Uprooted Magnolia

Yellowstone: Sheepeater Cliff

Posted in Nature, Photography, Wildlife by leahyetter on June 23, 2016

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.

©Leah Yetter Photographer

Then we saw them.

©Leah Yetter Photographer

Baby Marmots!

©Leah Yetter Photographer

And Mother Marmot.

©Leah Yetter Photographer

These brothers were wrestling and flashing their sharp teeth.

©Leah Yetter Photographer

Marmots are large squirrels and typically live in burrows within rock piles.

©Leah Yetter Photographer

I’ve also heard them be referred to as rock chucks.

©Leah Yetter Photographer

They were rolling around like kittens! It was hilarious!

©Leah Yetter Photographer

©Leah Yetter Photographer

They mostly feed on plants and insects.

©Leah Yetter Photographer

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. 🙂


 

Yellowstone: Living Landscapes

Posted in Nature, Photography, Travel by leahyetter on June 13, 2016

We stayed in Gardiner Montana, just near the  north entrance of the park. Located about 5 miles from the entrance is the Mammoth Hot Springs, our first stop in Yellowstone.

©Leah Yetter Photographer

Mammoth Hot Springs is a large complex of hot springs on a hill of travertine, a form of limestone deposited by mineral springs.

©Leah Yetter Photographer

“It was created over thousands of years as hot water from the spring cooled and deposited calcium carbonate (over two tons flow into Mammoth each day in a solution). Because of the huge amount of geothermal vents, travertine flourishes. Although these springs lie outside the caldera boundary, their energy has been attributed to the same magmatic system that fuels other Yellowstone geothermal areas”- Thank you, Wikipedia

©Leah Yetter Photographer

It was a cool morning but the steam coming from the springs warmed us right up.

©Leah Yetter Photographer

©Leah Yetter Photographer

Detail shots of mineral build up.

©Leah Yetter Photographer

©Leah Yetter Photographer

©Leah Yetter Photographer

©Leah Yetter Photographer

It’s quite a hike touring these hot springs and fortunately there is a boardwalk to steer us in the right direction.
Just look at those two.

©Leah Yetter Photographer

We sat for a bit to take it all in then took to the road to make our way to Old Faithful, one of the most predictable geographical features on earth. It erupts every 35 to 120 minutes. Our plan was to have lunch at the Old Faithful Lodge and sit out and watch this geyser shoot boiling water up to 185 ft in the air .

©Leah Yetter Photographer

But it’s so hard not to stop at every turnout to admire the great scenery.

©Leah Yetter Photographer

Here, we stopped at Roaring Mountain. Roaring Mountain is full of microscopic organisms wearing away at the mountain amid the sulfur rich gases. It is inhospitable to humans but is the perfect home for heat-loving microbes.

©Leah Yetter Photographer

We loaded back into the van and headed south. We came upon a long line of cars about 10 miles or so from the Old Faithful Historic District. We sat for a while and waited. And waited. You expect long lines and a lot of traffic through the park but we felt something bigger was going on. Plus, at the time of year that we were there, the crowds hadn’t made it to the park yet. Surprisingly so far, the crowds were not that big. So we flagged down a driver coming the other direction and in her thick and kind British accent, she told us that a large herd of Bison had parked themselves in the road and weren’t going anywhere, anytime soon. So, we turned around and made a different plan. We found lunch and happened upon some wildlife along the way and finished out the day admiring the gorgeous landscapes. More on that tomorrow. 🙂


 

Journey to Yellowstone

Posted in Local, Nature, Photography, Thankful, Travel, Wildlife by leahyetter on June 10, 2016

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.

©Leah Yetter Photographer

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.

©Leah Yetter Photographer

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We had to stop for this gorgeous view of Beartooth Mountain as we weaved in and out of Montana and Wyoming on Beartooth Highway.

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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!

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Pronghorn and Bison graze on the flats together.

©Leah Yetter Photographer

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

🙂