Yellowstone National Park

This page contains a collection of pictures I took on my week-long visit to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, USA during July of 2000. Please note that these are my personal photos and that I am not a professional photographer. In fact, as you will see, I am not even a very good amateur photographer. Most of the pictures were taken without any preparation, while "on the run". What you don't see in the photos is that I am typically taking them from within a group of 25 or more other tourists, all trying to find the best camera angle while avoiding getting our fellow tourists in the picture! You will also notice a rather strange personal effect I have on animals. They always turn their butts toward me. But that's the good part. Animals also seem to like to spray me with bodily fluids! From the elephant at the zoo who spit on me, to the seagulls overhead, I seem to be constantly trying to avoid being splattered. The list is long. Horses have flipped tails full of, well you know, in my face. How about the monkey at the zoo that threw a handful of dung at me? And on and on... So the fact that I have any animal pictures at all is just short of amazing!



Geothermal Features:

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Old Faithful Geyser. The most famous feature of Yellowstone. Unfortunately a storm came up that day leaving a cloudy background that make the geyser hard to see. We arrived just as it was erupting, so this shot is the tail end of the eruption, mostly steam.


Riverside Geyser. This geyser is right on the edge of the Firehole River (great name for a river that bases through several geothermal areas!) and shoots at an angle over it. The geysers in Yellowstone tend to go through more or less active periods. At the time of our visit they were less active, so they were not erupting as forcefully as they sometimes do.


Welcome to Club Bison. This boiling spring makes for a toasty, natural, "buffalo spa". Notice the large bison sitting in the background where the warm steam from the hot spring drifts over him. Ahhhhh.... what a life!


West Thumb Geothermal Area. That's Yellowstone Lake in the background.

Many years ago there was a lodging area at the West Thumb Geyser area, just behind where I took this picture from. But the facilities were harming the geothermal features so it was removed and a new visitor services area was constructed on the edge of the lake a short distance away. This area is called the Grant Village area, and we stayed there several nights. I do not recommend it. It is a very poorly designed facility on a site that has great potential. Too bad. The layout of the buildings is a classic example of what was considered environmentally sensitive in the '70's and early '80's. The various facilities are arranged over a large area of land, with lots of space between them. Lots of space, as in acres. Unfortunately it means you either have to be up to a good long walk (which when we were there meant walking in the rain) or you have to drive everywhere. It's a couple of blocks from the lodging registration office to the lodge buildings. The restaurants are about the same distance, in the opposite direction. One requires hiking down a steep path to the edge of the lake. As if that wasn't bad enough, the walkways and trails are laid out in a totally illogical manner. They wander here and there, often for no good reason. I'm a landscape architect, I appreciate the beauty of a meandering path. But a little of that goes a long way! Absolutely nothing is within walking distance of the lodge rooms.

As if that wasn't enough, there's even more! The dining room advertises a lake view, but the view has been blocked by hundreds of trees planted outside the huge picture windows. Ah yes, one of my colleagues had his brains turned off the day he designed this place! The rooms have terrible ventilation and at least in July, were very hot. Even when it clouded up and started raining the room remained hot. Opening the window resulted in rain coming into the room so the window had to be kept closed. I've stayed in worse, but if your planning a trip to Yellowstone there are better places to stay in the park. Try the Yellowstone Canyon area for a centrally located place to stay. The cabins and lodge buildings are still located far from the other facilities, but at least everything else is centrally located. You have several stores, 3 restaurants, and visitor center, all together.

O.K., I'll get down off my soap box. Most people probably wouldn't be nearly as bugged by all this as I was. I just hate seeing bad design when I know how easy it is to do better.


Fishing Cone Geyser. This geyser is actually a little 8 foot wide island a few feet out in Yellowstone Lake. It is at the West Thumb geothermal area. It seldom erupts, but the water in the geyser is always boiling hot. Back in the old days, fishermen used to fish from the cone. When they caught a fish they would reel it in and swing it over into the mouth of the geyser where it would "cook on the hook". There are many old pictures of guys fishing from the cone, some of them are wearing chef's hats while they fish. The story goes that one guy was fishing from the cone one day when the geyser erupted. He caught a load of boiling water on his rear side. They do not allow fishing in this area anymore...


Scenic Landscape Features:

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Lower Yellowstone Falls.


Natural Bridge.


Petrified Tree. The fence around the tree is to keep people from chipping pieces of petrified wood off of the stump. There used to be 3 stumps here. Now only one remains. Perhaps one of your older relatives visited Yellowstone years ago and bought a piece of petrified wood. If so, they may have part of one of the other stumps!


Speared Tree. You won't find this or the next item in any of the park literature. I'm always looking for weird trees. Someday I'll assemble my weird tree photo collection. This one is in the Grant Village area, along the paved path from Lodge Building "D" to the employee housing area. It consists of two trees in an area that burned in the big Yellowstone fires of 1988. The first tree is forked into two trunks. The 2nd tree fell directly between the forks of the first tree and wedged there. The main part of the 2nd tree's trunk broke off, leaving the top portion of the tree suspended between the forks of the first tree. The resulting appearance is that one tree has been speared by the other.


Hugging trees. These two trees were growing very close together. The branches of one tree have grown around the trunk of the other resulting in the appearance that the trees are hugging each other. It is located in the Grant Village area on the lake side of the trail that goes from the Grant Village Dining Room to the Lake House Restaurant.


Wildlife:

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Bison butting heads. These two bison were having a disagreement. Taken in the Hayden Valley along the Yellowstone River.


Buffalo (Bison) herd. Hayden Valley.


Coyote. Hayden Valley.


Cutthroat Trout. Native to Yellowstone. This is about an 18" trout. Photo taken from Fishing Bridge (fishing is not allowed at fishing bridge!)


Elk. Photo taken near Canyon Village.


What, no bear photos? Well, I do have one, but the bear is so far away you can't really see him. I did see 2 adult bears (one black, one grizzly) and one black bear cub. But the adults were too far away (even for my zoom lens) and the cub was scared off by a loud mouthed kid before I could get my camera out. Both adult bears were spotted in the Roosevelt area of the park. The cub was in the Colter Bay area of Grand Teton National Park.