YN Photo Tour – Day Six – The Lamar Valley

We got a very early start this morning to make sure we could get to the eastern section of the Lamar/Soda Butte valley before sunrise. It was -8 deg F. when we arrived at a spot on the Soda Butte Creek just west of the Pebble Creek trailhead.

The colors in the sky were muted, but it was still fun to try to get a different composition in this location.

We headed farther along the road toward Silver Gate and turned back around after the Baronette trailhead. We searched for Ice Box Canyon and really didn’t think there was a good way to reach the canyon from the road. At least, it didn’t look that way. I will have to check it out when there’s not so much snow.

We stopped along the Soda Butte Creek in a spot where I shot last year. The snow was so much deeper and the snow piles on the rocks in the creek were much bigger.

We found a flock of photographers at the Lamar Stock Trailhead near the confluence of the Soda Butte Creek and Lamar River. It could only be bighorn sheep.

The expanse of the Lamar Valley from there to the Lamar Canyon was almost devoid of wildlife. We theorized that was due to deep snow in the valley. We stopped at a pullout in the canyon for some very interesting shots of the river and snow covered boulders in the river.

We drove by a larger number of elk all along the road through the Blacktail Deer Plateau and the drive was accented by the sighting of three bull elks just east of the Blacktail Lakes. They showed little fear and one elk actually walked towards us as he browsed for food. I’m not sure I really needed a telephoto lens at the last.

We lunched back in Gardiner and said farewell to Doug as he had to return home to Billings. Claron joined us for a trip down the gravel road that leads south on the western side of the Yellowstone River. The light was very flat and the terrain was not very photogenic, so we return to the motel and took a nap.

The evening light was not much better, but we have been surprised before, so we headed up the road to Jardine. There were a lot of elk and mule deer along the way and two carcasses. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any predators.

The light did improve a bit, so we stopped and tried to capture the feeling.

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