Friday, January 20, 2017

Part II: Yellowstone

Next up was Yellowstone, after a drive across western Montana, where the views were spectacular.

And the sky truly is big.

And where the food is, well, genuinely American.

We stayed here the night before entering Yellowstone.

Even the approach to Yellowstone was spectacular.

And uplifting.

Along the way, we stopped to tour this fire watch tower.

From the tower, we could see the haze from fires burning in the Park.

We were not the only ones appreciating the view.

And then we arrived.

Stopped for a picnic, and to listen to the rolling water.

As we began exploring Yellowstone, the bison were there to welcome us.

Or maybe just glare at us.

Also the pronghorn.

The wonderful landscape captivated us again and again.

As did the falling water.

Our first major stop was Mammoth Hot Springs. Truly otherworldly.

Though the elk found it comfortable enough!

Close up, or at a distance, it was a geological wonder.

As we were leaving, a baby elk strolled into view.

No, Kathy is not a 100 - but she does inspire awe.

Pronghorn giving us "the look".

Yes, you guessed it: actual yellow stone.

We regularly encountered evidence of past fires. The young trees give some sense of how long ago those fires had burned.

And...  another black bear!

So many peaceful, open, spaces.

We had heard that a grizzly had been seen near these rapids, so we stopped to look.

In the rapids, a bison carcass - but only crows were feeding on it.

We spent two nights at Lake Yellowstone Hotel, looking out at Yellowstone Lake.

First morning there, we went back to the rapids. This time, golden eagles were feasting on the former bison.

Everywhere in the Park, geological features left us agape. So different, so cool.

Note the bottom addition on this sign post.

One of the most breathtaking area of the Park was the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

Another evening on the Lake.

Next morning, we headed out early, swinging by the rapids one more time, and...  Grizzly!

Felt like we were inside a National Geographic special. We were maybe 20 yards away from a grizzly bear in the wild!

Then tranquility.

That is Lake Yellowstone Hotel on the middle shore.

The colors! The textures!

The reminder we were in Wyoming...

Chief Joseph highway.

More bison.

More fires.

Bison nonplussed by the fires.

Elk kindly posing midstream.

Firefighters' camp.

In the western parts of the Park, the haze from the fires seemed everywhere.

Though the elk seemed no more bothered than the bison had been.

I will say the fire haze accentuated the sunset nicely...

Next day, the air was clear again.

The water was always clear.

And the landscape still at times alien and fascinating.

The most crowded spot in Yellowstone: Old Faithful.

Yep. We have been to where the water needs to decide if it will flow east or west. At this point, it does both!

Elk - bathing, strolling, sleeping.

Around the Prismatic Spring, it truly looks like another planet.

One of our favorite wildlife sighting was this - a wolf!

One last look at the rivers of Yellowstone...

...  before we headed out, through Idaho.

Where we had another of our favorite wildlife sightings...  a bull moose!!

Mesa Falls was unexpected and wonderful.

Even the graffiti in Idaho was a pleasant surprise.

The countryside was much more grand than I had imagined.

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