The elk was cool, but we were still on our quest for a bull moose. We stopped one more time before getting to Indian Creek at a little turnout along the Obsidian River at the trailhead for the Grizzly Lake trail. This was marshy, willowy habitat, what seemed like a good place for moose.
Lisa surveys our surroundings.
We hiked part of the trail but all we saw were some HUGE piles of moose scat. In the summer when they're eating more wet vegetation--like algae--their scat loses that rabbit pellet look and takes on the appearance of elephant poo. Lisa's hand, so dangerously close, is for scale.
Now, in 2007 I was only just starting to learn about animal signs--tracks, scat and other markings. When I took the photo below, which was not too far from the scat, I assumed it was a moose or elk rub. But now, as I look back at these images two years later, I realize that all of the antlered animals were still in velvet, and a long way off from making rubs. Probably, then, the marks on this tree were made by a bear.
Yee haw! Elk and deer in less than two hours! Yellowstone was shaping up to be everything we'd hoped it would.
We finally made it to Indian Creek and changed into our hiking gear, loaded a pack, donned our bear bells and hit the trail. There was absolutely nothing to see. The creek was rarely visible from the trail, it was fairly wide open terrain with little cover at mid-day, and the only thing moving was a pine marten that I did manage to get a picture of but then unknowingly deleted it. There wasn't another soul on the trail, we ate lunch on the top of a rise in a copse of trees, and after a few hours were back in the car, hot and tired but so damned excited to be alive.
Next: The Terraces