Happy Travel Tuesday everyone! I seriously keep thinking today is Wednesday for some reason and it has me all thrown off. Anyway, this week is going to finish up the bulk of the Yellowstone story, although I’m sure the random photo will still pop up here and there – it was a pretty epic trip! (smile) I truly loved Yellowstone, and I’ve already been plotting a winter trip to the park with a friend of mine – we’ll see how that goes!
Last week I did a photo journal of some of the geothermal features of the park – this week is all about the wildlife, waterfalls, and a wealth of stunning vistas.
Yellowstone National Park is home to a number of animal species small and quite large. There are over 67 species of mammals, 322 recorded species of birds, and 16 species of fish. The largest species include bison, bear (grizzly and black), elk, moose, mountain lion, and wolves (among several others).
Please pause for bison on the roadway
Hanging out by the hot springs
Bison (aka Buffalo)
Hanging out by the roadside
It’s amazing how quickly common sense seems to leave people once these animals are in sight – the rules clearly warn visitors to keep their distance but they just can’t seem to help themselves! There are more people hurt by bison than by bears each year in Yellowstone. Regulations state that visitors should keep a minimum distance of 25 yards from bison or elk and at least 100 yards from bears. I recommend a long range lens personally…much less expensive than hospital and/or car repair bills!
Grizzly off to avoid all the cameras
He made it through the humans and to the other side of the road
These guys move quick!
We visited the park in early June, which happened to coincide nicely with the elk’s birthing season. Oddly enough we saw very few baby elk, but the moms were definitely on the lookout! We had one elk in particular that liked to hang out near our cabins – if she was grazing, we were stuck inside (the car or the cabin) until she moved on. Otherwise she – and the others – had no compunction about chasing you away! These guys are agile and rather sizable up close! It’s best to heed the park rangers advice and keep your distance as much as possible.
Nature & Man all-in-one
Elk right outside the door
The Yellowstone Grand Canyon Falls
The Yellowstone Grand Canyon Falls
Yellowstone is also home to its very own “Grand Canyon.” This formation is a bit smaller than the Arizona version, but it’s still pretty impressive. The canyon also contains one of the highest waterfalls in the United States!
Hanging Valley Falls
A hike to Fairy Falls
Short hike to Gibbon Falls
There are no shortage of other waterfalls throughout the park as well. Some are located along the roadways and others are a hike (long or short, depending on preference). My favorite that we saw were the Fairy Falls. It felt like a long hike given that we went towards the end of our day, but it was well worth the journey. They’re a bit further back and it’s amazingly peaceful. I highly recommend the trip to see them if you’re in the area (smile).
Wealth of Vistas
The Fishing Bridge (ironically closed to fishing)
The Fishing Bridge walkway
Yellowstone River from the Fishing Bridge
The fishing bridge was closed to fishing (ironically) in the 1970s due to over-fishing. It was (and is) a spawning area for cutthroat trout making it a very popular fishing spot prior to its closure. It’s still a lovely place to sit and admire the views (smile).
Sunshine through the trees
Still plenty of snow up on the mountains
In 1988 fires affected roughly 36% of the park. While the areas are on the mend today, signs of the fire are still highly visible. The largest fire, the North Fork Fire, started from a discarded cigarette. It burned over 410,000 acres.
View of Mammoth Hot Springs
If you couldn’t tell, I think I fell a bit in love with Yellowstone and the general area (smile). Even outside the park (which technically some of those landscape shots sort of are) there seems to be something breathtaking around every corner. I’m not at all sure I could handle the winters up there (I’m a wimp when it comes to snow), but it has certainly peaked my curiosity to explore the area further!
Come join the fun!!