Animal Magic

Trip Start Jun 05, 2009
Trip End Jul 03, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Montana
Wednesday, June 17, 2009

We finally made it to Yellowstone today, entering through Roosevelt gateway, an impressive stone arch. There is a whole administrative town (originally a military base) just inside the gates, with a grand post office, Victorian houses and converted barracks and golden-age-of-travel hotels. Today we drove around the upper loop in the park, starting with the beautiful travertine terraces of Mammoth Springs. We were hugely lucky to see elk, and buffalo right up close on the verge – they barely flicker an eyelid at the dozens of cars pulling over to look at them. Incredibly we also saw a black bear, right at the edge of the road, happily chomping away on the grass and ignoring all the cars. Short detours took in the grand canyon of Yellowstone with its powerful upper and lower falls, twice the height of Niagara and we also saw our first fumaroles and mud pots, running a gauntlet of mosquitoes to walk the boardwalk to the Artists Paint Pots – red, orange, yellow and green mud and geyser pools. We also kept up our wildflower spotting. There are loads in the lower areas but in a week or so's time they’ll be out everywhere. There are still quite large patches of snow around which serve as a reminder that much of Yellowstone is at least 2000m above sea level – the same as some of the higher European ski resorts. On our way out of the park to West Yellowstone, traffic was halted for a bald eagle posing on a dead tree – He probably settles there at about 6 o’clock every evening!
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