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My 2021 National Park Road Trip, Park Four: Yellowstone, Two Days

I don't have an over abundance of photos from either day, mainly because we spent most of our time driving from one location to another. Yes, Yellowstone IS massive, and crowded. We got up so early the day before to get to the Tetons, that we sort of slept in on our first real day of Yellowstone, and regretted it as soon as we saw all of the cars lined up for blocks thru town, from every direction, waiting to get in... So instead of stressing out or getting in a bad mood, we got breakfast, did a little shopping, and picked up lunch for later (and I'm glad we did).


As we left one of our stops, I noticed a raven. I couldn't believe how BIG they are... I want to say those are blackbirds to the left of him. Ravens are so beautiful, I wish we had them around my home..

So our goal today was to head north from the west entrance. I wanted to see Roosevelt Arch, and Mammoth Hot Springs. We stopped At the Albright Visitors Center to look around and get our Passport stamps before it got too crowded later in the day. I took a pic of the very first elk I saw, lol..

Then we headed to the arch, and somewhere along the way, I saw some photographers aiming at something, turned out to be an osprey that just caught some lunch. We have osprey in Indiana as well, but this was still a cool photo moment. If you blow up the photo, you can even see all of the spider webs in the tree.

We finally made it to the arch. By this time it was about 12:45 in the afternoon..

Probably not your typical photo from Roosevelt Arch, but I thought the doors were interesting..

As we headed back toward Mammoth Springs, we saw this group, not far form the arch.. I took this from the opposite side of the road, while in my car.

It was about 1pm when we got back to Mammoth, and it was unbearably crowded. Maybe one day, I'll go back as a photographer, instead as a first time visitor.. I really would've liked to get better photos. I just couldn't stand the multitude of people..

We ventured to the Upper Terraces Area, which wasn't as crowded, and I took some pics there. It's crazy how it looks like its another planet...

The shine on the below photo is glistening water running down the formations from the springs..

The following photos are just of some cool formations between Mammoth and the Norris Geyser Basin, which was our next stop..

The black boulders below are obsidian. It was pretty cool to see it naturally, as opposed to in jewelry..

The next photos are Roaring Mountain (it was pretty quiet when we were there, wrong time of day) and a boiling puddle of water near it..

We arrived at Norris a little after 4 pm, and the parking lot was pretty full. It also seemed like pretty long downhill walk on a rail-less boardwalk. I didn't feel comfortable attempting it with my cousin (if you haven't visited my previous trip blogs, she has impaired vision and is legally blind). Which was fine with me. It looked kinda cool, but it was becoming another long day, and I knew we'd be visiting other geyser basins the next day..

Our next stop was Grand Canyon of The Yellowstone.. It was nearing 5:30 pm, not the best time for photos (as a first time visitor, I decided not to add stress by trying to plan photos), but I did my best (along with some editing)..

We just thought this was a cool rock formation along the path to the overlooks. Kinda looks like a rock family sitting there enjoying nature..

Our last stop of the day was going to be Hayden Valley. The reason we planned this route was because our next two nights would be in Cody. So we covered the northern areas and then would cover the southern areas the next day (Also, the road was closed between Mammoth and Canyon Village). Sadly, I think we were a bit late for a decent spot in Hayden. There was an abundance of photographers there waiting for wolves. Apparently, a hunt took place the night before, and word got out. So I slowly drove on.. And as luck would have it, I again noticed people looking off and up a hillside..

It was definitely another right place, right time moment. We were just past the Mud Volcano area, and I saw a picnic area and pulled over and parked.. The next series of photos were what took place.. To be there, in those moments, was simply wonderful. It all took place in a span of about 15 minutes, but it felt so much longer..

The elk were about three tenths of a mile away. All of the pics are at 600mm, a few are heavily cropped..

In the next two photos, you can see there was a bison up there as well, behind the ridge. First photo, far left, second photos, brown hump in center.

And back into the woods they go...

And to think, if I tried to find a spot to wait over in Hayden Valley, I would've miss this..


