Monday, April 5, 2010

Road Trip Day 6

Early on June the 16th, we left Cody WY. and headed to Yellowstone National Park. My plan was to enter the park at the east entrance and tour the northern half of the park on this day and stay in West Yellowstone Montana, just outside the west entrance to the park. I had attempted to find some lodging in one of the main park lodges, but you need to make these reservations about a year ahead of time to get the dates you want. The weather on this day was variable to say the least. Cloudy and rainy would give way to some breaks in the clouds and nice light, but it never lasted more than a few minutes at a time. Somewhat frustrating to me as a photographer, but again the moody dark clouds made for some dramatic landscape photos.
This is you first view of Yellowstone Lake as you come in from the east entance.

My goal was to try and get some good wildlfe photos on this trip, but when you are traveling with other people you have to try and make everyone happy so I limited my time when I was trying to get some photos. Unfortunately many of the animals are fed by the tourists and have become shameless beggars. As I pulled up at the side of the road to decide if I wanted to take some photos of the lake, this enormous raven hopped up on the sign right in front of me and gave me a perfect pose. Of course he was eyeing me up for a handout. When I did not offer one and started to get back in my car, He decided he was going to come right in with me.
All the roads in the park are two lanes with not much shoulder or places to pull over except at designated locations. Any wildlife sighting just brings traffic to a halt. People stopped in traffic will abandon their cars to go take photos. So getting through the park can be a very slow and frustrating at times. 
This Grizzly Bear was pretty far across a river alongside the road. I had a 400mm lens and still had to crop into this photo to create this image. Here he was scratching his back on this tree, but you can see all the scarring on the tree from previous bears marking territory. 

This is a shot of the LowerYellowstone Falls. Here the Yellowstone River flows through the Grand Canyon of the Yellwstone, which is up to 1000 feet deep.  There are many hiking trails and scenic overlooks that provide breathtaking views and photo opportunities along this amazing canyon.

It is incredible to see how many of these trees and shrubs cling and grow on the steep rocky embankments. Erosion continually exposes their root systems, and many of the trees appear to have the majority of their root system exposed, but they still survive.
Just an amazing landscape to behold. I could just sit for hours and stare at it's incredible beauty.
I probably would not have spotted this baby Elk on the hillside since it naturally blends in so well, but it was calling loudly for it's mother and I was able to locate it.
Manmoth Hot Springs is a must see area if  are planning a trip to Yellowstone National Park. Located in the Northwest area of the park, Mammoth is a large hill of travertine that has been created over thousands of years as hot water from the spring cooled and deposited calcium carbonate (over two tons flows into Mammoth each day in a solution).  Some of the most surreal landscapes you will ever see due to the geo thermal activity that occurs. It was a very long day and I did not get to my hotel in West Yellowstone until after dark. With only a couple days to tour the park, I could not spend nearly enough time at the many locations I stopped at. But I did take many , many photos. Tomorrow will be the southern half of Yellowstone National Park.

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