All winter long I write about Yellowstone National Park and post, from time to time, a few things about fly fishing. During the summer, I hardly ever I write about the curiosities of Yellowstone as fishing consumes me. Hiking without a fly rod is simply strange……as most of you know, the Park waters are not yet open to fishing, therefore I had to leave the rod at home. Most of the rivers in YNP are muddy and should be clear by the end of June. The Firehole will be fishable when the Park opens at the end of this month.
My wife, the Park Ranger, and I took hike yesterday up Specimen Ridge to look for petrified trees which have been exposed from wind, snow and rain erosion. Yellowstone has the largest collection of petrified trees in the United States, some say the world. A few trees are upright, in the growing position, yet geologists argue whether or not these trees actually grew right here or got pushed to this place by glaciers or mud flows…….geologists love to argue. 40-55 million years ago, these trees were covered in ash and volcanic mudflows. At one point in time Redwoods grew here, telling us that the climate was much warmer and closer to the ocean, than today.
This blue grouse, or dusty grouse, was in full mating display for several minutes. We sat down, watched and listened as he courted the female about 3 feet away. Springtime in Yellowstone is one of the best time frames for seeing wildlife without the crowds of summer. We saw eight different bears on our drive through the Park, two different sets of a sow and two cubs, and two different single griz browsing for food. Don’t forget that bear spray!