West Yellowstone, Montana: We spent nearly ten hours in Yellowstone National Park today. Visiting the park at this time of year means many roads are yet to open and there is a lot of snow, but visitors are rewarded with active wildlife and a lot of new babies!

Baby Bison

Staying close to Mother

We found large herds of bison in several locations today

Bison Summer Camp?

We drove the Grand Loop in the clock-wise direction. Between Madison and Norris, we saw a female coyote with four pups and then heard her mate across the road. The male was so large, we thought at first he was a wolf! We see coyotes every week at home in Oregon, but our neighborhood version look like weenies compared to these Yellowstone monsters.

Female coyote – she had four pups

The male, watching for the female

They started calling to each other!

The male

The canines were eventually reunited, and all was well with the natural world.

We stopped at all the waterfalls and basically any turnout or view-point that was open. More photos:

Magnificent Upper Falls on the Yellowstone River. This gorge – carved into rhyolitic lava flows –
 is 1000 feet deep, up to 4000 feet across and 20 miles long.

Beautiful marshy meadow

Continuing on our route, we noticed a large amount of cars parked on a bluff. The gathered tourists were all watching a small adult Grizzly Bear dine on voles/mice/rodents in the shrubs. Again, apologizes for blurry photos. A girl just doesn’t want to get too close to a bear. I stayed near the car, and a few of these photos were snapped by My Driver with his 300mm lens:

Note to self: get a braver husband buy a bigger lens.

We found a nice turn-out on the shore of Yellowstone Lake to enjoy our picnic lunch. Dave brought folding chairs from the back of the Honda, and we dined on sandwiches (better than voles/mice/rodents?) while enjoying this absolutely amazing view of the still-frozen lake, across to the Absaroka Range.

Even better? With all the snow in the park, temperatures were in the high 60’s! We didn’t need a jacket all day.

What visit to Yellowstone is complete without watching Old Faithful erupt?

Old Faithful visitor area (sans a zillion tourists)

I don’t think Old Faithful is as faithful as she was previously, and when she erupted today, Old Faithful merely “burped” – it was one of smallest splays I can recall in the dozen or so I have witnessed.

Still, a thing of wonderment and beauty – even when witnessing the miracle with hundreds of strangers. By the way, if you want to visit China, I would advise you go now. Everyone single person from China is in Yellowstone this week.

Blue Star Spring – near Old Faithful

Bubbling pool near Old Faithful

A certain little fellow we know in Los Angeles may have scored several new items for his little plastic critter collection:

Goodness, we just can’t wait until we can bring Leo to Yellowstone! 

Until my next update, I remain, your grizzly correspondent.

RV PARK: Yellowstone Grizzly RV Park – We have a super-long gravel pull-through site with full hook-ups and 50 amp electric service. Cable TV, free wifi, bath house, laundry, dump station, recycling, walk to town. We are paying $45 per night with our Good Sam discount.

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