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  • Yellowstone: Day 1

    Posted on September 13th, 2012 tcorzett No comments

    Today I make my way towards Yellowstone National Park. I woke-up early such that I could make it into the park while the sun was still low in the sky (nice light for photos). After a quick breakfast I packed-up the G8 and got on the road.

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    I made good time on the road into the park. The weather was cold (37 degrees) and the sky was clear. Entering Yellowstone I was quickly overwhelmed by all of the landmarks. I tried my best to “make good time”, but I just couldn’t help by pull over and take photos.

    The first major photo opportunity was a lone bison grazing in a field. I first drove by him, but the light was just too good to pass-up. I made a U-turn, parked at a pullout, and dug into my trunk to pull-out my big lens.

    After a short hike down the road I went down into the field and spent some time bonding with the bison. I was standing in a grove of trees, isolated from the road, and really felt at one with nature. I really don’t know how long I spent there, but the clock never entered my mind once.

    Just up the road from the bison I stopped again to check-out the fly fishermen in the Gibbon River.

    Before heading to Yellowstone I had done my best to plan my activities, but it didn’t take long for me to deviate from my itinerary. The first detour was to the Norris Geyser Basin to explore the geothermal activity that the park is famous for.

    Not having planned so many stops for photos, I was “behind schedule” when I reached Old Faithful. Fortunately by the time I parked and walked to the observation area I only needed to wait ~15 minutes before an eruption!

    Most of Yellowstone is without cell reception, which is a nice touch (I didn’t even bring my phone with me most times), but around Old Faithful there was good coverage. I found a shady place to sit and called into my weekly work telecon… sure beats being stuck in a cubicle!

    I had planned on hiking around the Old Faithful Geyser Basin, but after walking around Norris I was a little “geysered out”… so I headed into the visitor center to check things out.

    By the time I was done checking out the gift shop it was again only a few minutes before another eruption of Old Faithful.

    After the second eruption I returned to the G8 and headed-out towards West Thumb and Yellowstone Lake. I passed-up stopping at the geysers at West Thumb and enjoyed the drive alone the shore of the lake. I was feeling a bit hungry so I stopped-off at Fishing Bridge to snack on some granola bars… with quite a view.

    I continued my way North and around Grand Loop Road towards the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Unfortunately by the time I arrived at the Canyons the sun was in the completely wrong place to take “good” photos, but I did the best with what I had.

    At this point my “plan” was completely out the window… and after driving around the Canyons a bit to try and find some good light, I decided to head back towards Mammoth Hot Springs where I’ll be staying the night.

    As I approached Mammoth I noticed a group of cars pulled-off the side of the road with a park ranger. I drove past, but decided to turn around and see what the big deal was… boy am I glad I did that! At the bottom of a little valley was a large gang of elk.

    There was an older Bull corralling a group of cows while a “Spike” (younger male) tried to sneak into the group. Whenever the spike would approach the bull would chase him away… I guess he didn’t want to share his women!

    After getting my share of elk photos, I drove into Mammoth and topped-off my gas tank. I then parked at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and checked into my room.

    The hotel was built in the mid-30’s and staying there is as good as a trip back in time. Having spent countless nights in hotels… being in a room without a bathroom, shower, air conditioning, internet, etc. was a change of pace. I did have three power outlets to charge my gadgets, but there wasn’t even a desk for working on my computer. After a canned ravioli dinner I took a quick shower and headed to bed.

    Tomorrow morning I’m headed out before dawn to the Lamar Valley in search of some more wildlife. I can hardly wait!