Thursday, July 18, 2013

Yellowstone National Park

We spent a day in Yellowstone National Park this summer with our grandson.  We had hoped to be there longer but the weather turned wet and stormy and so we went on, first to Mount Rushmore and then to Indiana and Michigan to bring him home and to see our parents, children, and grandchildren.  These are some of the photos we took while in Yellowstone.

We came through the west entrance and through the town of West Yellowstone and made our first stop along the Madison River at a boggy hillside for some wildflowers including an orchid, the White Bog Orchis (Platanthera dilatata var. dilatata) and the Elephant's Head Lousewort (Pedicularis groenlandica).

Near Madison Junction we stopped to photograph a cow bison and her calf in one of the parking lots, and after they wandered off we met them again on the road which they claimed for themselves, forcing us and a number of other vehicles to follow at a distance and slowly.

From Madison we headed north, stopping first at Artist's Paintpots and then heading further north to Norris Geyser Basis.  Artist's Paintpots is an area of boiling mud pots and steam vents and we were there early and were unable to see very much through the steam.

On the way to Norris we stopped to photograph some wildflowers including the Indian Thistle pictured above.  At Norris we spent the rest of the morning exploring both the Upper Basin and Porcelain Basin with their hot springs, geysers, mudpots and even some wildflowers, notably some Pinesap. 

Always fascinating to me are the colors of Yellowstone.  The hot pools are different colors and so are the run-offs and steam vents.  The yellow is sulfur but the other colors are algae which grow in the hot water, each color preferring a different temperature.


From Norris we headed further north making several stops along the way, at one of which I photographed a Dragonfly, still unidentified and more orchids, once again the Tall White Northern Bog Orchis.  This seemed to be everywhere in the park and was one of the few orchids we found.

At the north end of the park we visited Mammoth Hot Springs and the terraces there.  There has not been much activity there for years and so most of the terraces have gone white.  Only where there is hot water are the terraces colored orange and brown and yellow and green.

At the Upper Terraces there was more activity, especially at Orange Mound and it was near the Upper Terraces that my wife saw and photographed a brown bear in the woods.  There were cubs up in a tree but it was impossible to get pictures without leaving the safely of the car.

From Mammoth we wandered back south, stopping to photograph White Dome Geyser which was erupting, some elk and, of course, Old Faithful Geyser, which very nicely erupted for us just as we walked up to the viewing area.

Along the way to Old Faithful we stopped to photograph some Estes Rein Orchids, a natural hybrid of the white-flowered species shown above and a the green-flowered Slender Bog Orchis.  We did not stay long at any place, however, since the park was very busy and the weather was changing.

From Old Faithful we circled around the south end of the park and had our supper at Yellowstone Lake before proceeding on up the east side of the park to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.  Along the way  we also saw our first bull bison and nice bull elk alongside the road.

The weather was turning and it was starting to rain and we finished the day rather quickly at Artist's Point above the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.  It was very dark on account of the storms moving in and pictures were difficult, but we managed a few before leaving.



  1. As always beautiful pictures. Best regards

    1. Thanks, my friend. Hard not to get good pictures in a place this scenic.

  2. An awesome park and you captured the essence of it very well in this series of shots. Especially like the little bison calf -- so cute =)


    1. Thanks, Fizzie. Have you ever been there?

  3. Wonderful photos!! I'd really enjoy visiting there!! It's so beautiful with absolutely fascinating scenery!

    Sharon (dubonnet)

    1. Thanks, Sharon. It is worthy of a whole week. There is so much to see and it's such a big park that a few days just aren't enough. Our next goal is to visit during the winter.


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