Yellowstone National Park is the nation’s first national park. It was designated by Congress in 1872 to protect the natural resources, but since the area was still a territory they made it a national park. Yosemite was created before Yellowstone, but it was created as a state part since it was in California and it was a state at the time. Half of the world’s geothermal features are in Yellowstone. It also is one of the most ecologically balanced wildlife areas since the reintroduction of wolves. It is a photographer’s dream to come to Yellowstone in the winter and so far we can see why. We flew into Bozeman, Montana (on a prop plane no less) and our first stop was in the northern part of Yellowstone. We are staying at the Mammoth Springs Hotel. We took a quick walk to the springs when we got here (1st picture) which look quite different when part of them are frozen. There were also some elk hanging out eating dinner, so Leslie got her first animal sighting early. The next day we took a snow coach (6th picture) to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. The weather was very nice. They are having a warmer than usual January (it was in the 20s) which is fine with us. Hopefully that will continue. The landscape and the canyon are absolutely breathtaking in the snow. It was not even a wildlife tour (which we are going on later), but we got to see lots of wildlife after we left the canyon and we to Hayden Valley. We got to see the bison doing their normal winter behavior, using their heads like a bulldozer to clear away the snow so they can get to the grass. They come up with a snowy face which is really cute. The bison we expected to see, we were very happy to get to see a bald eagle and a beaver. We also got to see trumpeter swans which are the largest waterfowl in North America (they weigh up to 30 pounds and have a wing span of 7 – 8 feet). We saw wolf prints, but no wolves. Hopefully when we got into Lamar Valley we will see some.
January 16th & 17th, 2015 – Yellowstone National Park – WY