Pronghorn trail

A few weeks ago I went on a hike with Joe Josephson (friend and National Parks Conservation Association fellow) and a small group to follow part of a pronghorn migration route.

Pronghorn are sometimes called antelope, but they aren’t at all related to antelope. When Lewis Meriwether and his merry band of discovery crossed the continent, the pronghorn reminded him of antelope and thus the name. (As a side note, that is why bison are often mistakenly called “buffalo” even though there is no relation to buffalo.)

I digress. The Yellowstone pronghorn are in trouble because their migration route is severed by fences and roads. You can read all about it in this story I wrote for New West. Or this one for Outside Bozeman.

We hiked over Mt. Everts in Yellowstone National Park. I’d never been up there and had no idea it was so cool. Lots of glacial kettle lakes, mini-wetlands and tons of wildlife. We started at the Blacktail Ponds trail and traveled off-trail to the Rescue Creek trailhead near Gardiner. Joe said it was about 8 miles.

We heard elk bugling and coyotes yipping. We saw elk, pronghorn and birds. And I got to meet some interesting people, learn about migration issues and catch up with friends.

(It was a little smokey due to the Antelope Fire on the northeast side of Mt. Washburn. So, the photos are a little hazy.)

Looking for elk we heard bugling.

Kettle lake atop Mt. Everts.

Lots of elk antlers up here (they drop them after the rut and grow a new pair in spring.)

Another kettle lake.

Lunch time.

Elk.

Aspen.

Three pronghorn.

The dude on the right is scent marking.

Gardiner basin. That’s traditional wintering habitat, but it so degraded that it can’t support Yellowstone’s migrating wildlife anymore.

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