A Year in Review -
2014 for Yellowstone Guidelines

December 28th, 2014 to January 1st, 2015

Happy New Year!!!

Pic of the Week:
wolf watching, Yellowstone National Park

Week of December 21st to December 27th, 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all of us at Yellowstone Guidelines

Pic of the Week:
Moose, Yellowstone National Park, wildlife

Week of December 14th to December 20th, 2014

Pic of the Week:
wolves, wildlife, Yellowstone National Park

Week of December 7th to December 13th, 2014

Pic of the Week: Photo by Danielle Oyler

Week of November 30th to December 6th, 2014

Pic of the Week: Photo by Jason Nichols

Week of November 23rd to November 29th, 2014

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO EVERYONE!!! Hope lots of delicious turkey and the other classic holiday fixings were devoured among friends and family.

Pic of the Week: 

Week of November 16th to November 22nd, 2014

We saw the Junction Butte pack in "Little America" near the Lamar Valley. The wolves were spotted on the west facing slopes of Specimen Ridge. The wolves were moving about in the meadow for 5-10 minutes before disappearing into the thick timber. Black and gray wolves were spotted. A grizzly bear was seen on a carcass in the Pleasant Valley across from Tower Junction at sunset the previous night. Unfortunately, we did not get a chance to see the bruin.

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Week of November 9th to November 15th, 2014

I was in the park this week, touring the park's northern range and Lamar Valley. We was six wolves from the Junction Butte Pack chase elk, watched a grizzly on a carcass, and saw tons of Yellowstone's mega fauna.

Winter is officially here or at least the freezing cold temps. Look at the temperatures pictured below.

Pic of the Week: Courtesy of Yellowstone NPS
Cold temps, Yellowstone

Week of November 2nd to November 8th, 2014

Always a sad day in Yellowstone when the gates to the interior of the park close. No more travel via automobile to Canyon, Old Faithul, and Lake Yellowstone Area. The time has come for winter to play it's course and let the snow pile up. Have fun winter!

Of course the road from the North Entrance to Cooke City, MT remains open year round.

Pic of the Week: Photo by Yellowstone NPS
Weather, Mount Washburn, Yellowstone National Park

Week of October 26th to November 1st, 2014

According to a report at the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee meeting in Bozeman Wednesday, the grizzly population in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is up again, now standing at 757.

Biologists say one of the surprises was the number of female bears with cubs rose dramatically and that is one of the ways scientists verify their population estimates.

Even as bear populations are on the rise, bear deaths are down to just 20 for the year. That's well below the average and lower than what researchers expected. - Adam Bell/MTN News

Pic of the Week:
Red Fox, wildlife, Yellowstone National Park

Week of October 19th to 25th, 2014

Had a great couple of days in the park this week. We toured the normal highlights of Old Faithful, Lower Falls of the Yellowstone, Lower Geyser Basin, Grand Prismatic Spring, and the other usual suspects. After visiting the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone, we ventured briefly into the Hayden Valley and were rewarded with a great view of a grizzly bear. The bear was not overly concerned with our presence. We didn't not have to fight the crowds, bear jams, or cars stopped in the middle of the road. There were only two other people watching the bear with us. The fall is so great in Yellowstone!!!

Pic of the Week:
Grizzly bear, Yellowstone National Park

Week of October 12th to October 18th, 2014

The weather of last week was legendary. At the YG home camp, we had highs in the 70's, light breeze, and blue bird conditions. The Flip-flops are still out and about. Love it!!

The park experiences cooler temps. Morning lows have been in the 20's, but the sun has been shining, warming up the Yellowstone landscape. Bears, wolves, and the rutting elk have been quite active. Visitors have regularly seen grizzlies, including fat and healthy cubs of the year. All the bears are getting ready for the inevitable freeze or winter of Yellowstone.

The road from Tower Junction to Canyon via Dunraven Pass is now closed for the season. Be prepared when traveling in the area.

Pic of the Week: Photo by Yellowstone National Park
geysers, thermals, Yellowstone National Park

Week of October 5th to October 11th, 2014

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Sow grizzly bear, wildlife, Yellowstone National Park

Week of September 28th to October 4, 2014

Not much to report for this week. The weather has been fantastic, the crowds are slimming down, and the wildlife watching has been great. I lead a mixed group up Specimen Ridge, being sure to take in the 360 views of the area. Hope our luck continues...

Looks like Yellowstone remains a popular place for visitors. A new benchmark was set this September. According to park officials 571,764 visitors entered the park in September, an increase of 2.48 percent. Over the first 9 months of 2014, the park has seen 3,288, 804 visitors. 

A word to the wise...many of the park's facilities are closing. Please don't assume the visitor centers, lodges, and restaurants will be open for business. I would recommend asking NPS officials at the entrances or call Xanterra for any closures.

