Friday, June 14, 2013

Yellowstone National Park - Day 18 and 19

The only advance reservations I made for this trip were at Moraine Park in Rocky Mountain National Park and at Canyon Village in Yellowstone.  It was a good move.  Canyon Village is central to the park and is one of five campgrounds (there are 12 in the park) that offers full services like flush toilets, laundry, showers, and a dump station.  It has no hookups but does allows generators.  The campground had only been opened for 10 days and it was full each day that I was there!  The sites are set out in loops and are fairly close together.  The largest RV they can accommodate is about a 30 footer. 

The campground is in bear country and the ranger told me there had been grizzly’s sited in the campground.  They are pretty strict on keeping food and anything odorous out of site and locked up in your vehicle.  They go over this in detail with each camper. I had stuff in my fridge and some dry food in cabinets, but all the trash was lugged to the dumpster each night. I also kept the windows closed at night.  Luckily for me no close encounters of the bear kind occurred.

The main attraction in this area is the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.  All I can say is WOW!  It’s a lot smaller than the real Grand Canyon in Arizona, but the vistas are spectacular.  There’s a north rim drive and a south rim drive.  Each offers look outs to see the canyon and water falls.  There are also hiking trails for those who what to explore it further.

Me on the North Rim

North Rim looking north

Artist Point on the south rim offers the most spectacular views.  I was lucky to get there in the morning while the sun was still rising in the east.  Here are some of my pictures.

Lower Falls from Artist Point

South Rim looking north

I saw a lot of wild life while in the National Parks.  Here are just a few shots of the animals.  All were seen from the side of the road.

Young Elk out for a trot

Great Horned Owl

Mama Bison with Baby Bison

Mr. Elk catching an early morning nap

Mama Grizzly with Baby Grizzly's

The National Bird Symbol

A comment on my photography.  I brought three camera’s with me.  An HD hand held video camera with a dash mount for shooting video while driving, a compact point and shoot for quick shots from the road or in towns, and a compact super zoom DSLR.  I used the DSLR the most with a polarizing filter to cut out glare and darken the sky.  I tried to shoot the most in the morning while I had good low sun.  I also used my tripod quite a bit when I could to get good shots while zooming in on the wildlife. 

On Day 20, I headed out for Cody Wyoming.  I left Canyon Village and drove north over the Dunraven Pass.  The weather was clearing from overnight storms.  The road is under construction at Tower Fall to Roosevelt Lodge.  Its all ripped up, muddy, single lane, and really a mess.  I drove east through the Lamar Valley.  If I came back, I would spend more time in this section.  The valley if full of wild life.  I headed out the east entrance to drive the Beartooth Scenic Byway, see the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, and take in the Cody Nite Rodeo.

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