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:
Or this post for my five Yellowstone wildlife spotting tips:
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.
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.
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.
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.