As with Glacier National Park, pictures of Yellowstone are worth a thousand cliches. I’ll try to keep the verbosity to a minimum.
Our campsite was five miles off the highway, and it wasn’t a busy highway. Our closest neighbors were cows.
The day of our arrival we learned there was a rodeo and barbecue at a children’s summer camp a few miles down the road. Nan got to see her first rodeo.
This sign, seen at the barbecue, is enough to strike terror in the heart of any parent.
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Yellowstone has its share of scenic beauty, but not on the same scale as Glacier National Park.
We took a day trip to the Grand Teton National Park, just south of Yellowstone.
The Tetons are spectacular. But Glacier and the Tetons are missing two things that made Yellowstone our favorite place so far.
. . .geothermal features, and. . .
. . . a huge variety of spectacular CRITTERS!
Palette Spring and Terrace at Mammoth Hot Springs.
A visit to Old Faithful is almost mandatory. The crowds begin to form up 30 minutes before the scheduled eruptions. The schedule is usually accurate to plus or minus ten minutes.
It starts off slow. . .
. . . then, KABLOOEY!
But what we liked best about Yellowstone was the variety of the wildlife.
You can frequently get as close as you dare to the wildlife. (As you can see from the next picture, I wasn’t really this close.)
The trick to spotting wild life is to look for the traffic jams in the road, then hop out and have your animal encounter before the Rangers show up and start their “Move along, move along!” routine.
Elk cow and calf.
Quoth the Raven, “This apple core is MINE!”
Pronghorns, not actually antelope, so I suppose we must change the Home on the Range line from “Where the deer and the antelope play” to “Where the deer and the antilocapra play.”
The gold standard of National Park animal sightings is getting to see a bear, ideally without getting mutilated. This black bear sow was looking back over her shoulder for her cubs.
The cubs were lollygagging behind Momma.
She finally got them in tow.
A river otter. At first I thought I was seeing a couple of female elk in the water, but they seemed to be behaving like seals. I finally figured out what they were. There were two otters playing in the river but one slipped below the surface before I could get the camera up.
We were dying to see buffalo while were were there. The first few days we just saw some lonely old bulls from a couple of hundred yards away. This one was just a few dozen feet from the road and people were swarming around him. Nan was a little too close to this guy for my peace of mind but there were other, crazier, people who got closer.
In Lamar Valley we finally got our fill of buffalo. Yes, I know they’re actually bison, but in this case I refuse to be Taxonomically Correct. I mean, Bison Bill Cody? Bison New York? Bison Hot Wings? Oh, give me a home where the bison roam? C’mon! After all, the African Cape Buffalo isn’t taxonomically a buffalo either, but nobody is lobbying to call it an African Cape Syncerus Caffer Caffer as far as I know.
There were hundreds in this herd. There was nothing in the official Park information we received about Lamar Valley. If we hadn’t been told about it by one of our neighbors at Beaver Coach Sales and Service in Oregon, we wouldn’t have gone there. And we would have missed this.
So, why does the buffalo cross the road?
“None of your business, Monkey Boy!”
A bull, resting peacefully along side the road.
He decides a bit of wallowing is in order.
He gets up,
Gives himself a shake,
And heads straight for me. I gave him the right-of-way.
Made a short video to capture the buffalo grunts in Lamar Valley.
A classic Yellowstone montage. Black wolf crouches on an elk carcass. Bald Eagle waits for wolf to leave so he can get back to snacking on the elk. Geothermal activity in background.
We liked Yellowstone a lot, so much so that we plan to go back for three and a half months next year. There must be an on-line community of Yellowstone carcass-watchers we can link up with.