Wildlife and landscapes at Yellowstone Park

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My family travelled to Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks - this is what we did and what we enjoyed (and didn't!).

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Today was a day of awesome sights of two kinds - wolves in Yellowstone and the dramatic scenery of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. It was an early start and the family were a little reluctant to leave their beds after a late evening and a cold night but after an early morning call at 7am we were just about ready when Jon Berens, our guide for the day arrived at our campground to collect us. We piled into the Ford Suburban and after collecting some drinking water at the Canyon Garage we were on our way. I had set out on the holiday with the idea of seeing bears and wolves and we'd got a great view of a bear in Glacier National Park so wolves were top of our list.

Bison in Yellowstone Just a few miles out of the Canyon area we started to see wildlife. A bison bull, slowly making his way along the road. The a bison traffic jam with a pair of rutting bison and about 10 others crossing and then re-crossing the road. Others may be unhappy about a traffic jam but this is exactly what I imaged Yellowstone to be like and we were happy to be up close with the bison! (Apparently bison and buffalo are used interchangeably although technically speaking these were bison). We then came to a likely spot, there were a few people looking at the hills on the left and Jon set up the scopes. A lady with her own scopes let us know that a wolf had been sighted but had gone into the trees. We watched patiently and while the wolf made a brief appearance we didn't get a good look.

A bear was also spotted but it's appearance was brief. Back in the car and we continued along the road until we came across a line of cars and people with cameras, binoculars and scopes all looking towards the trees on the right of the road and Jon pulled over explaining that a great way to know if their are animals to see is to look for the people. The more sophisticated the equipment, the more likely it was that there was something of interest to see! He was totally right. Suddenly we saw, just a 150 metres or more a dark shape. It moved an stopped. Then moved again. Through the binoculars we saw it was a wolf! In Jon's scopes it was very clear and Kate managed to get a good (if slightly blurry at the distance) picture of it. It was magnificent.

We then made our way to the Grand Canyon. Jon made us look the other way until we were right at the viewing point to accentuate the experience (and he said to see our reaction!). When we were eventually able to look we could see exactly why he'd done it. I am not quite sure how to describe the sight - it really was breathtaking.

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone To try and fully describe the scene would be as foolish as thinking I could capture it accurately in a photo. However the photo gives you some idea. My impressions were of an almost unreal bottomless waterfall, cascading down into a mist below. On either side, giant walls of yellow, red and white rocks rose steeply an the river itself swirled this way and that in fast flowing rapids below our position. The place we were standing is known as Artist Point and you can see exactly why. Any artist would kill for such a view.

We continued our journey north, taking lunch in a pretty spot by a creek just south of Cooke City. We continued our search for wildlife for the rest of the afternoon including a short but steep walk to Trout lake. All the while Jon continued a never ending explanation of all manner of items about the park from how the landscape was formed to information about the animals and birds that live here. If only I could remember it all. Finally we returned to our campground around 4.30 and Jon spent some time with us and our map of Yellowstone, describing the best places to go for the rest of our stay. It was a fantastic day and Jon is a great guide. We would certainly recommend him to anyone.