Pic of the Week:
Boiling Rover, thermals, Yellowstone National Park

Week of September 21st to 27th, 2014

Slow week for us here at Yellowstone Guidelines. I have been getting outside and taking advantage of the great fall weather. Yellowstone and the surrounding area has been in the news this week. Props to the Park Service for imposing strict fines and rules regarding drones.

Here are some of the stories...
Pic of the Week: Photo by Jason Nichols
Tetons, Yellowstone, mountains, wildlife, fall in the Rockies

Week of September 14 to 20th

I am a little disappointed not able to participate in the Bechler River expedition we had leave this week. Kirsa led a mixed group of domestics and international travelers on a 5 day, 4 night adventure. Reports of good weather, awesome scenery and backcountry thermals made for a memorable adventure. Fall foliage was in full display along the park's southwest corner. I enjoyed running a shuttle and taking in the nice autumn views.

The wolf activity has been very busy in the north between Slough Creek and the Lamar Valley. The Junction Butte and mixed pair pack along the Jasper Bench in the Lamar Valley are giving visitors a great viewing experience. We watched wolves and coyotes harassing each other near a bison carcass. Fascinating wildlife interactions.

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Week of September 7th to September 13th

Pic of the Week:
Pink Cone Geyser - Yellowstone National Park

Week of August 31 to September 6th

Just finished a whirlwind week as we had crew spread all over the park. We had backpackers in the extreme northeast corner of Yellowstone and the park's remote southwest Bechler region. Talk about end to end. I had a great visit up Pebble Creek. We saw a variety of critters including two moose, 6 bears, and lots of mountain goats. The weather was definitely cool in the morning and perfectly pleasant through the afternoon.

A remarkable piece of history took place this week. The 50th anniversary of the much heralded Wilderness Act was signed by president Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. Did you know that Yellowstone is 98% designated wilderness? 

Pic of the Week: Courtesy of Yellowstone National Park
50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act

Week of August 24th to 30th, 2014

Pic of the Week:
Mountain Goats on Bliss Pass - Yellowstone National Park

Week of August 17th to 23rd, 2014

An easy week at Yellowstone Guidelines. Many of the guides were on vacation and enjoying the short summer season. I took a short family trip down to Jackson, WY. Teton National Park is strikingly beautiful. The mountains command attention from the first view to the last glimpse. WOW!

On another note, I heard the "S" word. Accumulating "Snow" is possible in many of the higher elevations. NOOOOOOOOO! Hold on summer. At least the future forecast looks promising.

Pic of the Week:
10,000+ ft of elevation - Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Week of Aug 10 to 16th, 2014

Another busy summer week for us here at Yellowstone Guidelines. We had a variety of trips going in an assortment of directions. Kirsa took a couple of people across Bliss Pass and Pebble Creek, Bryan trekked across the Gallatin Mountains with peeps from Australia, Holt toured Old Faithful and I scouted wildlife and hiked in the northern range.  Sounds like everyone had a good trip!

Couple of tragedies took place in Yellowstone this week...

Pic of the Week:
Moose - Yellowstone National Park

Week of August 3rd to 9th, 2014

I was very fortunate to discover or explore a new region of the park. We started our trip in the Pelican Valley, north of Yellowstone Lake, and finished in the Lamar Valley near Soda Butte Creek. Wow, what a great region of the park. Wet weather could not damper our spirits as we saw a grizzly bear, five wolves, moose and other critters along the journey. The summit of the remote and seldom visited Mist Pass offers a sense of solitude only found in Yellowstone.

Some news out of Yellowstone this week...A visitor crashed a drone into Grand Prismatic Spring on Saturday. Not good!!! Let us hope the drone doesn't irreversibly harm the famous thermal feature. Here is the article: http://www.nbcnews.com/tech/gadgets/tourist-crashes-drone-yellowstones-grand-prismatic-hot-spring-n174441

Pic of the Week:
Bear v. Wolf, Yellowstone National Park

Week of July 27th to August 2nd

I finally have the luxury to enjoy a couple of days off before embarking back into the wilds of Yellowstone. Summer just goes by way to fast here, and in general. An interesting article about wildlife watching in Yellowstone..."A new report shows that most visitors to Yellowstone National Park would be willing to pay more than twice the current entrance fee if it meant they would be more likely to see a bear." -Read the full article @ http://www.kbzk.com/news/most-people-willing-to-pay-more-to-see-bears-at-yellowstone-national-park/ Does this mean I need to charge more for our tours or refund visitors $41 for not seeing a grizzly?

