Yellowstone for Earth Day 2017

Somewhat early (8:00 am) in the morning we left Pocatello heading North to Yellowstone. Our first photography stop was for the Tetons. They are amazing and all the rain we’ve been having had cleansed the air of every bit of dust.

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We stopped for a bit of shopping at West Yellowstone and probably, for the first time ever, I didn’t spend any money at the jewelry, craft, gift shops. Shocking, I know.

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We entered the park at the west entrance. I was delighted to find out it was a national parks free day because I had left my pass at home.

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Female Mallard

We drove along the Madison river where Trumpeter swans, Canada geese, and Mallards can easily be spotted.

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Trumpeter Swan

Sadly many of the little side roads were still off limits. Next up the Lower Geyser Basin,

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Red Spouter

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The Midway Geyser Basin,

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and Upper Geyser Basin.

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Old Faithful

This route from Pocatello to Old Faithful and back is a day trip for us. We’ve been repeating this trip on opening day for the past few years. Some years there’s lots of snow, others, like this one, not so much. (Why yes, I did learn how to use commas from the James T. Kirk school of grammer.) There are always bison, ravens, swans, geese, and mallards. Most of the time we’ll also see elk, as we did this year.

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Common Raven

The weather was beautiful, sunny, cool, and cold when the wind blew. This meant lots of steam coming off of the geysers.

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Excelsior Geyser

At the Excelsior (Midway Geyser Basin) there was so much steam/mist/fog that we had white out conditions on the boardwalk for a bit. That was scary since most of the walkway is rail/fence-less. And, of course, my glasses completely fogged over leaving me quite blind. Thank heavens it only lasted for a very, very, long 5 minutes.

It was the science march weekend. I wish I had been as smart as this woman from the Bozeman region. I would have brought a sign too. JLS07825

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I used a different entrance into the parking lots by Old Faithful. https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/historyculture/oldfaithfuldistrict.htm This lot apparently serves the Old Faithful Inn. I really like this lot’s lampposts. I also liked the monster sized bison hanging out by the pathway. Yes I was using a telephoto lens. JLS07827

Leaving Old Faithful, we stopped at the Black Sand Geyser Basin. I rarely stop here, usually going to the Firehole Lake drive instead. But that drive was also closed. Black Sand http://www.yellowstonenationalpark.com/blacksand.htm is a lovely, smaller set of geysers and pools.

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Birds of the Day:
Rock doves
Eurasian collared doves
Black billed magpies
Red tailed hawks
Swainson’s hawks
Red winged blackbirds
Osprey
Brewer’s blackbirds
California gulls
Crows
Kestrels
Western meadowlark
Starlings
Robins
Common merganser
Mallards
Canada geese
Sandhill cranes
Mountain bluebird
Killdeer
Northern flicker
Clark’s nutcracker
Common ravens

Mammals:
Bison
Elk

The weather cooperated with us and the sun made the Tetons glow as we drove home, necessitating our final photo stop.

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— Jenny


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