Island Park & Yellowstone

Saturday Sept 15, 2018

The quest: get a picture of Canada geese on the wing with pine trees in the photo.

So I left my house at 6:00 a.m. (I missed my 5:00 departure because I really wanted to sleep) and headed for Island Park ID. The perfect location and since the geese are headed South for the winter there was a good chance I’d get the right photo.

I did not stop in Blackfoot where the dark was slowly fading and dark geese crossed the sky over the freeway. No, I was on a quest and I’d find my photo north of here.

Sunrise in Idaho Falls

It was full on morning by the time I reached Island Park.

Great blue heron _JLS2632b

Great blue heron 2

Autumn color along Chick Creek road … but no geese _JLS2679b

My car loves my mother. Any time I accidentally hit a button on the car it calls mom. I love this because while I think about her all the time, I usually am not near the phone. My car takes care of me. This time I was in Island Park and I had my mom on the phone and I learned that when she was living there (when first married to my dad) she fell in love with the birds that were there in such abundance. She remembered the flocks of geese flying overhead. We talked about family history and Island Park. It was awesome.

A view of the Tetons

The stockyard in Island Park _JLS2690

I drove out where the family had property off of Chick Creek road. Some of my extended family still does …

My uncle has created a lodge that people can rent.

South Sawmill Lodge & Reunion Center _JLS2765b

Truck from the old family sawmill, with new lettering (Thanks Uncle Randy!)

Lots of great trees and scenery but few birds and no geese. I headed towards Yellowstone. After all, the fall Elk rut had begun and maybe I’d be able to get photos of that…

Autumn color _JLS2772

So I drove, and drove, and got stuck waiting for construction congestion to clear (read my book) and enjoyed the lovely weather and sunshine and trees… I was on my way out of the North entrance when I finally found elk, female and juvenile elk.


I kept just driving around and came across this interesting building. The pond is awfully small but it looks like a boat house. _JLS2850


I stopped for an early dinner in Gardiner then turned around and headed for home. This time I found a mom and young elk on a lawn in Mammoth. This fawn was scrubbing his face and neck on the lawn, it was adorable. _JLS2956

I did not find a bull elk till I was in the Madison River valley and almost out of the park. Unfortunately, there were park rangers forcing traffic to move along, and after waiting in the line for 45 minutes I was happy to see them. But sad that I wasn’t going to get any photos.

This raven was pretty awesome though

So no elk in rut and no geese in flight. I saw a few geese along the river, but they were far off and just sitting still.

Juvenile swans (cygnets) _JLS3072b

14 hours after leaving my house I was home. I had a lovely day. Great scenery, lovely weather, I was able to drive around the parks with my windows and sun roof open, AND a great conversation with my mom.

— Jenny

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