Winter seems to have arrived to stay, dashing our hopes of a late Indian Summer. The signs were there in September. Just as we thought an extended warm spell was in the works, shazam, an unexpected dump of snow. As a matter of fact snow we received in mid September never left and lies beneath our November snow.
For the most part, we were ready here at our cabin. Although, I would have liked a couple more weeks of driving over Cooke Pass to the Beartooth foothills or in to Cody.
I noticed wildlife seemed to be prepared as well and seems to have moved into winter mode with no complaints.
Pika had their grass piles filled early. Our martens returned with the snow, as did our winter birds. Pine grosbeaks, stellars and gray jays, clarks nutcrackers, hairy woodpeckers, chick-a-dees, nuthatches and our resident brown creeper. Flying squirrels seem to out number our red squirrels 3-1. Our neighbor has identified seven different foxes, though at our cabin I rarely see more than their tracks in the morning.
In the park, bull elk seem to have claimed their ususal feeding areas. The deer rut seems to be ending while the bighorns are starting to test one another with kicking and head wacking.
I even finally spotted my first pygmy owl in months near HellRoaring.
Driving north to Livingston, Cindy and I counted 15 bald eagles. Several were immatures. We only spotted one golden. We noticed two bald eagle nests had an adult either sitting nearby or actually on the snow covered nest.
Well, ready or not, winter is here. Frozen pipes, shoveling out the driveway, raking the roof, returning from town to a cold cabin. Snowshoeing through the pines, Christmas lights, red grosbeaks on snowy branches, martens peering in our windows, moose in the willows, sharing our warm fires with friends.