National Geographic : 1940 Jun
FABULOUS YELLOWSTONE HAND-IN-HAND THROUGH WONDERLAND right through him. Sometimes a pair of these wise little beasts bluff a grizzly out of his dinner. One harries him till he drops the meat to charge-and the other whisks it away, sharing it later with his pal. Feeling an urge for elbow room, we spent a night in a ranger cabin on Mary Lake no other humans within ten miles, no neigh bors but grizzlies, bison, elk, and the other creatures of the wild. Once we surprised a herd of elk, striding in antlered glory along a plain. A startled lift of lordly heads, and the whole herd whisked up a rocky hill like a puff of smoke up a chimney. Past Mud Volcano and Dragons Mouth Spring, with its flickering tongue of hot water and steam, we drove upriver from Canyon to Yellowstone Lake. A golden eagle soared over the woods, white pelicans over the river. On Fishing Bridge anglers almost elbow to elbow were casting for cutthroats, the gorgeous native Yellowstone, or Montana black-spotted, trout (Plates V and VIII). Photograph by Haynes, Inc. Several thousand, averaging three-quarters of a pound, are caught in the park each season. No fishing license is needed. From a government hatchery on the lake come millions of fry every year. Females are trapped in streams flowing into the lake and 15 to 30 million eggs are collected each spring. Of these, about 90 per cent are hatched, whereas Mother Nature's best is rarely better than 8 per cent. One of the highest big lakes in the world, Yellowstone today drains to the Atlantic via the Yellowstone River, the Missouri, Mis sissippi, and Gulf of Mexico. But centuries ago glacier ice blocked the outlet and the lake drained to the Pacific through the Snake and the Columbia. That explains the presence of the Yellowstone's cutthroat trout, a distinct species, but related to Pacific coastal cutthroats.* * See "Fishing in Pacific Coast Streams," by Leonard P. Schultz, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGA ZINE, February, 1939, and the National Geographic Society's new Book of Fishes.