Thursday, December 05, 2013

Yellowstone: West Entrance to Mammoth

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.

Roaring Mountain

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.

Here, I've cropped the first image to give a better view of the bear.

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.


  1. Impressive series of photos! That Grizzly is something else. Several years ago, husby and I drove up through Yellowstone from Utah. We saw a lot of Elk lounging around at Mammoth Hot Springs. It was September and the rut was on.

    1. The rut was on when we were there, too; although I don't think it was in full swing. You can see that the antlers of the elk in front of the medical clinic are honed to some pretty sharp-looking points.

  2. The first photo is beautiful, Linda!

  3. Beautifully captured all the photos :)

  4. can you hear those waters now? i can. so awesome!! such power. ( :

  5. Wow, I like the bear staying with its meal

  6. I really like the Upper Yellowstone Falls photo, I wouldn't have left it out, either.
    The elk at the medical clinic makes me smile. I really can't see reintroducing wolves in our parks even though they tried it here in the Smokies. The balance in nature is not the same today as it was 200 years ago (you'd think our park officials would know that) with all the hunters that are only too happy to help control the bear population not to mention the danger to humans. Reintroducing the Red Wolf failed here. The wolves themselves either died or left to find food elsewhere. o.O

  7. the elk meandering through town might be a bit dangerous during the rut! loved the bear feeding on the carcass. how cool to see (but i can't imagine watching him for 5 days straight!)

    SO glad you included that top photo. as it loaded, i said 'wow!'

  8. Thanks for the memories. We didn't see a grizzly bear while we were in Yellowstone, but the elk in town were putting on quite a display while we were there.

  9. Amazing, just amazingly beautiful country !
    To even capture that bear at all in the lens was a treat ... great job !

  10. That bull's antlers are incredible. When we were in Jackson Hole we purchased an antler chandelier for our dining room. I'd always liked them but since I mistakenly thought animals were killed to make them I resisted buying one. Then I learned the animals shed these so I felt comfortable buying one.

  11. The close photos of the Elk more than make up for the far away Grizzly.Those Elk are magnificent creatures.

  12. I'm so glad you included the upper falls photo - wonderful!! Looks so powerful. We saw elk in Oregon, but not the males, so this is a treat. Interesting that they meander around town. Again, a beautiful set from your trip; I have really enjoyed seeing what you saw. :)

  13. What an absolutely stunning and exciting place, Linda. I would have been so thrilled to see the bear with its catch and the wonderful elk in town. Just amazing. Such gorgeous scenery also. You visit the most incredible places.

  14. Beautiful. And I'm loving the animals too. I hope to be able to visit someday.

  15. Hi Linda! Fabulous shot of the bear! I know it must be frustrating to not get a 'close-up' but I found it fascinating. I could see the elk just next to him. Who gets to see stuff like this? What a blessing!

    I have never heard of a hissing mountain before. Sounds so crazy, doesn't it? Well, no crazier than the random elk at the medical clinic! LOL! You have had some adventures, my sister :)
    Happy Friday!

  16. Linda, what a great series of photos! I love that elk!!! How amazing is that to find one resting in front of a medical clinic! Thank you so much for sharing this glorious tour!

  17. I hope you managed to save some camcorder footage this time around for the web (I know you make a DVD), or did you discard the material after creating the DVD? Great shots nonetheless!

  18. Oi, kuinka kauniita kuvia. Hyvää joulua teille :)


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