Upper Yellowstone Falls
This photo of Upper Falls should rightly have appeared in the previous post, since it was shot on September 20, when we did our quick drive-by of Yellowstone Canyon's Northern Rim; but I forgot to include it in that post. I thought it was too pretty to leave out completely, so here it is today. This was a photo that Doug shot with the camcorder.
The rest of the photos I'm sharing today are from September 21st, and were shot as we traveled between Yellowstone's West Entrance Road and Mammoth Hot Springs.
This hissing mountain of steam is the only thing like it in the park. Roaring Mountain is a barren hillside of thermal features, called fumaroles. It got its name from the loud hissing and roaring that it makes due to thermal activity, which could be heard miles away in the days of its discovery. Nowadays the roaring has quieted a bit but can still be heard if you listen carefully.
We hadn't gone far before we noticed a large number of vehicles pulled off the road, usually a sure sign of an exciting wildlife sighting. It turned out to be a grizzly bear. But it was so far away that it could be seen only through a spotting scope. Fortunately, there were several observers willing to share their scopes. Unfortunately, though, that didn't help me to get a decent photograph.
The bear is faintly visible in this photo, using all the zoom power I had.
I captured this shot from the video that Doug took. I can't crop this one in any closer because the camcorder's 6 megapixels just isn't enough to allow for that level of cropping. But it does show the bear on its feet.
The man whose scope we used had been watching the bear since Monday (it was then Friday), when he had seen it pulling an elk from the river. He didn't see how the elk died, just the bear dragging it from the water. Since then, he said, the bear hadn't strayed more than 20 feet from his prize, alternately feeding and resting.
This area is known as the Golden Gate of Yellowstone.
A roadside scene as we continued on toward Mammoth Hot Springs.
The town of Mammoth is a good place to view elk. Elk have become much more difficult to find in the national park since the reintroduction of wolves almost 20 years ago. Apparently, they feel safe from wolves in town.
This one was resting against the wall of the Mammoth Medical Clinic.
The bull pictured above was resting on a lawn a few blocks away from the first one. He suddenly became agitated, rose to his feet, pawed the ground, dug into the lawn with his antlers, and bugled a challenge to an unseen rival.
I'll have a few more posts coming up from this, our last day in Yellowstone, including more elk, but in a more natural setting.