New Adventure: Yellowstone
The nickname “Wonderland” for Yellowstone is easily seen by just taking one day trip through the park. We started on the north side of the park, as seen by the map. We entered on the north side around 8:00 am and began our trek through the park. We started at the Mammoth Hot Springs Park. We were greeted at the welcoming sign by a bison! These giants are so huge and magnificent to watch. I have been in the badlands with my family when I was younger and we enjoyed taking trips to see the bison in the wild. On our way out to Yellowstone we listened to Undaunted Courage which I would highly recommend to anyone wanting to know more about the Lewis and Clark expedition. As we drove across the lands the words came to life of the hardship and discovery from Lewis and Clark. Lewis truly was able to see the wild and untamed lands of the west and Yellowstone attempts to capture a piece of that from their travels. In the book, the author talked about the herds of bison 1,000+ roaming through the lands. It is bewildering to think of that many bison roaming the plains and also so sad to think about our effect on their livelihood. Before the 1800’s the settlers did market hunting in which they shot out of trains at the bison and killed as many as they could for sport. According to the National Park Service, in 1902 we had approximately two dozen bison. I can’t believe our nation has had to rebuild the species from just 24 bison!
My favorite bison was the one that greeted us to Mammoth Springs (see photo)
The coloring at Mammoth Hot Springs was amazing. (photos)
After Mammoth Springs park we drove east towards Lamar Valley and saw so many other species of animals: mule deer, elk, more bison, hawks and even an eagle. We came to a few cars parked on the side of the road and stopped to see what they were looking at. It was two bear cubs! They were playing about 200 yards from the road. This was such a sight! I have been to the BWCAW twice and never seen a bear there. We parked the car and walked up the road to watch, Brice went a little further then I did. 🙂 However, when he got near the cubs he was standing next to a woman and her 2 teenage daughters (their South Dakota license plate read Hollywood). They were yelling at the bear cubs like “heeeeeeere little bear! Come up here” and other various loud noises. It was so disappointed to hear how they were disturbing nature and really ruined this experience for me. One of my largest pet peeves is people that have absolutely no respect for the wilderness and animals around us. She could have put us in a really dangerous situation since the mother was nowhere to be found. Finally, a gentleman with a large camera set came up to her and asked her not to do that anymore. We moved back to the car and started back on our way.
At Tower Roosevelt, we discovered that the road was closed. We had to turn around and continue west and south to continue our trip. On the way back, we stopped and talked with an older couple sitting on camp chairs in a pull-out. The gentleman had a telescope pointed downwards in a canyon and his wife was doing needlepoint of a mallard duck. It was such a sweet scene and we asked what the telescope was pointed at and replied “an osprey nest- it’s been here for about 10 years”. It seemed that this couple had been sitting here for 10 years watching this Osprey nest in the same spot every year. How amazing is that?!
We continued south and saw more bison and stopped at Norris Geyser Basin. There was a boardwalk that continued through the forest and some amazing water and land features. The gases were so strong with a sulfur (rotten eggs) odor I couldn’t stand it for too long.
Another instance we stopped along the way and looked at a canyon I thought it would be a great photo-op for Brice and I. We got out of the car and I put my camera on top of the car to take a photo. If I look a little frightened in this photo it is because there was a very large crow hovering around us. He obviously learned to come around people or had been fed in the past be people. He came very close to our heads and flew from the tree in the photo to the road a few times. I started to get scared and we jumped back in the car! As some of you know I have bad luck with getting attacked by birds (seagull, crow and parrot) and so this was not a good place for me to be!
We continued our trip to old faithful. I was told by many family members to make sure to see this attraction and I wanted to make sure we saw it! We arrived to the attraction and noticed so many people in the area that had the same idea. We also noticed a lot of people walking away from the geyser. It had just gone off! We missed it by about 15 minutes. We read in a brochure that the geyser doesn’t go off for another 1 1/2 hours! So, we decided to continue on the road. We had seen so many amazing things on this trip and figured that we could continue on without much regret.
I hope that everyone is able to see this majestic and amazing park. If you have a convertible- even better! You wouldn’t have to get in and out of the car as much to take photos. I would also suggest going in the off-season. There were fewer people and less traffic. We were able to go in and out of attractions without much hassle. Also, be sure to have a camera always on and ready! You never know what you might see. I will include a few more photos from the trip.