Pic of the Week:
Sunrise in Yellowstone National Park

Week of July 20th to 26th, 2014

Pic of the Week:
Silver Chord Cascade - Yellowstone National Park

Week of July 13 to 19th, 2014

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Bee Hive Geyser - Yellowstone National Park

Week of July 6th to 12th, 2014

The wildlife watching has been great. We had an outstanding experience early in the week. A grizzly bear crossed Soda Butte Creek and nimbly ran along the banks. The bear was enjoying a nice cold swim on hot Yellowstone day. Check out the video...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOYltp2jrNI

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Week of June 29th to July 5th

Happy Fourth of July!!! Hope everyone had a great weekend and was able to enjoy America's favorite summer holiday. The Hondorf family enjoyed the parade in Livingston. The Livingston parade attracts thousands of people to our little cowboy/artist town in southwest Montana. I am always impressed with the crowds that attend the parade. While I was lounging and catching candy thrown from floats by the local fire department, our guide Bryan, was leading a trip through the Black Canyon. He said the temps were hot, but worth the peace and quiet that the backcountry of Yellowstone serves up every time.

I had a fantastic viewing opportunity of the mother black bear and her three adorable cubs. We had been seeing the sow on and off near Tower Junction. We were fortunate to be the first people and had a great viewing opportunity. Naturally, mom and cubs claimed Pic of the Week.

Pic of the Week:
Black Bear and Cubs - Yellowstone National Park

Week of June 22nd to June 28th

Pic of the Week:
Yellowstone River - Yellowstone National Park

Week of June 15th to 21st

I have definitely noticed an increase in travel. Summer traffic and visitation seems to be rising. The wildlife watching has been strong with the usual suspects in their usual places. Wolves are being observed near Mammoth along the S-curves on top of the Black Tail Plateau. Many visitors drive right by as parking is limited.

An interesting article was recently released about a study between the interaction of wolves (Canus lupus) and mountain lions (Puma concolor). The study concluded that mountain lions avoid wolves and seek out territory where wolves seldom visit. Mountain lions are living in areas with less big game like elk and deer.  Cats are pushed to the remote regions of their territories.

Pic of the week:
Sandhill Crane - Yellowstone National Park

Week of June 8th to 14th, 2014

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Week of June 1st to 7th

No much different than last week, and not in a boring way. Wildlife viewing has been fantastic. Black bears and moose near Tower Junction, grizzlies near Specimen Ridge, Canyon and Dunraven Pass. The Junction Butte wolf pack has been seen quite regularly near Slough Creek. Good time to be in Yellowstone!

Pic of the Week:
Bull Moose - Yellowstone National Park

Week of May 29th to June 4th

I can't even begin to describe how great the wildlife watching has been. Bears, wolves, moose, oh my...are being viewed from the road and up close, all through out the park. Can't wait to get back out there!!!

Pic of the Week:
Cut Off Mountain, Yellowstone National Park

Week of May 21st to 28th

The sun is shining and weather has been great. I took my first adventure into the backcountry with a two day, one night trip along the black canyon. The canyon is the best early season backpacking trip in the park. Trails were in great condition. We had one small ford of Little Cottonwood Creek and some rock scrambles along the route. There were lots of elk moving through the area with plenty of cows in sight. A few bison, antelope, mule deer, and osprey were spotted along the way. Can't wait for the next one!

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Week of May 13th to 20th

I was in the park this week and enjoyed some fantastic wildlife watching. Bears, bears and more bears was the theme for the last couple of days. Many grizzlies were viewed in the Lamar Valley as I viewed seven grizzlies through my scope in a single glance. Very cool. We were one animal short of the Yellowstone grand slam. The big four or grand slam of Yellowstone are black bears, grizzly bears, moose and wolves. I have never accomplished the grand slam on a single day tour. However, we did see a moose, black bears, and grizzly bears (nine of them) on Friday. Not too shabby.

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Week of May 5th to May 12th, 2014

One of our legendary guides, Nathaniel lead a trip this week into the park. No wolves were seen but a grizzly bear and several black bears were observed searching for food in the Northern Range of Yellowstone. Reports of bear activity is increasing, including signs of female bears with cubs. Spring is such an exciting time of year to be in the park. Unfortunately, we did experience some spring snows but that is par for the course. Dress warm in the spring. Bring a coat and sunglasses is the best way to prepare for a trip.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!!!

Pic of the Week: Photo by Jason Nichols
Bison in the Snow - Yellowstone National Park

Week of April 28th to May 4th

I can't believe April is already gone. The park is starting to look more like spring as areas are thawing and the snow continues to melt. I know that we are one good spring storm away from hitting the reset button on winter. More of the park continues to open. Visitors can now drive from Canyon to Lake through the Hayden Valley. I saw my first black bear of the season near the Upper Terraces at Mammoth. The bear appeared to be a large male. The bear looked pretty healthy and was grazing on vegetation near the springs.

