Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wolves and Bears

Sunday, 3 February 2013. Spent the late morning at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone, Montana. It's considered a wildlife Park. A good place to see healthy animals, although they've lost their feral quality, since the see humans walking around and pointing things (cameras) at them everyday. They pretty much ignore this and enjoy their resort-like setting. I pointed my camera--and enjoyed myself, too.

WOLVES= = = = =

This stance is typical wolf.

GRIZZLIES= = = = =

The three yearlings played hard for more than 40 minutes.
This one had fun with the tree branch.
Nothing like a good shake to get off the snow.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Yellowstone - 3

Yellowstone National Park is a geological phenomena and the waterways are pretty neat, too.
Taken from snow coach window.

I didn't get to some of the big geysers, but the Yellowstone River provides interesting winter views. The river isn't affected by any geothermal systems, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is filled with snow and ice. The strong flow of the river keeps the waterfalls with a narrow gush of water.

Looking into the river.
Upper falls of the Yellowstone
Walkway at lower falls
Ice is many feet thick and actually shrouding the moving water.
I see a face here. Really like the colors.

The lower falls barely show the incredible force and height that is so spectacular in the summer.

The river bottom is snow clogged by decants of feet of snow/ice.
The forceful water channels a small route through.
The Canyon in its snow glory.
Hoping to get back to YNP this winter. Lodging is booked solid, but I'm aiming to drive in at the North entrance, where personal cars are allowed. Mammoth Hot Springs is there. That's a great sight in the winter.

More YNP images: Norris Geyser Basin
Snow and Bison

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Yellowstone - 2

Many thousand visitors go to Yellowstone National Park every winter. My friends and I traveled in a snow coach with other tourists.
That's what you call traction!
Snowmobiles can also be hired in West Yellowstone. Many of them were out on Saturday.
At the Canyon Visitor Center...
we saw LOTS of them.
Plenty of snow...
It piles up on the building roofs.
These workers were removing it in blocks. This was a mild winter and the first time for doing this. Some other years the process has to be done more than once.
Eagle's nest: Ten feet across, several hundred pounds. Taken from the coach window.
Bison bulls travel alone.
This bull just kept on walking; didn't care about the traffic. It passed so close to the driver's side of the coach that my friend at the left window couldn't get a decent shot. I can imagine the bull thinking: My park, my road. Get out of the way! We did see more than one bison.
Yep. They're bison.
The cow/yearling herds were scattered around. Spotted elk just once, in the far-off distance; needed binoculars to know what they were. But then...Yellowstone isn't an "animal" park. The critters are a bonus. Geological features predominate.

Click here to see my images of Norris Geyser Basin

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Yellowstone 1

A visit to Yellowstone National Park in the winter can be magical. The geological features are what makes the park unique, and in winter they're like a fantasy land.
These images are from Norris Geyser Basin, taken 2 February 2013. I traveled with five other photographers from Helena, and we were in a Snow Coach with seven other people and a very knowledgeable driver/guide. I learned a lot.
I wish I could have spent more time there, but at an altitude of 7300 feet, geysers misting acidic compounds (what was I breathing!?), and more than a mile hike to go around just one section of the basin, I only took the short route (a bit less than 1/2 mile down and back).
Looking into the basin from the museum archway.
Along the trail down.
The trees are covered with hoarfrost from the geysers' mist.
Hot ground melts snow and is fragile.
The narrow trail serpentined 1/8 mile across the basin and extended nearly another 3/4 mile around the lower rim before getting back to the museum.
I didn't go that way, but took the short route uphill back to the museum (which is closed in the winter).
Others took the long trail.
Geysers along my route, too. See the "blow hole"?
Two of my friends also took the shorter route, and also stopped to take pictures. Sometimes in the mist...
Other times, not as much.

A Winter Wonderland, although a bit toxic.