One more day in Yellowstone. This time we entered the park thru the east entrance, as we stayed in Cody Wyoming. Let me tell you.. If you don't mind driving an hour to get to Yellowstone, the drive from Cody is outstandingly beautiful. If I get to visit again, I'll stay in Cody. Alas, I don't have any photos of the drive, as I was driving, and there isn't much opportunity to pull off to take pics, but trust me, it's worth it. I thought "THIS is what the old west was like!" while making the drive. We left Cody around 7am.. I took the following photo of the sun rising on Sheep Mountain, just past Buffalo Bill Dam..

Not long after entering the park at about 8 am, a car in front of us was stopped.. So we looked, and there was a mama bear and her two cubs. She was closer to the road, but by the time I got to where I could photograph, she was quite away up the hill.. The next few pics are again, heavily cropped, and edited.

The next photo is all thanks to the GyPSy app that I downloaded for this trip. What you're looking at is what's left of the original east entrance road, the CorkScrew Bridge. Here's a link to more about it if you're interested in a bit of history. I think it's pretty cool that it's still there, and that not many people know about it..

Coming into the park from the east, you get to see Yellowstone Lake. It's a very nice lakeside drive. Yellowstone lake covers 136 square miles! We came upon Lake Butte Overlook and decided to stop. It was an amazing view! And just below us, there was a line of trees and I spotted a bird. It was too far away to tell what it was, but I snapped anyway. It was a merlin! How cool! Another heavily cropped photo.. You can see how heavily in the following pics that include the trees..

While driving lakeside, we were able to pull off and walk along the "beach" and I took a few photos of some water fowl.. Maybe Golden Eyes? They weren't happy with us and paddled away.. lol

Our next stop was the West Thumb geyser area, and there was not many people here at all. This area is also next to Yellowstone Lake.. It was nice... I also took some cell phone pics and videos here.. We arrived around 10am..

It's crazy to think these post of boiling water are right next to, and in some cases, in.. the lake.

Another of my "plants growing in impossible places" photos..

The acidity from the water turned the branches and cones white..

More ravens..

Between the West Thumb and Old Faithful areas is Kepler Cascades..

I didn't take any photos at Old Faithful, but I did take a cell phone pic and video..

I had to take a photo of my car in a front parking space at the Old Faithful gift shop/restaurant.. lol

And the star of the show.... Old Faithful. I learned that there are bigger geysers, but Old Faithful is so popular because of her timing..

I didn't think I'd care about it too much, but it was pretty cool to see..

After Old Faithful, we headed to the Midway Geyser Basin area. This is where the Grand Prismatic Spring is, another must see on my list.. We arrived around 3 pm.. First up was the Excelsior Geyser.. It's right next to the Firehole River, and runs off into it.. It was a cooler afternoon, and about 4 pm at this point, so the geysers were steamy..

The steam behind the people is from the Grand Prismatic..

The steam and wind made it difficult to see The Grad Prismatic at ground level, so a trip to the over look was necessary.

The Opal Pool..

The Turquoise Pool..

And the view of The Grand Prismatic from the over look...

Along with everyone else.. and this was OFF SEASON....

Then there was the surprise.. As I was walking down the hill from the over look, a gentleman told me "just so you're aware, a grizzly just crossed the trail ahead." WHAT?! It was 5 pm, and the trail was full of people, bear did NOT care.. This is bear's home..

That was a BIG bear, and a cool sight to see... But I'm glad I wasn't among the people that were closer. Geez..

This photo was shot at 70mm and cropped a little. Sadly, I didn't have my 600mm as I was shooting a wider view from the over look. I don't think I would've been able to switch it fast enough anyway..

A few photos along the trail back to the car..

We then took a drive down Firehole Lake Drive, just to see what was there..

Great Fountain Geyser..

More of that another planet feel..

White Dome Geyser..

And as we were leaving Firehole Lake Drive, a lone bison was grazing in the grasses near the water.. A fitting last photo for my visit to Yellowstone National Park.. We had about a two hour drive back to Cody, and the sun was slowly sinking..

Thanks for reading my blog and checking out my photos, I hope you enjoyed them! The Next blog will be a bit about Cody Wyoming's Old West Town!

Recommended Links:

Yellowstone National Park:

GySPy tour guide app:

** ALL photos on this blog are property of Christi Bushby, copyrighted and protected as such by law.

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