Yellowstone National Park

America’s first National park was created in 1872 and covers 3,500 square miles. The Yellowstone basin surrounded by mountains is really a Volcanic Crater or ‘Caldera’ created 640,000 years ago in an eruption when the land dropped 3,000 feet towards the magma chamber of molten rock below. The result is a an area of magnificent scenery with high peaks, canyons, waterfalls surrounding the central basin where herds of bison and elk roam freely around the 136 square mile Yellowstone Lake. The area is volcanically active with many Geysers, Hot Springs, etc. Eruptions have occurred 2.1 million years ago, 1.3 million years ago and 640,000 years ago. There will be a next one but geologists are unable to predict when. This doesn’t seem to bother the over 4 million visitors who explore the Park every year.


There is so much to see here, our four day visit was only enough to explore the easily accessible areas of the Park. No wonder everyone we know, every television show, every magazine article describes Yellowstone as a must see on everyone’s bucket list! The vastness of the area with mountains, rivers, lakes and canyons provide many amazing and much photographed views.

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Wildlife is free to move through the park and so opportunities to see Bison and Elk abound. More rarely, Grizzly and Black Bears, Bighorn Sheep and Grey Wolves. Sport in Yellowstone consists of driving round the Park with binoculars and stopping when we spotted something. More frequently, stopping when we spotted a few other cars pulled over, particularly when tripods, telescopes and cameras were out. We optimized our opportunities by getting up early and staying out late when traffic was less and wildlife more active. In addition to seeing an abundance of Bison, we found a herd of Elk with their young feeding in the forest, a Grizzly, a Black Bear giving her cub tree-climbing instruction and some distant views of Bighorn Sheep and and even a Grey Wolf lair with pups (too far away to photograph). We loved the 30 minutes + spent in a traffic jam where a large herd of Bison crossed the main Park road from one grassy valley to another. Some were hesitant to join the traffic, between cars and trucks; others went across, threading through the stopped cars with aplomb. Since Bison are the largest mammals in North America, often weighing over 2,000 pounds, drivers were (usually) happy to stop and give way.

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Geysers, Hot Springs, Mudpots and more

Throughout the Park, evidence of volcanic activity abounded. Okay they’re smelly, the air is ripe with sulfur. But the colors of the pools and fungus, the plop-plop of the mudpots spouting (see video at the end of this blog), and the steam coming from the earth all help to make this experience other-worldly. You really get the feeling you are on another planet. But no, it’s mother earth burping, farting, and expelling steam to show off all kinds of things that are happening below the surface.

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Hot Spring
Old Faithful movie
Bull Elk walking through Yellowstone Falls parking lot
  • Yellowstone

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    Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

  • 5 Comments on “Yellowstone National Park

    1. Des images de début du monde … La nature a du talent et les photographes aussi…
      From Cheryl: We too thought the images looked like the beginning of the world. Strange and beautiful.

    2. What fantastic photographs and what beautiful country! Can you imagine what the first human to see it must have felt? As an aside, some of those bison look as though they would benefit from the services of a good haberdasher….
      From Cheryl: You are so right that the bison look as if their clothing is falling apart. But it is their spring, so new clothes for the summer! We do marvel over what the first humans must have seen, and how they reacted to it. Glad your enjoyed the pictures.

      • You are in my favorite place in the world. As always, beautiful photos. So great that you saw so much wildlife. Seeing a Grizzly puts you in rare company. What part of Yellowstone were you in when you saw it? Be seeing you in a couple of weeks. Are you going to Zion? Love, Dennis
        From Cheryl: Do you know the two loops that they talk about as the animal trails? West Lake to Thumb Village is one loop. Canyon Village to Tower Roosevelt is loop 2. In addition, we found some activity from Tower Roosevelt to the Eastern Entrance. Early morning (6 a.m.) ’till 10 a.m., then we’d park for lunch, get some web work done, and go out on the loops again from 5:30 p.m. till 9 p.m. We understand completely how it is one of your most favorite places in the world. See you soon! No to Zion until fall/winter perhaps. Moving toward the SF area and then heading south toward the family.

    3. Wonderful posting! The animal photographs are amazing. You certainly got to see so much of the highlights of the park in what looks like beautiful weather. The sunshine in the photos was a welcome sight on the very soggy, wet Fourth of July in Maryland! Enjoyed the background info, too.
      From Cheryl: So glad to hear from you and that you enjoyed the photographs. We are trying hard to get something special on the blog, not just the usual, but it’s getting more difficult with each ‘famous’ place we visit! Sorry you guys had a soggy 4th. We were in McCall, Idaho with the sister (and her family) of Frank Lane, our next door neighbor. More on that to come.

    4. Ditto what Joan said (hi Joan!)… I particularly loved the wildlife photos. Great job, Colin! And I loved the somewhat less wild life…that pretty lady sitting in front of Old Faithful, especially! I hope you had a nice telephoto lens with that grizzly bear. And what a delight to see the little cub getting a climbing lesson … and that young bison calf with his protective Daddy.
      From Cheryl: So happy to hear that you enjoyed and loved the wildlife photos. It’s hard to get something special when there have been so many photographers of high quality before, but we keep trying for different angles and interesting shots. Thank you for your kind words, and sweet sentiments, as usual! You are a true gift to us.

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