Yellowstone

One of the things I was most looking forward to on this trip was going to Yellowstone. Yellowstone is a super-volcano, and as you’ll remember from previous blogs, I love my volcanoes and geothermal activity.

We left Cody and drove for about an hour into Yellowstone’s eastern entrance. We saw elk and baby bighorn sheep on the way.

  
It’s still pretty cold in Yellowstone and parts are covered in snow. The views are beautiful though.

   
 Because of all the geothermal activity in Yellowstone, it smells of rotten eggs, just like Rotorua. Quite a lot of what we saw reminded me of Rotorua.

We saw bison as we drove along. These are massive animals but seem largely unconcerned with the hordes of tourists photographing them.

  
We also stopped off at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, which looks just like a painting.

  
The colours in the rock are really beautiful.

  
After that we headed to our overnight stop in West Yellowstone, just over the border in Montana. We stayed in some lovely cute cabins which were very cosy and had incredibly comfortable beds. I’m definitely sleeping a lot better now that I’m not always in dorms.

We went out for dinner in the town in the evening and then some of us went to a gun shop to try our hand at shooting. I am very definitely pro-gun-control but was intrigued. I shot a Luger and it was really good fun.

  
The next day was an early start (left the cabins at 6am) in order to get into the park before the masses. This was going to be our wildlife spotting day, and boy did it deliver.

First up we stopped at Mammoth Hot Springs, which was incredibly similar to the landscape around lake Rotorua in New Zealand.

  
Our first wildlife spot came on the drive from Mammoth Hot Springs. A grizzly bear in the trees by the side of the road. Sam did a great job in spotting it from the van.

  
We then went to a spot where we would be likely to see wolves. The wolves were up on the hillside and so we had to see them through a scope. We were at a viewing spot where lots of enthusiasts with very Gucci scopes were set up. They were all really friendly and let us have a look through their scopes.

I forget the order we saw everything else in, but we also saw a pack of coyotes, marmots, antelope, mountain goats, and black bears with her cubs.

  
We also saw a baby moose and its mother, which is quite rare in Yellowstone.

JD said that he’s never had a group see so much wildlife in one day before, and he’s been guiding for 9 years. Must have been birthday luck as 2 of the group had birthdays on this day.

We saw a total of 8 bears, which was really cool. I think they were my favourite animals to see. I have some better pictures of the bears on my camera, but I can’t upload the pictures until I get home.

  
In the evening we went out for a nice meal to celebrate Liz and Maica’s birthdays, followed by a couple of drinks back at the cabins.

The next day we left at 9am and drove to the main geothermal areas. We stopped off at Fountain Paint Pots first. There were some beautiful colours here.

   
 
We then drove on to the Grand Prismatic Springs. The weather was not great and so we didn’t see it at its best, but it’s still pretty awesome.

  
Then it was onto one of the main draws of Yellowstone – Old Faithful Geyser. I’ve seen geysers go off before in New Zealand. Lady Knox Geyser near Rotorua goes off every day at about 10am with a little help from the park staff. But Old Faithful goes off approximately every 90 minutes without any human intervention. It was snowing whilst we were there. It’s fair to say I was not anticipating snow when I packed in December, so I had to resort to wearing most of my clothes to keep warm!

  
We had lunch at the lodge by Old Faithful, and were then able to watch the next eruption. I decided to get a different angle this time.

  
Afterwards we headed out of Yellowstone and towards Grand Teton National Park.

Yellowstone certainly did not disappoint. I didn’t realise how exciting it is to see animals in the wild, and the scenery was stunning.

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