Often pictures speak volumes, so tonight I am mainly going to give you an idea in picture of the last two days. Monday morning we began with an ecology and geology lecture to get an idea and appreciation of the vast territory of Yellowstone National Park. Lee, who retired 5 years ago from the Forestry service, is our instructor. He had always wanted to teach, and is passionate about what he has learned and has a wonderful way to impart knowledge to us. In the afternoon we then snowshoed 5.5 miles out into the park and along the Madison River.
Good exercise, especially at 6,800 feet in elevation. This area of the park suffered fire in 1988 and the Lodge Pole Pines have begun to grow back, but since there is only about 60 days of growth time each year it is a long process. Along the walk we learned more about the trees, and the only sign of wildlife we saw was where elk had fed around some trees.
Today’s experience was something not many people do. There are about 3 million visitors to the park in the summer, and about 160,000 in the winter we learned from our guide, Mike Bryers, from the Aplen Guides when he began our tour in a 1956 Bombardier – “Kitty”. What a vintage way to tour the park.
Originally designed and built in the 1930s for the Canadian Army to move troops in Canada in case of war you will enjoy the complete history on the Yellowstone Alpen Guide website. Mike has spent his entire life in the area guiding folks in many different capacities and adventures and it was interesting to get his perspective on many park issues from a native’s viewpoint. He is also quite an artist, and you may wish to see his website for park related scenes.
Our 95 mile excursion (Rich tracks our routes using GPS) began at the West Entrance to the Park (where we are staying) to Madison and then to the Canyon area within the Caldera Boundary. Remember that Yellowstone is one of the world’s most active geothermal areas and the features of the terrain are the results of early volcanic action and lava flows. Mike pointed out the features formed as a result, some hot springs, steam holes and more. Our furthest point out was the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone along the Yellowstone River, and I tried my second panorama shot there (still need to learn how to use this software), so please for the full effect click on the image below, but do come back.
Besides the vast scenery we were fortunate to see much wildlife and stop and see them in their habitat. Other than wolves, we pretty much saw what you would expect to see, and here are just a few of the shots I took:
Further down the road was this view of a waterfall that I want to share:
I have so many more images, Betty takes wonderful and 100’s of images, Scott has a much longer telephoto lens than I have, and Rich has many toys to get great shots. Eventually we will share to create a top-notch album, but for now, Good Night from Yellowstone Park in Winter.