We spent the past week in Yellowstone National Park. It is one of the places that I have been looking forward to for the whole trip. Combining its breathtaking landscape and all the wildlife including bears, wolves, elk and bison, it is one of my favorite places we have been to.
The first few nights we stayed in a campground by a river. The only campsite that we liked was on a slight hill and we had to extend the front landing gears on the RV almost as far as they would go to make it level. But aside from this (and the flies) it was a nice campground.
After we got settled in we decided to drive up to one of the many visitor centers. Along the way, we saw countless bison in the fields and even on the road. We even saw one of the last animals I was expecting to see on our first day: a grizzly bear. On the way back we also saw a black bear. Here are some of the differences between the two types of bears. Unlike the black bear, the grizzly has a hump on it’s shoulder. The grizzly has smaller ears and its face appears more “dished-in.”
A few hours later, we learned of an area near our campground where people often saw wolves. When we got there we saw a very large crowd. looking through binoculars and telescopes. We met a woman who monitors wildlife activity in the park who let us look through the telescope she set up (which is much stronger than our binoculars). She even took a short video through the lens with Mercy’s Ipod. There were two wolves there from the Lamar Canyon Pack. One was the 06 Alpha Female (called 06 because she was born in 2006). and the other was the brother of the alpha male. The female was chomping on the carcass of a dead elk which we learned was killed the night before. While she was eating, the male appeared to be keeping watch. When I looked at him through the telescope he seemed to be staring right at me. The female, we learned was one of the strongest of the pack and she could have killed the elk by herself! Most of the elk had already been eaten and you could see most of its bones, and some skin.
The next day as we were driving out of the campground to explore more of the park, we saw another black bear. It was noticeably close to our campsite! We had to wait until the bear left before we were able to leave. That same night my mom found a pair of elk antlers near our campsite. During our stay in the park we saw a total of four bears! Three black and one grizzly. and three wolves.
The next day we left the campground and stayed at another one just outside of the park. While we stayed there, we went to watch a geyser called “Old Faithful” erupt. There ware a lot of geysers and hot springs in that area of the park. This is because the park is on a volcano. Almost everywhere in that area I saw signs that said the ground is unsafe to walk on because it could crack and release extreme heat, which is why they had put up wooden walkways instead. Whenever we walked by a hot spring, the steam smelled like spaghetti in a pot of boiling water. One of my favorite hydrothermal features we saw were mud pots. It was basically a pit of boiling mud.
Okay, here is the most frustrating parts of our visit to Yellowstone. On Wednesday we went to see Grand Teton National Park, which is very close to Yellowstone. We were only planning on doing a day trip there so we left the RV at the campground. We arrive at one of the visitor centers, watch the presentation in the amphitheater do everything else we do at visitor centers. We are about to drive somewhere else in the park when the truck won’t start! This was very surprising due to the fact that we had just gotten a new battery. We figured we would just need a jump start but not even that would work. We had to call a towing company and wait five hours for a truck to arrive. We left Daisy in the truck while we all crammed into the cab. It was a good thing we brought the dog because we realized we would need to spend the night. We were able to get a room at Motel 6. The next morning we found out what the problem with the truck was and had to get the starter replaced. Aside from that “slight” inconvenience, Yellowstone was one of my favorite places so far.