July 28 - 29, 2014 Yellowstone National Park

Monday, 28th, our journey took us into Yellowstone National Park.  From our campground, it is 22 miles to the East Entrance of the Park and then another 27 miles to the first village.

Once we entered the gate, the road started to ascend and then hugged the mountain side:

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We did stops along the way and all the mountain wildflowers were in bloom:

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The road took us thru Sylvan Pass:

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This is the only park road that crosses the Absaroka Mountain Range, an immense chain of volcanoes 50 million years old, much more ancient than the Yellowstone Plateau.  Buffalo Bill Cody was instrumental in getting this road and entrance from the park to Cody.

We passed Sylvan Lake:

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And made our way down the mountain to Yellowstone Lake.

Yellowstone Lake is the largest high altitude lake in North America – 7733 feet.  It measures 20 by 14 miles, 339 feet deep with 110 miles of shoreline.

Notice the trees – this is one of the areas where fire has happened:

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This is from one of the overlooks – the road makes it way along the lake:

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Flowers everywhere!

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We saw evidence of fire in many of the places on the west side of Sylvan Pass as you can see on the above pictures. 

We made our way down to the lake shore where the water was cold – Brrrr.

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On one of the overlooks, we met this fellow:

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Two videos of these huge birds:



On that same overlook, we saw fumaroles, or steam vents.  These fumaroles form when temperatures are so high that all the moisture escapes the ground as steam rather than water.

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From the lake, we stopped at Pelican Creek Valley area:

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We did not see any grizzlies but we did see trumpeter swans and pelicans.

Trumpeter Swans are one of the world’s rare birds.  In Yellowstone, they are commonplace.  They are located here, in Alaska, and in Red Rock Lakes.

We stopped at Fishing Village and checked out their RV Park, Visitor Center, and Museum and then headed north to Hayden Valley.

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The valley is 9 miles long and 6 miles wide and the year round home to over 1000 bison.  It is also where there are many traffic jams.  Today was no exception.

This guy was HUGE:

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At the turn of the century, America’s wild bison – which at one time numbered 60 million- had dwindled to about two dozen animals.  The bison in Yellowstone today are descendants of those survivors and there is over 4000 of them in the park.

Yes, they make themselves at home:

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Check out this bison in the video – wasn’t sure if he was going to run into me or ???


They are so majestic!

Hayden Valley and one of the herds of American Bison:

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Traffic Jam:

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Male bison can weigh up to 2000 pounds:

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Notice the babies.  There was so many young in this herd.  The babies are born a vey light brown.  They will be dark by the time winter is here:

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Another view of the valley:

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Our next stop was the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.  We stopped at the Lower Falls Overlook first. 

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The Lower Falls:

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I loved the color contrasts:

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A video of the Lower Falls:


The Yellowstone River flows north from Yellowstone Lake.  It decreases in altitude creating the Yellowstone Falls.  The Upper Falls plunges 109’ and the Lower Falls plunges 308’.

Our next stop was the top of the Upper Falls – the water was roaring:

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From there we went to the Canyon Village area and found a nice picnic table to have lunch.  Afterwards we walked thru the Visitor Center, Museum, Store and saw both movies on Yellowstone.

There are a number of museums in Yellowstone and each has a theme.  The Canyon Museum was all about the Yellowstone Volcano and Caldera.

Some interesting facts:

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They continue to research the area.  In the fall of 2013, researchers announced that the Yellowstone Hot Spot is 2.5 times bigger than they previously thought.  It doesn’t mean that the magma chamber is growing or that an eruption is imminent, it just means that newer equipment, newer research, and more studies are giving us better data.

They also discovered last year, that the park is releasing much more helium that they originally thought – to the tune of hundreds of times more.  WOW!

After the museum, we decided to head back.  It was almost 3 PM and we were about 70 miles from home.

We went back thru Hayden Valley:

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Mating time will be soon – late summer, early fall – and this scene will be replayed over and over:

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This bison decided to lead the cars up the road:

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Past the lake, where the clouds were getting dark – oh, oh:

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And our last big surprise of the day – isn’t she cute Smile:

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It was a WONDERFUL but LONG day!

I love Yellowstone but have yet to stay in the park.  This time of year, it is so crowded.  Some of the places we want to see, there were so many cars and no places to park – Yikees!!!

So some year, I will make reservations at each of the campgrounds over a summer – Smile! 


Tuesday, 29th, we woke to clouds and rain and just hung out.  We have decided to move to West Yellowstone tomorrow.  We would love to be here the full 16 days but will probably need a dump station before them.  The closet one is 20 miles east at Buffalo Bill State Park or 50 miles west in Yellowstone.  We could make it a few more days but that would put us into the weekend and we try not to move during a weekend (if possible).  We hope to stay at one of the forest service campgrounds on the west side of Yellowstone so we can stay in the forest a little longer.

To get there, we will be going thru Yellowstone, so stay tuned for more pictures and enjoy today.


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