Thursday, July 12, 2012

West Yellowstone, Montana (July 9-13, 2012)

We have been wanting to visit Yellowstone National Park for a very long time and now we are here.  We have only three days in our schedule to see and experience as much as we can at this natural wonder. We started out the first morning as early a we could get out and after only a few miles inside the park we ran upon grazing bison. They completely ignore the vehicles and cause backups when they are in the road.

Remember, if you click on a picture it will bring up all the pictures in a full screen format. 

The park itself is located, primarily, in the caldera of a supervolcano, the largest on our continent and one of the largest in the world. It is considered an active volcano and the thermal activity in the park clearly attests to that.

The ride into the park from the small town of West Yellowstone was very peaceful and beautiful at the time we chose to go in which was close to dawn.   Besides the bison we saw many elk and they, as the bison, were not very concerned about cars or people. They scenery was so gorgeous I couldn't take enough pictures.

Elk cow with her calf.

Bull elk.This guy was on the larger size of many of those we have seen.

We spent all three days exploring the park and decided it would take us several weeks to do a thorough job of it.  The first day we went alone, but on the second and third days we took the boys.  They were entranced with everything we saw from the geysers to the wildlife. They were, especially, interested in one stop we made where a bison bull meandered within several feet of the truck.  I was ready to pull off at the slightest hint of an encounter or if the boys started barking, but neither happened.  All they did was stare and sniff and emit a few low growls. That made their day.

I could write a book about the wonderful things we saw, but there is not enough time so maybe the following pictures will entice you to go and visit this awesome display of nature.

Tour bus for the winter visitors.
Scars from the massive fires years ago (see if you can spot the eagle).
Beautiful scenery.

And a river runs through it.

A hot-spring along side and fed by the river.

Field of steam.

Many hot-springs.  This is a quite one and very clear. About 30 feet deep. Temperature is about 200F/93C.

This hot-spring has a schedule.  It drains and fills back up regularly.

The area around this large group of hot-springs and geysers is much warmer than just a mile away.

This is a mud hot-spring.  Would be great for a bath, but the temperature is over boiling.

This bull bison is making sure the little buggies on him are dusted off. He is next to the mud hot-spring with several others.
Bubbling mud.
The Grand Tetons in the distance.

Coyote on the prowl.

Huge herd of bison.

Boardwalk around a geyser and hot-spring basin.

A constantly erupting geyser

Run off of super heated water into the cold river from an elevated hot-spring.

Paint Pot Hot-spring.

Old Faithful in her full glory.
Gathering his last meal for the day.

We more than enjoyed our stay at Yellowstone and placed it on our list to return to, if we can. If you should decided to visit, try to do it in the "light" tourist season when there are fewer tourists.  We were here at the height of the season and everything was jammed packed with cars and, especially, tour buses. Also, make sure to devote at least a week to slowly enjoy the park.  It will be a highlight of your life.

A perfect ending to a perfect stay.

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