So a few weeks ago now (yeah, pathetic) I went gallivanting off to Yellowstone for our annual audit trip.  Can you believe it’s been a year?

We work hard, we really do.  Typically we start auditing around 7:30 in the morning and we often don’t quit until we head to dinner around 6.  But just because we work hard doesn’t mean we don’t stop to enjoy our surroundings either.

Thar she blows!  Old Faithful

We also do a lot of traveling around the park, rarely staying more than one night in each location (there are 3 major locations: Mammoth Hot Springs, Old Faithful, and Yellowstone Lake; as well as a number of smaller locations such as Grant, Canyon, and Roosevelt).  Traveling so much does provide for the opportunity to wildlife watch as well.

This coyote was having a grand old time pouncing after ground squirrels.  He came over and sat in the road to block my path for awhile, but then decided the hunting prospects on the other side of the road were looking tasty and mosied that direction. (Thought of taking a pic of him in the road, but it would have had to have been through the windshield and the mass of bugs on that sucker?  Fuggedaboudit.)

This cuddly wuddly bear (not) was spotted during another portion of our trip.  I was lucky enough to see the Grizzly Mama that has 4 cubs as well but there was a huge bear jam and we were tight on time so I didn’t get to stop and take photos.

I did spend a lot of time with these guys (and gals) though.  Here’s a hazard of my new camera:  I can take waaaay more pictures.  I think I took about a hundred in the hour we spent watching these elk one evening.  There are a set of twin fawns as well as another younger fawn, plus their mothers.  All told there were probably a half dozen adults and the three fawns.  They started on the far side of the road from us.

After the mamas crossed the road each of the fawns decided to make the trek.  It took a few tries.  But the twins both made it shortly.  (Don’t worry to much, traffic was at a dead stop or creepy crawl because people were gawking.)

The littlest guy was a big chicken though.  We stayed and watched them for about an hour and he never did cross the road… so wait, didn’t the chicken get to the other side?  Well I suppose this one did eventually.

And here’s something else a bit wild for you.

I was fortunate enough to meet author C.J. Box while we were at Old Faithful.  I like him for two reasons:  first he killed off a few of our more prestigious Yellowstone employees (including our GM), and more recently he murdered a few campers (and burned down their mega RV) at Josh’s resort.  We were fortunate to receive a signed copy of Below Zero for Christmas this past year.  Since he was at Old Faithful doing a book signing for his latest release (Nowhere to Run), I asked him to sign that one to my mom.  As a thank you.  Because did I mention that while I left on Sunday the 13th to drive to YNP, that Josh had left on a work trip the Thursday prior?  And he didn’t come home until Wednesday the 16th.  Which left my mom wholly in charge of the Boy and the Girl for nearly 4 days.  I’d say that earned her a signed book at least.  But, um, she has to let me read it first…  But back to Mr. Box.  He was more than gracious, seemed truly thrilled to meet me (he knows of my hubby), spoke to myself and one of my coworkers for probably a good 10 minutes (I felt a bit bad for the folks waiting behind us), and promised he was trying to get back to the Hills soon.  I hope he meant it.

Overall, it was another good trip.  Except the snow part.  Which I’m not going to mention except for those 4 words.  The only real downer was the timing.  On Friday, I had to leave Mammoth at 6 am to drive back home.  I promptly watered mom’s plants (she was in Milwaukee by then for my brother’s youngest’s first birthday), took one bag out of the car, threw about 3 more in, drove to the Big City to pick up Josh, his middle sister and her boyfriend, and then continue driving another 5.5 hours across the state to a family reunion.  We finally rolled into the farm at about 10 pm Eastern (9 pm Mountain) that evening.  Yeow.

Mammoth Hot Springs.  Very cool in the sunrise/sunset.