What I saw over a thirty-minute time scale in the park from 5:00 to 5:30 am my words cannot do justice. A sunrise in Yellowstone is majestic. The colors, the images, the sounds! One must see it to believe it.
The first animal to appear was a grouse that scampered across the road. It was followed by a sly fox crossing the road with its breakfast hanging out its mouth. We passed herds of bison, pronghorn, and elk until about a mile before the Lamar River. A herd of bison was trucking across the plain, clearly spooked by something. We hopped out of the car to take a look but didn’t spot anything. We crossed over the Lamar and headed upstream to another prime location. From the back seat of the car and about two hundred yards away, Will sniped a grizzly browsing on the other side of the river. It was the first grizzly I had ever seen in the wild, and it was awesome! We photographed and recorded the grizzly from the road, and just when things couldn’t get any cooler, the silence was broken by a pack of wolves howling behind us!
We heard several cries from wolf packs, but unfortunately did not spot any this morning. We ended our expedition with a breakfast fit for kings at a greasy spoon in town. Wilson had thick pieces of French toast, bacon, and eggs; Dr. Hamilton had a large omelet with cheese, sausage, green peppers and a side of hash browns; I had a short stack that was true to its name but were the size of a bison’s face; and Will thought he’d had a light breakfast and so he ordered biscuits and gravy... the gravy definitely was not light.
After breakfast the sun was shinning in the Gardiner Basin, and the four of us went and grabbed bulk samples from the Cinnabar site and the Remnant site. Along the way Dr. Hamilton picked up some incredibly detailed shots of two ospreys in their nest near our sites.
We returned to the labge and began sieving soil. We then performed CO2 analyses on our soil core samples collected from our first day in the field. Following this, we sieved the bulk soil we collected today from both sites and in order for another assay. We prepared three pans with soil from the Cinnabar site and added a solution of water to one, ammonium nitrate to the second, and urea to the third, and then capped them with a special device designed to measure denitrification from the soil.
The icing on the cake for the day was our delectable dinner prepared by our very own iron chef, Dr. Hamilton. Tortillas filled with bison chorizo, grilled onions, grilled green peppers, fresh homemade pico de gallo, black beans and rice. This meal hit the spot after an extremely long day. Once again, my compliments to the chef!
One thing I know that constantly occurred today was learning. Will, Wilson, Cozy, and I internalized many important, educational facts today; but also many random interesting facts were also revealed to us such as: Dr. Hamilton definitely hasn’t had ten hours of sleep since February 17, 1993; and I can’t remember any more, but please post interesting facts like the one above since I’m having trouble remembering (this is why collaboration occurs in science). Anyway, check out the videos, check out the pics! Let us know what you think!