Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park Travel Blog

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Tyler at Fountain Paint Pot

We drove into the night and got a campsite at the West Yellowstone KOA, in Montana just outside the park.  We got up early and went in the West entrance...we saw Elk by the river right away, then we saw a coyote with a fish in its mouth run across the street right in front of us! I tried to get a picture but it was just too fast. Ty and I hopped out of the car and went into the woods where we saw it go, hoping to get a picture of it eating it's catch.  No such luck, he just kept running!  It wasn't long before Tyler saw his first hot spring, the same one I saw first 8 years ago, except now it has a fence around it.  The rangers say people die every year falling into the hot springs by accident, or by underestimating just how hot the water is here.

Old Faithful
  That's no hot tub, folks, you can cook lobsters in that!

We took a walking tour along the boardwalk to the Fountain Paint Pots.  On one of the loop roads, we stopped at a geyser just as it started erupting.  It was the Great Fountain Geyser on Firehole drive, and we had timed it just right!  We then walked the boardwalk to Midway Geyser Basin, and Excelsior Geyser. It started raining and hailing there, so we ran back to the car.  It had stopped raining by the time we got to the park's main attraction, Old Faithful. We also got to see Beehive geyser erupt, which is a larger, taller geyser but not as regular and predictable as Old Faithful.   After the geyser show, we went to lunch at a grill near the gift shop and visitor center.

Moose by the side of the road
  After lunch, we toured the West Thumb Geyser Basin, which ran along Yellowstone Lake. We saw Black Pool, Abyss Pool, and many others.  It was a little chilly out, but there was so much steam rising it looked like the woods were on fire!  The Park itself is still recovering from a major forest fire here 18 years ago. 

Driving North from West Thumb, we saw a bunch of cars stopped in the road...sure sign that some kind of animal was nearby!  ("animal jams" are common in the Park, when dozens of cars stop at the same place to view some wild denizen of the woods)  Sure enough, we saw a moose grazing in the water near the side of the road.  We got out and took several pictures, and the moose ignored us.  It was a female, no horns.

Buffalo were plentiful
   At the next turnout, we got out to view some rapids, and a large buffalo almost as big as my truck walked right past us and continued on down the street!   Because hunting is not allowed here, and neither is feeding the animals, they have no fear of us and are basically indifferent to our existance. They just go about their business, and don't care if we photograph them or whatever.

 We made our way to Mud Volcano, where we saw bubbling mud pots, and Black Dragons Cauldron, which seems to have changed a lot since I was here last.  Churning Cauldron was very active today, throwing up lots of mud & steam.  We moved on to upper & lower falls, where I saw a weasel, or martin..not sure exactly what it was, looked like a ferret but bigger than a house cat.

Churning Cauldron
  The falls were nice, but for some reason my camera stopped working there!  Good thing my camcorder has a digital camera as well!

We had another great animal encounter returning from Yellowstone Falls. We saw another animal jam, but couldn't see any animal.  Dawn was driving, so she stopped the truck and I hopped out with my camcorder in hand, hoping to see what all the excitement was about.   I didn't have to wait long!  I froze in place when I saw a large Grizzley Bear, walking in a ditch off the road not more than 15 feet in front of me! I was ready to jump back in the truck, but he ignored me as he ambled on by, and I filmed him as he crossed the street right behind the truck and walked into the woods.  A little too close for comfort, but exciting none the less! A bunch of people were trailing behind him, trying to get their own close shots, but that was good enough for me!   A group of persistant  shutterbugs was actually FOLLOWING the bear INTO THE WOODS to get the shot!  A woman up the road yelled at the top of her lungs, "STAY BACK! THAT"S A  DANGEROUS GRIZZLY BEAR!"   but, they ignored her!!    then, she yelled "THERE'S A RANGER UP THE ROAD, GIVING TICKETS TO ANYONE WITHIN 100 FEET OF THE BEAR!"   Well, that did it.

