Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Few Moments from Yellowstone

We arrived in Yellowstone in the evening on Friday, September 3rd. We had time to set up the RV, eat dinner, and go to a Ranger Talk. At the talk, we met some people from Texas who were members of Shady Valley Country Club, even though they don’t live in Arlington. Also, one of the ladies had played in a tournament with Mary Norris-Johnson. 
The Ranger Talk was on Fire in Yellowstone. We learned how important fire is to the life cycle of all living creatures in Yellowstone (humans don’t count). This is one reason that Yellowstone does not consider itself in imminent danger from the Pine Beetle. Bottom line-get rid of human interference and nature will take care of its self. 
We also signed up for two tours. One was a photography tour. We met our guide, Doug, at day break on Saturday morning. He taught us about our cameras, lighting, how to use filters, and the best places to get some wonderful photographs and see wildlife. 

lamborghini touring car

He drove us around in this automobile.  We spotted five river otters swimming down the Yellowstone River.

Later, we put the top down on the jeep and drove around Hayden Valley. We had heard they were seeing wolves there. Guess what? We DID see the wolves. Now keep in mind, we had really strong binoculars, a scope, and other people telling us the area where they had been spotted. The wolves were far away, and there was no way to see them without the optics and patience. 
That night we went to another Ranger Talk on Extinction in Yellowstone. Here are the animals to worry about- lynx, pica, & wolverine. I continue to worry about the wolf as the law in surrounding states changes yearly on hunting them. 

Sunday, more touring on our own. This is the day Barry actually took the photo of the Lower Falls that I posted yesterday. There was a cloud cover the day before, but Doug had told us to try again. We also walked the 500 foot drop and 300 steps to the bottom of the falls where another rainbow forms most of the day. 

Later that afternoon we took a Wildlife Tour. I recommend these tours. It is not that they take you to areas you could not go by yourself, but they have lots of good information and know where sightings have been. Of course, nothing is guaranteed. Wildlife sightings are mostly luck.
 As luck would have it, this black bear was cooperative. 

We headed into Lamar Valley, and on the way back it started sleeting then snowing. Barry said we would see elk once it started snowing, and he was right-as usual (he makes me say that). 

That night it was twenty seven degrees. Another lucky thing for us was that a fellow camper mentioned we could use our heat without the generator running. We did not know this, but it certainly came in handy since generators can only be used between 8am and 8pm in the campgrounds. Aluminum cans get very cold in freezing weather. 
Monday we headed to Old Faithful.  We visited the new Visitor’s Center there and other geysers. The geysers are not Barry’s favorite thing in Yellowstone. He is very worried about the next volcanic explosion which will probably end life as we know it (I hope that didn’t bring you down) 
At this point, I must go back in time-just a little. When I was a little girl, my family made a trip to Yellowstone. Things were very different then. The main difference was that people could feed the bears. There were so many traffic delays because of bears on the rode, you might have to wait for hours. There really was not one good thing about this policy, except that you got to see a lot of bears. On this trip we also stayed at Old Faithful Inn in a room that overlooked Old Faithful. We got to watch it erupt all evening. It was very impressive, and so was the Inn. I would wander all around and loved all the stairs made out of a lodge-pole pine cut in half. The amount of people visiting Yellowstone now has taken its toll on the wood flooring and carpeting in the Inn. The beautiful staircase steps have been covered with rubber to keep guests from slipping on the them. But, the Inn is still great, and we enjoyed having lunch there. 
There is a Barry story about the lunch though. The special that day was a French Dip sandwich. I am a big fan of French Dip sandwiches. As we were walking to the Inn Barry said he knew I liked them. I pointed out that when I get them, he always tries something else and ends up liking my FD sandwich the best. At this point, imagine a look of denial from Barr. We ordered. Barry got the buffet, and I got the FD sandwich. Guess what Barry liked the best. 
We drove back through Canyon (there is a great Visitor’s Center there also) and headed into Hayden Valley to see if we could find the wolves again. No luck on the wolves, but three bald eagles flew in and hung out below us for awhile on the river bank. Then a grizzly made his way out of the woods and down an embankment. Again, you needed luck & good optics to see him, and he was only visible (far away) for a couple of minutes.
Summary of Yellowstone:
Ranger Talks
Lots of Buffalo-herds much bigger than when we were there 15 years ago
River Otters
Black Bear
red squirrel
red-tailed hawk
blue sky
blue rivers and lakes
Bobby was kind enough to find out his password for me, so hopefully, I will be blogging more this evening. Right now I am trying to keep Barry and Bobby on task. Have mercy on me. 


  1. I love all of these pictures. That photo tour sounds amazing. I can't wait to go back to Yellowstone. Keep the updates coming, but also come home already. We miss you.

  2. Wow! Sounds like so much fun. Old Faithful brings back special memories of ambiance (as you described) and nostalgia for me because we had my 13th birthday dinner there! French dip sandwiches are one of my favorites. Dad, you love Arbys, how can you not know to order a french dip when available!?

  3. Great post Jan. Yellowstone sounds like an amazing place. We have never been there in our brief travels. I enjoyed living vicariously thru your blog post about the park.