Yellowstone: Vacation Part V

Dale took some really spectacular photos in Yellowstone and he finally gave me some to post. I’m epically behind on blogging but I’m home sick with the plague so I’m playing catch up!

On our first day in Yellowstone we started at Mammoth Hot Springs. Despite it being a rather chilly day it was quite warm walking the boardwalks at the hot springs.

Steamy springs and chilly air create a ghostly cast over the water.

Another shot of the hot springs–they are literally hot. And kind of stinky. Like rotten-ish eggs, honestly.

Dead trees in the midst of the Mammoth Hot Springs. I composed this shot (and was very proud).

Mammoth Hot Springs. In the midst of the highest concentration of geothermal activity on the planet. Neat.

People walking out onto the boardwalk to get closer to the hot springs. I have no idea how the boardwalk doesn’t go bad really quickly. But then again? They probably do.

The famous terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs.

After we hung out at the hot springs we drove for a spell and found a pretty place to sit. It was warming up and we noticed that our sitting area had tons of little creatures busying about. And I spotted my first ground squirrel. I was so excited. I like the small rodents–it’s my thing. Seriously HOW CUTE IS HE?

There were easily a dozen ground squirrels and chipmunks in this picnic area–they are the park’s tiniest vultures, looking for scraps of lunch. They were very fun to watch.

Because we went in early spring we saw animals every few seconds–they were all along the sides of the road! It was really an unusual experience and from what we’ve been told you have to come to the park early in the year to see this variety up close. So we stopped for our first “bear jam”–when there is wild animal up close everybody stops to get a better look and it causes a traffic jam in the park. And I was astonished by how close some people chose to get to this small black bear. I was pretty far away and zoomed in. And then RAN back to the car.

There were a lot of molting animals and the elks were no exception. She was really pretty and just wandering by the side of the road.

Just a few minutes later we saw quite a few cars pulled over to the side of the road. We thought it might be a bear so we pulled over. But we got really lucky. This big-horn sheep was just wandering in a ravine right next to the road. It was the only one we spotted on the entire trip. He was just grazing.

Buffalo were not nearly so scarce–saw one every five minutes!

We stayed at this hotel for two nights. And we saw plenty of elk. Indeed, they surrounded the hotel all day long. They lounged on the front lawn and in front of the restaurant next door. It got so bad that rangers would have to come and bar people from getting to their cars. Elk are tolerant of people but you can’t come too close. They rule the roost at Yellowstone.

The snow was fading but still visible, depending on the elevation. Dale wants to go back in the summer so we can see the park in bloom.

Dale went to take a photo of a pretty scene and made a friend. This little chipmunk was very interested in Dale. He darted around him nonstop, inspected his bags, sniffed out his camera gear and eventually just sat near him. I was sad we couldn’t bring him with us.

It was a bit of a hike but we got to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. It was  spectacular.

Gorgeous waterfall in the midst of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

And we ended the day with a lovely elk spotting–look at his velvety antlers.

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