Saturday, March 24, 2012

More Yellowstone Memories.

Yellowstone's wildlife is amazing. It's everywhere. The only place I've visited where there is more wildlife on display acre-for-acre is Florida. Everywhere we drove and everywhere I hiked I encountered all sorts of animals. They call in "America's Serengeti", and I suppose that's true. And with the return of the wolf to the Park, we have our chief top predator back in the mix.

Wolves were about the only thing we never saw when we were in the Park. We did visit Lamar Valley, where sightings of wolves is most common, but we never did see one. The closest we came to seeing a wolf was a coyote--and that was a young, shy one who hid behind a big evergreen tree and wouldn't come out where I could take a good photo.

My main goal was to see a grizzly bear while we were in Yellowstone. And I saw two of them. Both were from a distance, and one was fast asleep. He was taking a nap along the collapsed banks of the Lamar River. I took his photo from a very great distance, which is the way I always want to see a grizzly bear.

If you look in the center of this photo, you can see the griz asleep in the dirt.

Here's the cropped version of the photo with the sleeping bear.

The true emblem of the faded Pleistocene: the American bison.

I expected to see a lot of pronghorn, but we saw very few of them in Yellowstone. This one, like the griz above, was in the Lamar Valley.

When I go back to Yellowstone, I hope to spend most of the time in the Lamar Valley. It was, to me, the prettiest part of the Park. It was also the least crowded with humans.

There was a trail leading to the top of this peak. I plan to hike it when I return.

To illustrate how fragile the thermal features are in the Park, here is a geyser that was active in the early history of the Park, but which is now cold and dormant.

It took this panorama from the high ridges of a 10K-foot peak (Mount Washburn). It's the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone seen from thousands of feet above the rim of the canyon. The air was hazy in that part of the Park that day because of some forest fires (that quickly faded out by the next day).

No comments: