I hadn’t planned on writing again about my visit up to Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Teton National Park but I was inspired by the company, Cotopaxi, to share a little bit of my Park Pride. And since it’s still chilly and I’m in the thick of calving, it’s nice to revisit a warmer time!
Cotopaxi is a company focused on spreading positive vibes and encouraging people to live actively and get outside. They’re also a benefits corporation focused on giving back. A percentage of every sale goes to various organizations that support global health initiatives, and their hiking backpacks help provide the most aid.
Now, the actual date of the 100th Anniversary of National Parks was August 25, 2016 but hey, we can continue the celebration, can’t we? I think so. In fact, last month, Yellowstone marked it’s 145th anniversary.
We went Yellowstone in late May last year which was a great time to see the newborn Bison calves.
We hiked on paths around the Geysers and they were breathtaking. Not just because of their beauty, but because they wreaked of sulfur!
The wildlife is certainly wild, but also quite cute.
And of course, there is always Old Faithful. Incredible to experience.
I was thrilled with Yellowstone but I think my favorite part of the trip was The Grand Tetons.
The word majestic doesn’t even do them justice. And neither do photographs. You must go and visit them for yourself.
Where the antelope run through tall sagebrush,
where the water of Schwabacher’s Landing reflects the peaks,
…and where wildflowers line many hiking paths.
The Grand Tetons stole my heart. If you want a refresher on our adventures in Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, go ahead re-visit my posts. (start here for Yellowstone and and here for Tetons) Who knows, maybe they will inspire you to hit the road and visit a National Park this year! 🙂
I do want to mention that I am a cheerleader for State Parks as well. When you are on the road, headed for a National Park, instead of RV’ing or camping at a side of the road camping facility, park your RV or camp in a tent at a state park instead. It can at times be less expensive and most always be more enjoyable. I traveled Wyoming in 2014 for a project with the State and 9 times out of 10, folks were headed to Yellowstone. And all of those families had planned their route to Yellowstone by locating and staying at State Parks along the way. They said they wouldn’t do it any other way. I have to agree!
Cheers and happy exploring!
Please not that this post was inspired by Cotopaxi. This is not a paid advertisement for the National Parks Services or for Cotopaxi. Opinions and photos are strictly my own. I’m just sharing my #parkpride. 🙂
We made a wrong turn and when we realized we had done so, we came upon Sheepeater Cliff and decided to stop and get our bearings.
Sheepeater Cliff was named for the Shoshone Indians who lived throughout this region. Their use of bighorn sheep earned them this name. The cliff is lava that cooled nearly 500,000 years ago.
When we pulled up, we saw a lot of folks admiring this pile of dried lava and wondered what the heck they were looking at.
Then we saw them.
And Mother Marmot.
These brothers were wrestling and flashing their sharp teeth.
Marmots are large squirrels and typically live in burrows within rock piles.
I’ve also heard them be referred to as rock chucks.
They were rolling around like kittens! It was hilarious!
They mostly feed on plants and insects.
Little sister wasn’t having any of it. She was just crawling around the rocks looking cute and eating plants.
Needless to say, we were glad we made a wrong turn because we sure did get a good chuckle. 🙂
Thank you for your kind comments yesterday. I always enjoy hearing from you guys. While I was typing replies and looking over the shots from yesterday, I realized that some of them just didn’t have anything to help with scale. I mean, I’m sure you get it that it’s a large hot spring because the name is Mammoth Hot Springs, but my close-ups and detail shots may not have really shown that.
So in this image above, on the left and beyond the trees, you can see the boardwalk and people. Not only is it huge, it’s high. It was definitely a climb.
Pretty darn impressive.
As I said yesterday, since we didn’t make it to Old Faithful, we sought out landscapes and wildlife in other areas of the park.
One creature that isn’t shy in the daylight or at any time of day in fact is the Raven. They are HUGE! Much larger than the crow that we have at home.
Not only is the size difference a way to determine a raven from a crow, the fluffy feathers around the head and neck is a feature of the raven.
Tower Fall. One of the several waterfalls we visited along the way.
I rolled the window down to get this rumble between two bull bison. The drama didn’t last long.
This coyote casually ran past the bison fight and trotted along with a mission. Not sure where he was going but I thought since he was close, I’d keep the window down for a quick portrait.
We drove for a bit and saw cars pulled off and people out with their cameras just snapping away. Three bull elk were grazing. The one farthest away is a young bull. The two older ones would stomp and chase him away but he’d always come back to graze with them. It’s typical behavior between the young and old. Competition at it’s finest.
I’d like to say that we stayed in the car to get our shots of these guys but we didn’t. We stepped out to get a closer look and we became the average tourist taking a risk to get “the shot”. It’s not a smart thing to do. This is not Disney or a petting zoo. These are wild animals and at anytime, they could look up and see that they are surrounded by a threatening presence of humans. And out of that fear of threat, they could injure any one of us. All I can say is that they are more than likely used to humans ogling at them but if anything were to spook them, we’d be in danger.
Fortunately on this day, these guys were pretty docile and were mostly interested in grazing the bright green grass. I shot this with a telephoto once back in the van. Must be nice to have an impressive rack to scratch that itch.
I’ve been travelin’.
My dad and stepmom came out a couple of weeks ago and we hung out around here for a couples days. Then we packed up their minivan and the three of us took off for an adventure in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks that we will never forget.
What a drive, let me tellya. Dad drove through wind, rain, hail, sleet, and heavy fog. It was wild and I was so relieved to be the passenger.
We had to stop for this gorgeous view of Beartooth Mountain as we weaved in and out of Montana and Wyoming on Beartooth Highway.
We made it into the park by mid-evening and the light was beautiful. Right off the bat we saw Bison. What a great time of year because Bison calves were everywhere!
Pronghorn and Bison graze on the flats together.
When you visit Yellowstone, there is a lot of driving. I’m not kidding. It’s a HUGE park. So we had to get organized as to how we were going to tackle this place. We had a Geyser day, a wildlife day, a waterfall day, etc. They all kind of melded together and didn’t always go according to plan. In fact, the day we were headed to Old Faithful, the road was completely blocked by a herd of Bison so we had to turn around and change our plans. We were in a line of cars 10 miles long and didn’t even see the herd but it is obviously not an uncommon event (see above). This isn’t Disneyland. This is Bison, Bear, Pronghorn, Wolf, Elk, Deer; basically all God’s Creatures’ land. We did make it to Old Faithful the next day.
I’ll share more images from this trip throughout the next few days. It was a fantastic time and a wonderful trip to share with my Dad, also a photographer. I am so thankful to my stepmom, Debbie, for making this happen. She is a heck of a trip designer and orchestrated a spectacular adventure for the three of us. They just started their travel blog and you can visit it by clicking here: Travels with Skip & Debbie
Photography is not as easy as it may look or seem. At least for me it isn’t. I can spend hours on location trying to get an image to complete my day and to share with you. Hours I tellya! But I love every minute of those hours and I get very excited when I think I’ve captured an image to wow us or move us in some way. Like THIS SHOT. I am thrilled that I was able to get him in focus for a couple of clicks because a lot of my attempts looked like the image you see above. He was so far back in the willows and my lens only wanted to focus on the closest limbs. It took time, concentration and a steady hand to finally get him sharp. Believe me, I was out of breath when I finally did. I like this shot anyway. It’s a good reminder for me to take a breath, recompose and try again.
Happy shooting everyone!
I’m not a big water sports kind of gal so it was a pleasant surprise to learn that there was more to Glendo State Park than a big lake with boats. I took a wander to the wetlands and watched the pelicans go fishing. I also watched an egret grab a fish in his talons but he was so fast I couldn’t catch it in time with the camera. You’ll just have to trust me. 🙂
Guernsey State Park is a beauty. Along with a large body water for sporting, there are ample opportunities for hiking, biking, rock climbing, and my favorite- wildlife spotting. I saw twin mule deer fawns hiding in the brush and they, of course, were precious. These little ones are growing fast but haven’t lost their fuzz or spots yet. Her mature eyes are mesmerizing… and those ears!! 🙂
We took the cows to the hills for summer grazing.
I think they’ll enjoy it. The grass is up to their bellies.
While leaving, we found ourselves in a horse race.
As we slowed down to let the horses “win”, Patrick spotted a baby antelope in the tall grass.
He crouched, trying to hide from me.
But no such luck. I had my eye on him.
We drove on and when I looked back, I saw momma coming to care for her young.
Aside from the mosquitoes, this is a wonderful time of year in Wyoming. 🙂
While Patrick was getting some cows out of a canyon, this fella peeked out to see what all the fuss was about. He quickly ran off and hid but his buddy came in a little closer.
They were both pretty far away and it was getting dark. I was glad to capture a portrait of each these guys before Patrick came back and spooked them off.
The rut is a time period, usually during late fall, when deer, elk, and other species from the deer family breed. The buck will chase after many does for weeks, with barely eating. The buck has one thing on his mind at this time of the year, and that is to find as many does as he can. The rut can take its toll on these guys; they are definitely worn out by the end of the breeding season.
We interrupted a handsome, thick necked mule deer buck courting a doe. Her yearling and a few more young bucks were hanging around peeking over the rocks at us too. We quickly moved on after a couple of portraits.
He is definitely rutting. Just check out that neck. Hope he takes good care of himself. He’s a handsome fella.
One more bird of prey from this past snowy weekend.
When it is overcast with no cloud detail or blue peeking through, we call that a bald sky.
A bald eagle took off just as the sky opened up to pour down another inch of snow.
It’s amazing what you’ll find off I-25.
A Bison ranch right off the frontage road has a large herd of Buffalo and their calves. This girl was having a blast rolling around in the dirt.
She’s glad it’s Friday.
And so am I.
You all are so good to me and I enjoy each and every one of your comments. Thank you for your encouragement and inspiration. You guys knock me off my feet! Have a great holiday weekend my friends.
An evening drive yesterday went from sunshine and warmth to blowing snow to overcast to sunny, all in one climb. When we reached the top of this hill, we saw young rams grazing and then they went over to climb the next hill.
We made our way down toward the river and we saw a large group of mule deer running up the hillside.
“My, what big ears you have!”
Happy first day of Spring my friends!
This family is my most recent client for a Christmas card portrait. Mom and Dad were great and looked at the camera the entire time. The two young ones finally looked at me on the last shot but the teenager at the far left just wouldn’t cooperate at all. There is always one in the bunch!
Hope you are having a wonderful holiday season. Many HUGS from us here at Uprooted Magnolia. Thank you again for being loyal viewers of our little blog. ♥
We drove up into the hills to put out salt and mineral for the cows when Patrick spotted movement about a mile away with his hyper-vision. It was a herd of Bull Elk fighting on a flat.
Just look at this guy in the top right. He would circle the herd, run toward the hill and then turn back around to charge one of the others.
He’d go at it with one…
…and turn around to fight another.
I’m sure glad these guys made it through hunting season. Such an awesome sight to see in our backyard.
Did you see the hunters moon this week? It was so beautiful. It is the first full moon after the harvest moon and is named this because it is ideal light for the hunter to hunt and stockpile food for the winter.
I love fall but I dislike hunting season. It opens tomorrow. All year, I get watch these young bucks grow up and graze our meadows only to have them shot and then hung on the wall as a trophy. I knew coming into the ranching lifestyle that hunting was part of it, but that doesn’t mean I like it.
So I whispered to these guys yesterday during my hike,
“Run, hide yourselves. You will be hunted soon”. Obviously they didn’t get it because I saw them this morning in their usual spot.
But hopefully they will hunker down in some tall grass and stay quiet until the gunfire ceases.
This girl can only hope. Until then, I shall accessorize in orange.
Over & Out,
Whenever we drive highway 34, my face is glued to (or hanging out of) the window looking for big horn sheep. I’ve seen rams in the wild before, but they are always so far away. But at the Game and Fish, a few of them have a cozy home and a lot of land to roam. And I was lucky enough to capture some shots of them on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
I am so fascinated by these creatures. I could stare at them all day long. They were curious and didn’t scatter when I got close to the fence, giving us time to enjoy our little photo shoot.