It is finally getting dark. Dusk this time of year in Yellowstone comes around 9:00 p.m., almost the same as in Texas. We arrived in Bozeman to rain and 48 degrees. Gray clouds envelope the city. As we pick up supplies, the locals deny the cold, shopping and doing errands in T-shirts and sandals. Displays of sun dresses and shorts and garden furniture seem out of place.
    The drive to the Park is green, the landscape revived by rain and snowmelt. Elk graze on private pastures across the road from horses. The horses stand almost still, hanging their heads in rain showers while black cattle glide across pastures. One herd of horses has at least five foals. I feel sorry for the little ones in the cold, wet weather. The Yellowstone River rushes past us as high as I've ever seen it, white caps rolling alongside the highway. Not good fishing weather.
    Mountain peaks west of Swan Lake Flats laced with snow rise above the clouds. Moisture hangs in the air and penetrates our skin. Four young bull elk graze next to the General Store, their knobby heads giving them away. The Canyon Pack has been seen hanging around Mammoth, drawn by the elk. Maybe we'll see them this trip.
    After a short stop at the General Store to get propane, we head to Roosevelt. We miss the great gray owl at Phantom Lake today, but see a black bear foraging near Lava Creek. There are supposed to be a lot of bears this year. I read that no one has seen Rosie or her cub this year yet which really bothers me. Rosie was the first bear I ever saw in the Park. Maybe she didn't breed this year and with no coy to protect, maybe she just went back into the hills away from the road.
    The cabin at Roosevelt is small and cold, wooden structures with a double bed, a bedside table with a lamp, and a table/desk and chair. We can see through the slats in the wall. Good thing we bought a space heater in Livingston - the wood stove doesn't quite do the job in this wet weather. There is not much room to spread anything out, but that's okay. The cabin is tight quarters, but enough for us.
    The wood stove is finally churning out some heat as rain taps steadily on the cabin roof. We may even wake up to snow in the morning.

Author - Christine Baleshta
Photography - Tim Springer

Click for larger image

Yellowstone Experiences 2009