Thursday, July 28, 2011

Day 34: Yellowstone Part Deux

Another place all the folks in Silver Gate were telling us to go was back in Yellowstone....Trout Lake, named, appropriately, for all the trout that live in said lake.  So we took a little day hike into the park to check it out.  And we weren't disappointed. 

 It was a VERY steep climb up to the mountain lake, but this was our reward.

 You know how salmon swim upstream to spawn?  Well, trout do too!  These particular fish have to swim from the lake up this little rapid.

 Do you see that reddish splotch there in the middle of the picture?  That's a cutthroat trout.  There had to be about 100 of them, all HUGE, all struggling to get upstream.  They would go in spurts, a little at a time, and then rest, and then go a little more.  It looked exhausting.

 Meanwhile, the scenery is serene and calming.

 I couldn't take enough pictures!!!

 This is Soda Butte, a dormant geyser.  It gives the stream in Silver Gate (the one we camped by) its name.

 These are Yellowstone Tour buses.  They were retired and sold to other parks and private individuals in the 1970's.  The current vendor that handles tours tracked down as many as they could and bought them back, then updated them mechanically and restored the bodies and interiors to like new.  There's about 15 of them in the park.

 Those yellow flowers carpet the mountainside, so much so that it looks like a giant had thrown yellow paint everywhere!!

 Mammoth Hot Spring Terraces from a distance.  We had no idea they were so big!!!  (Although the name might've given it away.....)

 Up close

 Up closer.  Crazy shapes!  They look like....terraces!!

 Obligatory self photo

 So, The Terraces are actually in a town (yes, there's a town in the park!) called Mammoth Hot Springs.  Back before the National Parks Service was founded, Yellowstone Park was managed by the US Army.  The barracks and Officer's Quarters, as well as all the support staff, etc, lived here.  Now those buildings are being used as a hotel for tourists and housing for park staff.

 And a bunch of elk live here too.  Actually, they sort of run the place.

 And, finally, we see a bear!!!!! And it's a grizzly!!  It's hard to tell, but the "grizz" (as the locals call him) is on the left.  As we watched, he took a bath in a little stream nearby, then grazed a bit.  The bison approached from the right.  As soon as the bear saw the buffalo, he scampered away.  But the bison didn't care.  He stopped at the same stream to cool off, then calmly sauntered past the bear.  The bear kept an eye on him, but they peacefully went about their business.  I thought grizzlies were big, but the bison was nearly double his size!

 Later down the road, we missed the hunt, but saw this wolf with his prize.  He disappeared over a rise shortly after this picture was taken.  Probably taking dinner back to the fam.

 Good-bye Yellowstone!!

"For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People."

Now.......on to Glacier!!!

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