Five Days in Yellowstone National Park

Day One

On 2nd June 2011 we entered Yellowstone from the north entrance and taking our time drove towards the northeast entrance in the hope of spotting moose along the plains. We failed to see any moose but we spotted plenty of antelope (Pronghorn), elk, bison and a marmot sunning himself on a rock. Slough Creek Campground wasn’t yet open but we found a nice secluded spot behind a building where we parked up and started to watch a movie before going to sleep. It was an idyllic location to privately camp within Yellowstone, that is until we were disturbed by a ranger. Although reasonable he advised us to move to a proper campground or we would be ticketed by the morning. We moved to Tower Fall Campground.
Click here for a map of Yellowstone

If you would like to see photos of the wildlife we spotted in Yellowstone please visit this post:
http://samsplayground.com/wildlife-spotting-in-yellowstone-national-park/

Or this post for my five Yellowstone wildlife spotting tips:
http://samsplayground.com/yellowstone-national-park-wildlife-spotting-tips/

Yellowstone with Renee infront of the pond with the light striking the clouds above the mountains in the distance

Yellowstone with Renee infront of the pond with the light striking the clouds above the mountains in the distance

 

Day Two

We drove back out of the park to purchase some supplies, have showers and buy water. After lunch we visited Mammoth Hot Springs and Palette Spring with its impressive teraces. As well as Canary Spring and Orange Spring Mound. We’d been recommended the Beaver Ponds Walk so we did this but didn’t spot anything more interesting than a mule deer and some big bird thing. However on the way from our higher vantage point we spotted many people and cars cramming a bridge and backing up traffic. We hastily ran back to the van and headed to the bridge. We were stopped half way to the bridge by a traffic jam, this one caused by a road accident where a driver had killed a baby elk – the baby elk was just behind the front wheel so the driver had obviously stopped but not in time. It looked like a very unpleasant situation for the driver and of course the mother elk who was hovering just a couple of metres away off the road. After we got past we found that the commotion on the bridge was caused by a cinnamon coloured black bear prowling around in the meadows beneath the bridge. We stayed and took countless photos of our first Yellowstone bear before driving back into town to stay the night.

A few bare trees struggle on the calcium carbonate covered hillside in Mammoth Hot Springs - Yellowstone

A few bare trees struggle on the calcium carbonate covered hillside in Mammoth Hot Springs - Yellowstone

 

[pe2-gallery class=”aligncenter” ] Renee infront of a thermal mound in Mammoth area of Yellowstone.jpgPalette Spring in Yellowstone.jpgLooking out through the trees over and over Yellowstone National Park.jpgLooking past our van down the canyon - Yellowstone.jpgYellowstone Toilet Humour.JPGLooking into the sun.jpg[/pe2-gallery]

 

Day Three

We were off to explore more of the southern parts of Yellowstone. On the road to Norris we saw groups of cars stopped and the big lenses out and pointing to the left. When we asked someone what the commotion was about he kindly explained that a mother grizzly and two cubs had been harassing an elk mother and her calf for quite a while in the distance. They were too far away to spot with the naked eye but we decided it was time for breakfast and pulled over into a pullout and started cooking French Toast. I’d started a chess game on my phone so it was Renee who looked up and spotted the grizzly mother with her cubs on the other side of the road. We temporarily abandoned our French Toast and rushed out with our cameras to capture our first grizzly sighting.

Later we drove to Norris and walked the Norris Geyser Basin Trail. We then drove towards Madison and did the walk around the Paint Pots before staying the night at the Madison Campground.

Toasting marshmellows at night in Yellowstone

Toasting marshmellows at night in Yellowstone

 

Day Four

We did the Fountain Paint Pot Area Trail, The Firehole Lake Drive and the Midway Geyser Basin. The Grand Prismatic Spring was amazing with its floating coloured misty clouds, its the parks largest hot spring. Later we drove to Old Faithful which erupts every ninety minutes, after the eruption we drove to West Thumb Geyser Basin and Renee went and looked at the Fishing Cone, named after men use to use to cook their fish in. We stayed the night at Bridge Bay Campground.

Brilliant glassy finish showcasing the colours of Yellowstone

Brilliant glassy finish showcasing the colours of Yellowstone - Prasmatic Spring

 

[pe2-gallery class=”aligncenter” ] A blue thermal pond with orange edges and deeper reds and browns as the water leaks out and different bacteria thrive.jpgBlue and orange steam play together above the hot ground of Yellowstone National Park.jpgBlue steam rises from the largest hotpool in Yellowstone National Park.jpgBubbling clear blue pond infront of forest of sparse tree trunks - Yellowstone National Park.jpgGreen blue and orange are all apparent in Yellowstone.jpgThe surface of this brilliantly coloured pool shimmers in the light Yellowstone breeze.JPG[/pe2-gallery]

Me doing my best goofy look above a thermal pool

Me doing my best goofy look above a thermal pool

Day Five

We woke up early to join a ranger on a wildlife spotting thing in Hayden Valley. Unfortunately we didn’t see anything even with the aid of the ranger’s binoculars. Moving on we drove to Artists Point, the famous overlook point of the canyon and falls. Then we headed to the Eastern section we hadn’t seen yet and stopped by the lake to cook up French Toast. Renee is obsessed with French Toast. Driving again we spotted a juvenile grizzly on the side of the road, we stopped and took photos. I took photos for a lady and her kids we met who’d come to Yellowstone without a camera – they’d turned out dreadful, it’s rather embarrassing. While watching the grizzly there was this bizarre incident when some ‘redneck’ in a pickup truck pulled up and started yelling at us all that we were too close, that we should be two hundred yards away from the grizzly and that he was calling the ranger. I felt like telling him to shut up, he was not only disturbing us but very well disturbing the grizzly who up to that point had been content with the roots/grubs in the ground. Anyway when the ranger turned up he didn’t seem to have any problem with the situation and the idiot in the pickup with his stupid wife left. While continuing our drive we saw a coyote before heading south to Grand Teton National Park. It’d been a memorable five days in Yellowstone, we’d spotted countless elk, pronghorn, bison as well as numerous bears and finally a coyote.

Renee & I in front of juvenile grizzly

Renee & I in front of juvenile grizzly

Canyons & waterfalls in Yellowstone - one and the same

Canyons & waterfalls in Yellowstone from Artists Point

 

[pe2-gallery class=”aligncenter” ] Lakeshore showing beach and mountains.jpgLooking over the plains of Yellowstone an excellent area for wildlife spotting.jpgMyself infront of the barren thermal landscape.jpgThe thawing of the lake in Yellowstone.jpgYellowstone Petrified Tree.jpgMammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone.jpg[/pe2-gallery]

 

Click here for more information on Yellowstone National Park and how to plan your visit

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Comments

  1. Some nice pics! So sad about the baby elk :(

  2. The lady who I took dreadful photos of her and her kids happened to take the nice photo of Renee and I holding hands in front of the juvenile grizzly just to make me feel worse about he photos I took of her..

  3. Seeing the baby elk run over was incredibly sad! But even more sad was seeing the Mum pacing back and forth not knowing what to do. She was scared of all the people and cars but wanting to find out what had happened to her baby.

  4. My absolute favourite spots in Yellowstone are the Grand Prismatic Spring, Mammoth Hot Springs. Must sees!!

  5. When we were in this park we learnt that geothermal activity like this is only found in a few places in the world, namely Yellowstone, Iceland, and New Zealand. We didn’t realise growing up in New Zealand that it was so rare…
    I have to admit that the smell in Rotorua is much worse than in Yellowstone!

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