Monday, July 12, 2010

Yellowstone National Park

Every turn in Yellowstone leads to new surprises and everyday spent in the park is an unforgettable adventure. The cool crisp mountain airs leads to pristine blue lakes, rolling plains, and rocky mountain tops mixed with abundant wildlife, dazzling waterfalls, and the infamous volcanic rumbles of the Earth.

We arrived to Yellowstone in late June through the East Entrance outside of Cody, Wyo. The East Entrance of Yellowstone is in the higher elevations, and this was evidenced by the mounds and mounds of snow sitting on the passes this late in the year. Tourists were pulled over, giddily taking pictures as they played in the snow. Not many people can say they have seen snow in June!

Not having planned ahead, we were eager to find a camp ground pronto. We tried several larger sites, noted that all were full. We lucked out and were able to secure a spot at Indian Creek - a smaller, but nicely suited campground on the West side of the park. A big brown bear visited our camp on the first night - so be careful of bears! Luckily, I was able to get this rough shot of the bear.

It's hard to see our friend brown bear here, but if you look closely in the middle of the picture of the trees you can see him. And boy did he create quite the ruckus! The park rangers ended up having to light up several flare/fireworks and several rounds of a fire arm to chase this guy aware from the campground. Luckily, everything was fine. This was not the only bear we saw. We saw black bears, brown bears, and of coarse the king of the kingdom - the Grizzly bear!

This was the black bear mother with her three little cubs in the Hayden Valley. Bears are easier to spot during the early morning hours. Bears weren't the only animals we have encountered in Yellowstone. We have seen tons of buffalo (bison), deer, moose, antelope (pronghorn), big horn sheep, osprey, elk, rabbit, marmot, cutthroat trout, coyote, and have even seen the Yellowstone wolf pack from a hillside with a scope.

The wildlife is only the tip of the iceberg as to what one can see when visiting the park. Beautiful Lake Yellowstone sits in the middle of the park with the breathtakingly awesome Yellowstone River the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone downstream.

Video of the Upper Yellowstone Falls at the Brink:

The water in late June this year was just roaring as you can see from the video. Here's a few still pictures:

Most people don't consider that Yellowstone is one of the largest active volcano's in the world. This volcano still molds the landscape with geysers, bubbling springs, mud pots, and steam vents. Norris Geyser Basin: The Norris Geyser Basin is a land of magic and mystery. Springs and geysers dot the harsh earth scorched landscape. Peaceful and poetic - a must see, and a bit off the beaten path for some visitors
Artist Paint pots: The Artist Paint pots are the most colorful volcanic features on the immense canvas of Yellowstone. A small hike provides amazing bubbling pools in colora of green, blue, grey, white, brown and orange.
Firehole Lake Drive: A beautiful detour of some sporadically erupting geysers (we were lucky and saw both within about 5 mins of arriving!) and a steaming lake. Very worth the time, and Great Fountain Geyser is my favorite in the park.

Old Faithful: The iconic Old Faithful is not one that I have ever seen disapoint. Crowds of hundreds will wait the hour and half it takes for the geyser to rest, refill, and blow its top again. As massive as all of Yellowstone is - Old Faithful is its center - and thats for good reason. Everytime I've ever been, it always seems that Old Faithful is late. Being late by even five minutes has lead many in the crowd to ofter speculate its not going to erupt and nearby rangers to assure them it will. No visit to Yellowstone is complete without a visit to Old Faithful!

Yellowstone is a truely amazing place to visit. Every corner, every turn provide a new chance to be "Wow"'d

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