Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A-Hiking We Will Go

As of this Monday, Yellowstone's roads (well, most of them) closed to vehicle travel. Now they'll let the snow pile up and sometime in December the park will open to oversnow travel. Someday I'd love to go to Yellowstone in the winter. It would be a whole different experience than driving it! You can ski, snowshoe, snowmobile, or travel by snow coach. Some friends of ours went in by snow coach recently (within the last year or two) and they said it was amazing. I guess, from what I've read, that you actually can drive into the Park in winter from the North Entrance (Gardiner, MT) and you can go down to Mammoth Hot Springs and drive through the Lamar Valley and go as far as the Northeast Entrance. I'm not sure if that would be worth it, though, for the distance that we would have to drive.

While winter in Yellowstone is on my wish list, for now I will just have to settle for seeing the Park during the warmer months of the year. The last time we were there for the year was while my family was out to visit in September. I know I already shared a bunch of pictures from the time while they were here, but I've still got more! (That shouldn't surprise you at all...) If you're not into another post chock-full of pictures then you might want to skip over to another blog. :) Not all these pictures are from Yellowstone, so I captioned them for you.

These first two pictures are some of my favorites! These two (plus the three after them) are from a short hike we took with the kids and my parents. We didn't have to go far from home, and we had a ton of fun exploring.

 A few days later we headed off for Yellowstone and the Tetons (see more about that here and here). We didn't even make it into the Park before we saw this fellow:
(Remember? I promised you more bear pictures! Here you go...)

 She (or he) was running around right by the side of the road, and was clearly agitated (though the pictures don't really show it). I was glad to be IN the car and farther away from the bear than these zoomed in pictures would lead you to believe. I think this was a young grizzly, as it seemed to be on the small side. I'm guessing one of last year's cubs, but that is a totally uneducated guess.

This bear seemed to want to cross the road, as she started across a couple of times, but there was a lot of traffic and she kept turning back around. You could tell by her body language that she was getting really worked up. Eventually (after a few minutes) she took off running in the opposite direction and disappeared into the forest. Neat to see, but soooo glad I was in my car and not on foot or horseback for the encounter!

These two pictures are from Lake Butte Overlook in Yellowstone. Thus this body of water would be Yellowstone Lake. So much blue!

I love this picture, too! This is from the Tetons of course. Sometimes you feel so small...

We also went on a hike in the Tetons! This sign was at the trailhead... making sure everyone that goes hiking there is prepared for surprise encounters. We had multiple cans of bear spray with us. We definitely weren't hiking alone. And with six kids along we totally had the "make noise" point well covered. (Trust me.)

While in Yellowstone we also went to see Old Faithful. This is Old Faithful! Zoomed way in from where we were sitting at the viewing area, this is the geyser cone. The eruption prediction was a little off this time, so I was playing with my camera while we waited. Look how you can see the heat vapors in the upper right corner! 

Here is the cone again, just zoomed out a little farther this time. As we were waiting, the sun kept getting lower and lower in the sky. We thought maybe we'd get to see a sunset-lit geyser, which would have been cool, but then the sun sank below the edge of the hill and it started getting dark fast.

So this is what we ended up with! The last remaining sunlight just caught the top of the steam plume. Still pretty cool. :) Old Faithful is always a favorite with the kids.

We went out of the Park and returned a couple days later, this time via the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway and the Northeast Entrance. When you go that way you can stop and check out the Clark's Fork Canyon! (It's much more impressive in person. The picture just does not do it justice.)

 Something to keep in mind if you're out driving in Wyoming... some areas are still open range. Which means that it's not just wildlife and sightseers that you have to watch out for on the road, but livestock as well. Drive carefully!

We stopped at a picnic area just inside the Park entrance for lunch. Not only was the scenery pretty awesome...

...but the neighbors weren't bad either! Right across from the picnic area was this rocky mountainside. It's a little hard to see, but there are four mountain goats up there (three close together and one by itself)! We also saw eight other mountain goats in the area, but those were all much farther away and I got even worse pictures of them.

After lunch we drove down to the Canyon area, to Artist's Point. Isn't this a great picture? It really makes you feel like you're all alone with nature. Ahhh...
(Not pictured: the crowd behind me that you could barely walk through, brought there in part by a dozen or more tour buses. It seemed like a crazy amount of people for the off season! It was nearly October, for goodness sakes!)

Well, for this view I guess it's worth fighting the crowds (at least once in a while).

We left all the crowds back at Canyon and headed towards the East Entrance. What a way to top off the day! We found this big griz down by the shore of Yellowstone Lake. We stopped to watch him, and were able to stay for a while because there weren't too many people stopped there, or too much traffic.

He crossed the road and went walking right out into the lake.

Just taking a bath? There was a big shallow area there, and he just ambled along through the water for a long time with no apparent purpose in mind.

 The geese didn't seem concerned by his presence at all. We enjoyed watching him for a long time, but eventually we had to leave him where he was (still in the lake) and head for home. Until next time...

"How many are your works, Lord!
    In wisdom you made them all;
    the earth is full of your creatures."
-Psalm 104: 24

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing some of God's majestic handiwork with us out here in cyber land. Beautiful photos! Rick & Kim


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