Monday, April 22, 2013

The Transmogrification

Waters Flowing Cold & Clear
the very same but different

.. As winter's mantle lifts from the west side of Yellowstone National Park the waters look the very same as we left them - but different.
.. A couple of snags have shifted slightly, some banks have fallen in. a tree or two has been uprooted, a thermal feature has encroached into the Firehole River, and not a few boulders are in different places, OR GONE. Yet, on the whole, it's comfortably familiar.
.. Spring, so far, has been cool and the waters are clear. Visibility is easily as much as ten feet on the Firehole River. It's just a little less on the Madison River, and maybe just five feet on the Gibbon River.
.. As the weather warms changes will respond to the increased flows and there will be more to note. Already there are changed weed beds and new sand bars. The dynamics of the rivers ensure that change will be constant. Over the long winter the changes are are noticeable, but boarding on the insignificant. On a day to day basis they often go unnoticed. By the time a decade or two has been tucked under our belts, (if memory serves,) the waters are new and fresh and foreign.
.. We spent the weekend, on and off, cruising around the west side of the park.The low snow pack has given us access to the water's edge in more places than usual for this early in the year. Green is already spreading along river banks at the water's edge. The Artemesia, never completely buried in most places this winter, is already past the gray-green stage and moving toward the light olive color of Summer.
.. Fish were rising along most sections of the rivers. Midges and some big mayflies were on the menu. We watched for quite some time as the Spring Smorgasbord was devoured. The bugs seem bigger and earlier than usual - but then we wanted them to be.
.. The two-toned ants have already built hives as tall as a foot and two feet in diameter. Blue birds and cranes have taken up residence. The geese have consorts and some have nesting spots. As cool as it's been, Spring seems well along on the west side of Yellowstone National Park.
.. The bison have moved down to the fresh blades of grass along the roads and out to the periphery of Hebgen Reservoir. The sparse herd of elk is loosely scattered in the yet unflooded meadows along the Madison River. They look good with very few ribs showing.
.. Eagles and the first of the pairs of ospreys are already in place. No robins yet. very few visitors as well. The raimbow of spandex has sprouted and bicyclists are as numerous as the cars - more so perhaps.
.. We'll keep an eye on the park waters for the next month or so and then go a catching: runoff permitting.