My wife and I woke up and left Mammoth at about 6:15 AM. Sunrise had been about 45 minutes earlier and light was coming in from a very pleasing angle. The great thing about getting up early is that there are virtually no other people in the park who are moving.
Wildlife was quite abundant. Within 5 miles of Mammoth (going towards the Tower Junction and the East Enterance)we saw several female elk and again four very large bachelors...with some having six points. The light was poor to doing anything but shoot silhouettes (photos to come).
At 13.6 miles from Mammoth, and about 1.8 miles from the Tower Ranger Station, there was a baby black bear moving up the side of the landscape. He was not in a great place to photograph and we were anxious that Momma was not to far away and did not want to push our luck.
After leaving Tower Junction and moving towards the East Enterance, we had the opportunity to see a group of Prong-horn Antelope. It was the closest I ever had the opportunity to get...the photographs were REALLY good (photos to come). FYI, we past that area several times over the next few days and a small heard of antelope were regularly there. In 10 years of trips to Yellowstone, this was the largest number of prong-horn Antelope that I have ever seen.
Continuing East towards Montana, we saw a massive heard of buffalo...all before 8 AM.
At 10:30 AM, near the Calcite Springs Overlook, we saw two dears and fawns. The conditions were very bright...and the photographic day was starting to wind down until the evening. We spent much of the day scouting areas for the next day and shooting landscapes when possible.
Some interesting photographic spots in the NE area of the park:
(1) The road between Tower Falls and the Chittenden Road has SPECTACULAR wildflowers. Many people are not going down the road either because the Dunraven Pass is closed. This is unfortunate, as the Dunraven Pass is regularly a great place to view and photograph wildlife.
(2) Slough Creek has some beautiful spots. There were some beautiful prong-horn antelope. We were also told there were some wolves in the area...though they were so far away that a spotting scope was necessary to view them.
It turns out that the Druid pack has been pushed out of Lamaar Valley. They are now called the "Agate" group and are now found near Cache Creek. The new dominant group in the area is called the Slough (pronounced 'Slew') Creek. Peek viewing hours are in the mornings between 5 AM and 8:30 AM and after 6 PM.