We hit Yellowstone on Friday, June 25, 2010.
What can I say about Yellowstone National Park?
It was amazing!
One day in the golden years of our retirement I hope to go back and really spend some time there. In the two and a half-ish days that we were there we hit all the high spots but there was just so much to see and do.
I would love to have an RV and just park it in a camping spot and then just stay for a while.
“Yellowstone National Park, encompassing 2.2 million acres, is one of America's premier wilderness areas. Most of the park is backcountry and managed as wilderness. Over 1,100 miles (1770 km) of trails are available for hiking.”
I would also love to spend some time hiking those 1,100 miles of trails or just hanging out in the shade of one of the pines sitting beside one of the amazing vistas or one of the variety of waterways. It was quite possible the most wide and varied collection of natural wonders all in one place that I have ever encountered.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Yellowstone is of course the wildlife.
I will admit to a moment of childlike joy when we came up on our first lumbering herd of buffalo. In our urban society we have lost so very much of how things used to be. Each day as we traveled down the various roads through the park my thoughts would linger on what it must have been like for those first brave pioneers who came upon this place long ago. I wondered what they must have thought and how they lived side by side with the buffalo and the elk!
From the national park website I read that the bison population fluctuates from 2300 to 4500 animals. We only saw a few hundred but when we were privileged to come up on a small herd it was an amazing thing to behold.
And for a bit of comic relief, you can’t have buffalo without the you know what!
The Elk were amazing as well!
“More than 30,000 elk from 7-8 different herds summer in Yellowstone and approximately 15,000 to 22,000 winter in the park.”
That’s a lotta Elk y’all!
The Mule Deer
The Bison, I loved watching the little ones chase after their momma’s for an afternoon snack!
A Bald Eagle!
An American White Pelican, and I thought they were only at the ocean!!!!!
The hubs told me that as we were standing beside this stretch of rapids he saw several large trout jump out of the water. We stood for a while hoping to see Mr. Pelican grab a bit of lunch but after a few moments we decided it was time to move one.
Mr. Pelican had way more patience than we did!
This was the largest collection of animals we saw all in once place. They were spread out along the valley floor just lazing about. There were many more and I was sorely wishing I had a wide angle lens to be able to capture them all.
These next few shots will give evidence to exactly jut how adept I got at capturing the full essence of the Yellowstone experience. Wildlife being just that “wild” it seems that they lack the ability to understand proper photographic composition. Try as I might to will them with my telepathic powers of persuasion they seemed intent on sharing the view of the grand and glorious hind quarters.
A Grizzly Bear
butt, he/she was a smaller one, maybe a youngster by the size. As per usual anytime there was a traffic tie up in Yellowstone you could feel certain that there was some kind of wild life to blame.
On this particular occasion we found ourselves in bumper to bumper traffic for quite some time when finally we glimpsed what all the fuss was about. The DD and I jumped out of the car along with all the other folks who were standing in the brush on the the side of the road.
We were rewarded with these wonderful shot of the hind end of a grizzly bear. We were content to watch it slowly lumber along completely oblivious to all the commotion he/she was causing. Two black bears
or two black bear butts! We got there just a bit to late. These two beauties were high tailing it for the tree line when we approached the crowd of onlookers. We spotted them way off in the distance just as they were heading for parts unknown. A gentleman standing next to the hubs shared a picture he had just snapped a few moments before of these two bears prancing across the parking lot sending the gathered crowds scattering.
Drat1 We missed it!
A Uinta Ground Squirrel…who knew! Not me anyway!
We pulled around a small bend in the road and there was this lovely Mule Deer nibbling on the grass on the side of the road. It was a perfect side shot. As the hubs slowed the car so I could hop out and take a picture this lovely creature, who I am sure is quite familiar with the paparazzi, turned her best side to me and this is the shot I got.
I got a picture of his hind end, which after all the previous rear end shots have shared, I will spare you all the joys of that one! However I borrowed this picture from the DD as Mr. Coyote quickly trotted across the road in front of our car. She got a good shot of him from her side of the car!
Here is a very short video of some of the wildlife, what can I say Marlin Perkins I’m not but it gives you some sense of how they move about! It’s hard to hold the camera steady when you are zooming in from a distance! So apologies for the shakiness in some areas!
In addition to the wild life I was equally impressed with the waterways at Yellowstone. At every tune there was either a babbling brook, raging rapids, powerful waterfall or long lazy river.
This is what they call The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and this picture below is the view from the south rim of the canyon.
Word fail to describe the feeling of looking at such a powerful force of nature. I think the Psalmist had it down thought!
PS 42:7 Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.
I really did get the feeling of being swept away as I stood and watched all the water rush over the edge!
It was amazing!
I share theses next pictures with you with a note of caution. The hotel we stayed at in West Yellowstone, Montana was in fact on of the more inexpensive ones we could find. I will say that the rooms were clean and the bed was comfortable but my praise for this establishment stops there. The lobby was rustic and there was a nice big fireplace, however, I was less than impressed with the professionalism of the staff. The continental breakfast they served up each morning was enough to make you give up breakfast altogether. I would have been much happier with a drive through Egg McMuffin from the McDonalds down the street!
If you are looking for someplace cheap to lay your head,
and in my tightfisted grasp of a dollar I thought it was way over priced for the accommodations in my humble opinion, then this establishment may fit the bill. If you want a decent breakfast, well I still can’t find the words sufficient to adequately to describe the horrific coffee experience each morning then run and run fast in the opposite direction of the Stage Coach Inn!
Sadly this was the only Moose we encountered during our time at Yellowstone.
I will say that I was not very impressed with West Yellowstone, Montana either. From what I could gather this small town simple grew out of necessity as it is just a few yards just outside the West entrance to the park. We tried to find accommodations inside the park but with our planning be so sudden all the hotels inside the park were full up. It was a very small town and most of the business and stores are only open from April through October. I was not impressed with the restaurants at all. I thought they were all over priced and the food just a bit ordinary. We did find a few establishments that offered a dinner entree for under $10.00 but the average price for a dinner entrée at most of the restaurant was in the $15.00 to $25.00 dollar range. I thought that was a bit OUTRAGIOUS!
Well I had to concede that this was not a vacation for fine dining. In all honesty we did not come for the food, so we took a deep breath and just made the best of the situation!
I will say that everything was with in walking distance of our hotel and we did enjoy a nightly stop at the local DQ after dinner on the way back to our hotel!
We did have fun tracking all the painted Buffalo around town. Click here to read about the Painted Roaming Buffalo of West Yellowstone! I am not sure how many there were but he had fun searching for them!
Here is the 411 on how Yellowstone got it’s name!
“Yellowstone's name is historically credited to the Native Americans who lived in and around the park area. The name is basically derived from the Yellowstone River. The Yellowstone River has high yellow rock cliffs along its banks in the northern area of the present day park.
The Native American Minnetaree tribe called the river "Mi tsi a da zi," which means "Rock Yellow River." French fur trappers translated this to "Yellow Rock" or "Yellow Stone." Hence Yellowstone was named.”
Well that’s it for Yellowstone Part One, plus the DD has been patiently waiting for me to vacate the desktop so she can have her turn. Y’all I really miss my laptop!
If you have missed any of my previous vacay post’s here are the links to them!
My next post will be on the Geyser Action at Yellowstone, it was defiantly an experience in the senses!