Yellowstone is gradually settling into fall. As the light changes and the temperature falls, mountain slopes and valleys slowly turn golden even as snow dusts the peaks of the Absaroka range. The Junction Butte Pack has moved into Lamar Valley.
There is still light over the mountains and a dusting of snow shines in the fading light. It is almost 10 p.m. I took a brief walk after dinner, gazing up at the tall lodge pines and the crescent moon. Soda Butte Creek rushes past our little cabin. When we arrived yesterday, it began to snow; fat, wet flakes that quickly melted on the deck and under the pines.
Summer’s heat is smothering us. Day after day of temperatures above 100º with an even higher heat index slowly wears us out. We were cruising along nicely through the summer with mornings in the low 70s when the heat and humidity suddenly shot up. Plants and grass are drying up.
Wallawa Lake is quiet at 6:30 a.m. Only a few fishermen are at the marina, readying their boats, and campers walking their dogs, or, just walking. Like me. I like to sit at a picnic table that juts out toward the water where I can look for the adult eagles and a female common merganser I’ve been watching.
Summer drifted in this week on a wave of heat and humidity. For the most part, June has been up and down in temperature, tempered by frequent rain showers. Some wildflowers are going to seed. At the end of May, the Sierra Nevada trail that was flooded with coneflowers, Indian Blankets and lemon beebalm.
Liam has a new buddy. Aubrey’s foal arrived Monday, April 22, sometime between 10:30 and 11:00 a.m. I was riding Willis in the fields behind the barns and paddocks when I saw a long-legged tiny horse standing next to a huge bay mare in the paddock next to last year’s colt and filly. On the other side of the shelter stood another mare with a foal, so there were now two foals.