Grizzley Bear that walked right past me!
  The people stopped, turned around, and waved thanks to her for that particular bit of advice.   Imagine that!!  these folks had no fear of being MAULED or KILLED by a huge BEAR, but  God forbid, they get a ticket!!!   (Sometimes, I think these animals are a lot smarter than the people who come to see them!)      That was enough adventure for us for the day, it was getting dark, so we headed on back towards camp.  Less than a mile down the road, we saw DOZENS of cars pulled over, and what looked to be over a hundred people with cameras on tripods, camcorders, etc.  all pointed at a nearby hill.  We didn't see anything there, so we pulled off and got out to see what was what.  We asked the people what they were looking at, and they said there had been a Grizzley feeding on the carcass of a dead bison on the hill.
We saw elk right away just inside the park
  They were watching and hoping he would return.    Well, that must have been the bear we just saw, going the other way!  We told the people he was most likely done for today...and showed them my video of the bear crossing the street right in front of me...not from 200 yards away like the pictures they had taken!   They were very envious of us that we had seen him so close....but one encounter like that was enough for me!

jostravel says:
Who in their right mind gets out of a car to see a bear??? I know they look cuddly, but seriously?? The moose looks adorable - I've had a soft spot for moose since being a child - it was a childhood cartoon character :)
Posted on: Apr 16, 2016
Gharlyn says:
A male hiking with his spouse was slaughtered Wednesday in Yellowstone National Park. He was mauled to death by a grizzly bear. The bear will not be trapped or killed, as reported by park officers. The incident has started concern over the possible impact on tourism. The proof is here: Man killed by grizzly bear in Yellowstone Park
Posted on: Jul 11, 2011
mypictures4u says:
I saw one black bear and one grizzly during my visit. Some people would leave their cars with the bear only 5 yards away. I got my shot from the car. That was sufficient.
Posted on: Jun 13, 2007
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Tyler at Fountain Paint Pot
Tyler at Fountain Paint Pot
Old Faithful
Old Faithful
Moose by the side of the road
Moose by the side of the road
Buffalo were plentiful
Buffalo were plentiful
Churning Cauldron
Churning Cauldron
Grizzley Bear that walked right pa…
Grizzley Bear that walked right p…
We saw elk right away just inside …
We saw elk right away just inside…
area still recovering from a fores…
area still recovering from a fore…
tagged elk
tagged elk
There were plenty of these elk aro…
There were plenty of these elk ar…
our first hot spring
our first hot spring
this didnt have a fence 8 years a…
this didn't have a fence 8 years …
hot paint pot
hot paint pot
bubbling mud pot
bubbling mud pot
semi-dry mud pot
semi-dry mud pot
on the boardwalk
on the boardwalk
there were dozens of these springs
there were dozens of these springs
multi-colored paint pots
multi-colored paint pots
Great Fountain Geyser, on Firehole…
Great Fountain Geyser, on Firehol…
It was just starting to erupt as w…
It was just starting to erupt as …
talk about perfect timing!
talk about perfect timing!
we timed it perfectly...it didnt …
we timed it perfectly...it didn't…
Dawn & I at Midway Geyser Basin
Dawn & I at Midway Geyser Basin
Midway Geyser Basin
Midway Geyser Basin
Excelsior Geyser
Excelsior Geyser
The boardwalk along Excelsior Geys…
The boardwalk along Excelsior Gey…
It started to rain & hail while we…
It started to rain & hail while w…
The steam rising from the water ga…
The steam rising from the water g…
Beehive Geyser, not far from Old F…
Beehive Geyser, not far from Old …
Beehive is taller than Old Faithfu…
Beehive is taller than Old Faithf…
Old Faithful gets ready!
Old Faithful gets ready!
there she goes!
there she goes!
lasted about a minute
lasted about a minute
all done!
all done!
West Thumb Geyser Basin, along Yel…
West Thumb Geyser Basin, along Ye…
Black Pool is actually very blue
Black Pool is actually very blue
Abyss Pool
Abyss Pool
Tyler spotted a moose
Tyler spotted a moose
This one just walked down the road…
This one just walked down the roa…
Dragons Mouth Spring...
Dragon's Mouth Spring...
...so named because of the steam t…
...so named because of the steam …
Mud Volcano
Mud Volcano
Grizzly Fumerole
Grizzly Fumerole
Grizzly bears mark territory by sc…
Grizzly bears mark territory by s…
Rapids above Yellowstone Falls
Rapids above Yellowstone Falls
Yellowstone Falls
Yellowstone Falls
This was the last picture taken be…
This was the last picture taken b…
Yellowstone National Park Hostels review
Very nice campground, plenty of room...as tenters, there were numerous site to choose from. If traveling by RV, reservations are recommended. Very clo… read entire review