Yellowstone National Park

Trip Start Apr 06, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Wyoming
Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Yellowstone was established in 1872 and became the world's first ever national park. As we found out on our drive to find a campground, Yellowstone National Park is massive, and covers an area of almost 3500 square miles; the drive from when we entered to the campsite was over 90 miles. The park is known for so many different things including erupting geysers, thermal springs, waterfalls and canyons, and of course the wildlife including bears, bison, wolves, moose, elks, coyotes etc. With so much ground to cover we set up camp and spent the next 3 days exploring, hiking, animal spotting and had the best time ever doing so. The pictures will do most of the talking, but Day 2 was a highlight from beginning to end...

After a bear free Day 1, we set off early on Day 2 determined to see some grizzlys. We'd driven about 7 miles from our campground when we saw up ahead that loads of cars had pulled over and the professional photographers and wildlife enthusiasts with telescopes were all set up and buzzing; a bison carcass had fallen through the ice during the winter and the smell had attracted a pair of grizzly pairs on the mountain side which were looking as if they may be making their way down for a feed sometime soon. We joined in the buzz and 10 minutes later we couldn't believe our eyes when sure enough 2 female grizzly bears came strolling down, located the bison in the water, and started to pull the carcass onto the bank. You could hear them ripping bits of flesh off from where we were stood. In the end they didn't manage to get the carcass right out of the water...the rangers that were watching seemed to think these bears were nervous about something, possibly another bear, and after about 30 minutes of stuffing their faces the bears plodded off back up the side of the mountain for a sleep.

About 10 minutes further up the road, we were greeted once more by loads of cars and photographers lined up along the road. Still on a complete high from the grizzly encounter, we jumped out of the car and this time there was a black bear with 2 small cubs walking and playing in the trees...amazing. Further still up this same road, we saw moose, bull elks, bighorn sheep, pronghorns, and bison with calves which are bright orange. It was a hot sunny day and after all this excitement we went back to our campsite late afternoon, chilled out and caught some rays. After dinner we were a bit restless, especially knowing that the bear action was so close, so we decided to take another drive back to the same site to see if anything else was going on at the 'kill zone'...check us out picking up the pro lingo! If a bear or a wolf takes down an elk, deer or bison during the night, the enthusiasts will spend up to 12 hours at the site waiting to get 'the photo of a lifetime' when the predator finally returns for second helpings.

As we got there around 7.30pm there were quite a few people watching the same 2 female grizzly bears laying right by the bison carcass, but said that another bear had been spotted up on the mountain. Just as we looked in that direction we could make out a huge black, male grizzly bear charging down right in the direction of the other this is why they seemed nervy earlier. You'd have to see it to believe how fast and how powerful this male bear was. Presumably in defence of his bison carcass, he tried to attack the smaller of the 2 females (which we learnt was a 2 year old cub with her mother). The mother and the male bear then started to fight each other, growling and roaring, right in front of us all...this lasted for about 10 minutes and you've never seen a bunch of professional photographers look so excited before! The chase continued back up the mountain and out of sight, and we couldn't sleep that night!

Yellowstone National Park is one giant active volcanic area and in certain geothermal parts of the park the ground continuously steams and the water boils and bubbles. The volcano caldera that the park sits on is 30 by 45 miles across, and last erupted 640,000 years ago. No-one knows when it's going to blow again! On Day 3 we paid the essential visit to Old Faithful; a geyser that reliably erupts and jets water 100 feet into the air every 90 minutes or so, and was pretty awesome to witness. We also hiked around the Norris Geyser Basin, including the Steamboat Geyser (biggest in the world and when it last erupted in 2003 it reached 450ft) and loads of thermal springs that stink of sulphur. The Yellowstone River runs through an eastern area of the park; over millions of years it has carved the Yellowstone Grand Canyon and consists today of 3 powerful waterfalls that we hiked around. Yellowstone is so diverse and so big that you could spend months exploring here and see something different every day. After our incredible 4 days we headed south out of the park, down through the Grand Tetons National Park, in need of a shower and a good meal after all this excitement.
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wend on

What a totally wonderful experience. All of the photos are absolutely amazing and to be able to share this with you is priceless. Can't believe that you have been able to witness such wonders. Keep up the good work xx

Claire H on

America has never been top of my list for a visit, but I could definitely fancy a trip here!! It looks amazing, there is nothing like seeing wildlife in their natural habitats. Reminds me of our trip to Africa.

Mum on

Awesome pics guys - love looking through them over and over - your description of what you saw makes it all so real - feel like I am there with you xx

Suzanna on

God, it all looks so fantastic! The photos are wonderful and your descriptions of everything are great. So glad it's all going so well. I wanna go!

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