. On the other hand given the caprice of mom, there could be mud in the water through the second week in June, (oe even later,) - we'll have to wait and see.
    .. Elroy joined us for coffee and a cigar as we watched the geese near the confluence of Solfaterra Creek and the Gibbon River. He was alone and persistent; seemed more vocal than the other day too.
    .. Mammoth in the early season is just a mini-chaos compared to July and August. We decided to brave it and check out the discharges from Obsidian Creek and Indian Creek. Both are crystal clear and slow.
    .. The springs at Mammoth are dry and chalky and the runoff is very low to non existent. The construction project at the restrooms may have hit a glitch and could keep 1/2 of the facility closed until the very late season.
    .. Now is the time for architectural photography in Mammoth. It's possible to gain some unobstructed views and perspectives - if you are patient. The historic buildings are, (for the most part,) not obscured by the vegetation of invasive landscaping. Pick your spot and lighting conditions. We took a few and a wallpaper edition will be forthcoming.