While the rest of the world was focused on the inauguration of our new president, all eyes in our community were on a mountain lion who made regular appearances during the early morning and late evening hours of January 19-21. The lion had killed a bighorn sheep along the road that travels between Gardiner, MT and Mammoth Hot Springs at the lower part of an open area referred to locally as Chinese Gardens. This area is just below the parking for the Boiling River trailhead.
To see a mountain lion under any circumstances in a rare pleasure. They are highly secretive and elusive and avoid people as much as possible. You can read more about their biology and history on the Yellowstone National Park website.
While I only got a quick glimpse of the back of the cat as it rounded the top of the ridge, one of our favorite local photographers, Mark Miller, has some excellent shots here. I've asked Mark for some more information about his photography and permission to use one of his photos, so look for an updated post then.
I just couldn't wait for you to see the pictures! Keep in mind that they were taken with an extremely big lens and with lots of respect for the mountain lion. And, quite amazingly, they were taken from beside a main park roadway. This truly is a very rare event.