Our “summer” vacation was surprisingly cool for the first half, with snow and a need for coats, hats, gloves … but beautiful views of stunning mountains, rivers and lakes, as well as sightings of Bison, Black Bear, Elk and more! I’ve posted our trip in multiple sections, and there’s a video presentation (courtesy of Apple Memories) if you prefer …
Grand Teton National Park
West Thumb Geyser Basin
Middle and Lower Basin
Bison [traffic] Jam, Mountain views
Mammoth Hot Springs
Lamar Valley, Black Bears, Bison
Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
Norris Geyser Basin
Heading back south towards our eventual flight home, we stopped at Norris Geyser Basin for another round of hot spring views – we’d skipped this a week ago heading north because it was cold and snowing, but now it was almost hot weather!
Our next stop was right on Lake Yellowstone, with less hot springs, no geysers, but stunning lake and mountain views and an Elk (and a very nice hotel, though still no internet in the park!) …
We knew that the north rim drive of Grand Canyon of Yellowstone gets busy so got there early and were once again treated to amazing views; a steep walk takes us right down to one of the impressive falls, and later viewpoints allow looking back to the falls through the canyon:
It’s hard not to be impressed in Yellowstone; we drove and soon stopped again for more geothermal views including a “dragon cave” (where the heat rises inside the cave and we just see steam pouring out!); the energy pouring constantly from some of these features is simple baffling!
Also an easy drive from the north entrance of Yellowstone is Lamar Valley where we headed next. On the way we stopped at Petrified Tree and were treated with our first views of Black Bears! On our way up rangers kept us away from the Bear by having us walk the other side of the path (as if that extra six feet would save us!); on the way down there were now two Bears …
Driving further into Lamar Valley we spotted many Bison, including a couple right against the roadside … and amazing rock formations from volcanic events too!
Then, another traffic jam and another Black Bear, this time really close to the road for great photos (also a family of American Badgers), and more stunning vistas!
A huge geothermal spectacle just south of the north entrance to Yellowstone; clear here is how the features keep changing – where hot water bubbles up and provides nourishment to bacteria, the colors are bright, but where the water no longer runs the bacteria die leaving just the white of the minerals laid down when the water flowed!
Our drive was halted for a while when a herd of Bison near the road attracted traffic, and eventually chose to cross the road between cars (they seemed smarter than some people, checking for stopped traffic before crossing!); very up close to one Bison that crossed in front of our car!
After that spectacle, we continued driving north eventually into Montana (our next stop) just beyond the north gate of Yellowstone. More geothermal features, more mountains, more incredible scenery …