Pic of the Week:
Silex Spring, Lower Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park

Week of April 21st to 27th, 2014

Pic of the Week: Photo by Julianne Baker

Week of April 13th to 20th, 2014

With roads opening in the park, wildlife is being seen all over the place. Reports are coming in of "red dogs" or baby bison emerging on the landscape. Baby bison are often referred to as red dogs because of their color resembles an Irish Setter. The bison are small, spunky, and in my opinion some of the cutest babies in the park.

Did anyone take advantage of the free entrance to Yellowstone this week?

Pic of the Week: Pic by Kerry Kramer

Week of April 6th to April 12th, 2014

I was in the park for a couple of days this week. The wildlife watching was fantastic. Tons of bison, elk, antelope and bighorn sheep. I have seen lots of moose this winter, more than in years past. We were lucky enough to hear the calls and see two members of the Lamar Canyon pack. The black and gray wolves were seen in the distance but viewed nonetheless. Snow is still very plentiful in the Lamar Valley and northeast corner of the park. The spring run off is going to be something else this spring and early summer. 

Yellowstone made the national news with an interesting article....http://www.kbzk.com/news/yellowstone-bison-video-goes-viral-but-doesn-t-signal-doom/.

Pic of the Week: Photo by John Darr.

Picture was taken at the Grizzly Overlook in the Hayden Valley. At over 8,000 ft elevation and centrally located in Yellowstone, the Hayden Valley receives a large quantity of snow every year. Bison, elk, and wolves still manage to survive in this snow laden landscape.

Week of March 30 to April 5, 2014

Wet and cold weather continues to dominate the area. I am sure ready for some sunshine and warmer temps. One sure sign of summer approaching is the plowing of the roads in Yellowstone. The roads are currently clear from West Yellowstone to Mammoth Hot Springs and West Yellowstone to Old Faithful. The roads can only be traveled by bicyclists. I love biking in the park and not worrying about motorists on the road way.

Today, Sunday, March 30, Yellowstone experienced a small tremor of 4.8 magnitude. Another reminder of the life underneath the park. Read the story...http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/earthquake-rattles-yellowstone-national-park-no-damage-reported-n67196

Pic of the Week: Photo courtesy of Jason Nichols

Week of March 23 to 29, 2014

The first day of spring officially arrived to Yellowstone and the North American continent. Yahoo!!! However, true spring with warmer temps doesn't grace the region until April. As I am writing this small paragraph, the current temp is 8F with an overnight low of -1F. The sure sign of spring happens when the migratory birds start to reappear. Robins, sandhill cranes, and mountain blue birds are now being spotted.

Hope everyone's brackets are doing well. My tried and true, Syracuse University was eliminated from the tournament by Dayton. Bracket busted! Good season, Go Cuse.

Pic of the Week: Photo courtesy of Yellowstone National Park

March 16 to 22, 2014

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Week of March 9th to 15th, 2014

Yellowstone's sleepiest residents, the great grizzly bear, have started to awake from their long slumber. Early March is not uncommon to see bears in the park. Warm weather provides a natural alarm clock for bears and other hibernating critters. Typically, the larger males emerge first followed by female bears with cubs.

Pic of the Week: Photo by Kevin Fitzsimonds. The bear has been spotted in the Hayden Valley.

Week of March 2nd to 5th, 2014

Happy Birthday to Yellowstone National Park. 142 years ago, President Ulysses S. Grant signed the National Park Act creating the world's first national park.

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Week of February 23 to March 1st, 2014

The focus has been on the Yellowstone bison this week. The National Park Service will cull approximately 600 animals in an effort to control the bison population. Poor bison can't really catch a break.

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Week of February 16th, 2014

Pic of the Week: Picture courtesy of Cody Henderson

Week of February 9th, 2014

I had the chance to lead a bus tour this week. The group was from Iowa and loved the mountainous scenery of Yellowstone and southwest Montana. We were lucky to avoid the extreme cold and Arctic air that was hovering over the region. Earlier in the week reports were surfacing of extreme temperatures in the Lamar Valley of -30 to -40 F. Brrr!!! Our tour was a great success seeing many of critters including a golden eagle eating on a freshly killed golden eye. We didn't witness the kill but saw the eagle feeding near the confluence of Soda Butte Creek and the Lamar River. Very cool! 

Pic of the Week:
Golden Eagle in Yellowstone National Park

Your Weekly Yellowstone Fact:

Golden Eagles are the largest bird of prey in North America. Upon spotting or locating their next meal, golden eagles can his a top flight speed of over 150 mph. The golden eagle's main diet consists of hares, rabbits, ground squirrels, upland game birds and other small mammals.

Week of February 2, 2014

Pic of the Week: Courtesy of Jason Nichols

Week of January 25th, 2014

What a great upcoming Super Bowl for the state of Montana. The two most popular teams in the region are battling it out. I am not picking a winner or picking sides. Just hoping for a good game and great commercials. Who are you picking?

Pic of the Week: Photo by Julianne Baker