Thursday, May 21, 2015

Yellowstone, Part 1

Yellowstone was the one place I most wanted to see on this trip. So far, it has exceeded my expectations. We stayed at the Madison campground, on the western side of the park, giving us access to Norris geyser basin, the hottest thermal area, and the Old faithful area, with 1/4 of the world's geysers in 1 square mile. We saw several big geysers erupt: Old Faithful, Daisy, Riverside, Grand (which is!), and Lone Star, as well as quite a few smaller ones. We also saw hot springs, boiling mud pots, and fumaroles (steam vents).

We had to brake for bighorn sheep, mule deer, and often for bison. We saw elk, bald eagles, lots of osprey, great blue herons, and yellow-bellied marmots, which were very entertaining running around and tussling. We haven't seen any bears, but saw their tracks and scat. I woke up during the second night and heard a VERY large exhalation just outside the wall by my head. After a quick worry about bears I could hear several big animals moving around quietly, and realized it was a herd of bison! Right around us! We later found out it was a group of 11 that came through.

It's been a long, busy chore day, and I don't have any scenery or geyser photos ready to post yet, but here are a few animal shots. We're heading back in to the Mammoth area tomorrow. It's on the northern side, but since the elevation is lower, it's a bit warmer

Yellow-bellied marmot