Apparently all you have to do is hope and wildlife magically appears.
My research had led me to believe that the Lamar Valley would be the best place to find wildlife in Yellowstone – I nearly drooled over the many photos and reports of bear and wolf sightings in that famous locale. In order to maximize our time in the valley, I booked substantial time at Cooke City, the nearest location with accommodation.
We ended up finding lots of bison and pronghorn antelope. That was nice but those animals were plentiful in many locations within the park. We spent many hours driving up and down the valley and mostly found people with spotting scopes. I learned to keep driving past those folks because even if they were watching a bear, it was so tiny in my camera it could just as well have been in the next state!
Every evening we would leave the Lamar Valley empty handed and head back to our cabin. Just outside the park was a beautiful area that seemed like perfect moose habitat. The locals confirmed there were lots of moose there – except, of course, when we drove by. I kept trying to will the moose to come to that beautiful spot. They simply belonged in the scene.
Our daily ritual felt a little like Groundhog Day (a movie where the main character is forced to keep reliving the same 24 hours). After a few days, we would drive through the Lamar Valley not really expecting to see anything, then wander through the moose habitat and repeat the disappointment.
On one of our last days in the area, we had been skunked again in Lamar Valley and arrived at the moose habitat when it was almost dark. I nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw the moose! I was worried about the lack of light but wildly adjusted my camera and hoped the photos would survive. Excitement ruled.
The moose co-operated with me, the photos turned out and I came up with another theory. Maybe hope trumps a good plan when looking for wildlife!