|Chelsea at the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River (photo by WildDakotaWoman)|
I'm normally a night-owl, but it was worth going to bed early and getting up early to beat the crowds. I was rewarded with multiple grizzly bear sightings, lots of yellow-bellied marmots, Trumpeter Swans (new bird for me), an American Three-toed Woodpecker (another new bird for me), and lots of other wildlife, including wolves, elk, Canada Geese, pikas, mountain goats, and more. Another highlight was the busy Great Blue Heron rookery we located on the banks of the Yellowstone River in the Hayden Valley.
Although I wasn't much interested in seeing the thermal features on this trip, a special treat was getting to see Steamboat Geyser spouting (it erupted at 2 a.m. the day we were in the area of the Norris Geyser Basin so we stopped). Steamboat is the largest geyser in the park and "when it erupts, it can rocket a column of scalding water 90-120 meters in the air--two to three times the average height of Old Faithful. Odds are against witnessing this drama, however, since Steamboat's major eruptions occur 4 days to 50 years apart," according to the NPS signage at the geyser. We made the obligatory stop at Old Faithful on the day someone was thrown by a bison and were not the least bit surprised at this news given the amount of stupid behavior we witnessed especially around the wildlife.
We also made a day trip to Grand Teton National Park, where I spent a week years ago when I was in grade school attending Teton Science School. Although both parks are crowded this time of year, we found many places of relative solitude for picnics and hikes.
The long drive was well worth it and I already miss the cool temperatures of the mountains.
High-res versions of my photographs are available for purchase. You can also follow my work on Facebook at Wild By Nature Photography.
|My first mountain goat sighting, on the Beartooth Pass|
|Trumpeter Swans, Hayden Valley|
|Hayden Valley at dawn|
|Lower Yellowstone Falls|
|Three sleepy bachelor elk|
|Grizzly at Dawn near Fishing Bridge|
|Canada Goslings, Yellowstone Lake|