Posted by: bikedave | July 13, 2010

July 8, Yellowstone National Park

Early in the morning we had breakfast in West Yellowstone, MT.  We then drove into the park.  We stopped at the Madison Campground, which was full up, and waited for a few hours in hope of a cancellation or someone leaving early but had no luck.  Instead we made reservations for the Grant Village Campground for Friday through Sunday nights.  We then set off to drive around the Grand Loop Road and see the sights.

The first wild mammal we saw was a coyote.  He was standing near the side of the road showing no fear of people or cars.  There were plenty of people and cars to fear as his wandering into view of the road caused a huge traffic jam.  Cars were stopped half off the road and people jumped out to take photos.  This animals behavior was very different from the coyote which I had seen in Oregon, which ran off into the brush as soon as I came within 75 feet of him.

We would experience the same lack of concern on the animals part when we encountered deer, elk, and bison.  We would also experience the same kind of traffic jams whenever an animal appeared.  Traffic would come to a stop until a ranger arrived to direct traffic.  I’ve never visited a drive through animal park, but I can imagine the experience must be similar.

We stopped in the area of the “Mud Volcano” and saw this big boiling hole filled with muddy water.

Mud Hole

Close up of the boiling mud

There was another hydrothermal feature nearby that we were able to reach by walking on boardwalks.  It was a cave that belched steam.  There was a small pond at the opening to the cave which would have waves on it each time a large puff of steam would be released.

This was called "Dragons Mouth" or something similar

As we were walking back towards the parking lot we saw that a bison had moved very close to the the first boardwalk we had been on near the mud hole, so we went over to take some pictures.

Bison

"this is my better side"

As we continued around the Grand Loop we came upon Yellowstone Lake, the largest lake in the US above 7000 feet.

Yellowstone Lake

We stopped to take pictures of a buck in velvet that was feeding near the road.  He didn’t even look up.


When we came to the west end of the lake, I turned south and drove to Grant Village.  We mainly wanted to see where we would be camping on Friday, but I checked in at the campground and found that a campsite had become available for tonight.  Yahoo!  We went to our campsite and relaxed for the rest of the night.

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