Monday, September 21, 2009

Yellowstone National Park


Old Faithful Geyser

More than a week since the last blog posting again. Our excuses are we stayed at a full hookup RV Park in West Yellowstone, but went into the park everyday to take pictures, due to road construction closures the already long distance between places in the park were even longer! Since we were both taking hundreds of pictures everyday it has taken us quite a while to prune the number down to something manageable.


Another reason that it has taken so long to write this blog is, how does one begin to describe Yellowstone National Park? Yellowstone National Park? It spans an area of 3,468 square miles and is larger than the state of Delaware. Yellowstone Lake is up to 400 feet deep, spans an area of 136 square miles and is larger than the state of Rhode Island. Yellowstone has more Geothermal features that the rest of the world combined. Two hundred and fifty miles of roads, over one thousands miles of trails. Those are the numbers but as with anything REALLY LARGE you have to experience it to understand how big it is.

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This was our fourth trip to Yellowstone over the past 20+ years and our second trip in the two years we have been fulltime RVers. For many years we had wanted to visit Yellowstone after Labor Day “When the crowds thinned out”, but work got in the way each time we planned the trip. This year we were able to spend the first two weeks of September in Yellowstone. The first thing we learned is that the crowd does not thin out after Labor Day. The park was just as full the week after Labor Day as it had been the week before Labor Day and remained very busy the week after that. As you will see in the blog pictures and the slide shows the weather as been fantastic. The early mornings have dropped into the low 30s, but everyday was at or near the low 70s.

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Because Yellowstone is so big and roads are two lane narrow roads with no more than a 45 MPH speed limit, you can’t get anywhere fast in Yellowstone. Another thing that slows traffic are “Wildlife Jams”. Any wildlife in view will causes a major traffic jam as people stop, some on the side of the road and some in the middle of the road to take pictures. Of course this makes it much easier to find wildlife, because when you see cars stopped up ahead you know to get your camera ready. We were stopped in numerous Eagle jams, Elk jams, Coyote jams and Buffalo jams everyday. At some locations you could count on the same animals being in the same spot everyday and usual all day. Also the connecting road between Madison Junction and Norris Junction was closed while they replace a bridge. This means that the normal 40 miles from West Yellowstone to Yellowstone Falls is now 84 miles one way. The usual 49 miles from West Yellowstone to Mammoth Hot Springs is now 117 miles one way!

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I had written a response to a comment in the Grand Teton blog entry “I think with Nature and Landscape photography 80% of it is just being at the right place at the right time. The lighting changes moment by moment, clouds come and go, shadows move and grow, the wild animals wander around and do whatever they feel like. In any national park you can drive the same roads, walk the same trails day after day and hour after hour and the scene is always different than it was in the past.”. Nowhere is that more true than Yellowstone National Park. Geysers and hot springs change minute by minute. The interaction of the erupting water, steam, prevailing wind and the sunlight changes the scene every second. It is simply amazing to be walking along and to suddenly have geyser start to erupt!

For the first time the blog has multiple slideshows. There are too many slides to embed the slideshows into the blog entry so you will have to click on the title to see each of the slideshows.

Yellowstone 2009 General slideshow

Yellowstone 2009 Geyser Basins slideshow

Yellowstone 2009 Lake area slideshow

Yellowstone 2009 Wildlife slideshow


  1. Hi Kathy and Grant,
    Oh geeezzzz just when I think you've posted the best pictures here you go with great ones again. Some of the firs pictures look like what I'd expect to see in outer space. The colors are amazing. How close were you to the buffalo? Love the commentary I learned a lot. You are right about one thing...Yellowstone how do you write about something this spectacular? Thanks for the pictures,

  2. Ok I just finished the slide two need to go into the Wildlife Photography business..yes like you are going to come out of retirement when you're having all this fun,

  3. You are above and beyond anything National Geographic can do.

  4. Oh, how beautiful!! I have never been to Yellowstone and after viewing your photos and reading your blog, I want to go now more than ever! Thanks for taking me there for just a little bit!


  5. Kathy and Grant,
    Loved your Yellowstone photos. Some of the best photography I have seen and I agree, most of those are worthy of publication. We have had two trips to Yellowstone and it is one of our favorites. Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures.

  6. Very informative post. Yellowstone National Park is famous for wide-ranging natural wonders. Tourists can experience its charm and magnificence. In Yellowstone National Park there are many animals like bison, mooses, elks, grizzly bears and wolves. Experience the sounds of Elk bulls in Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, they will become part of unforgettable memories of your lifetime. Sounds create a most enchanting and commemorating experiences. Book your tickets quickly to enjoy the exotic destination.