Fantastic, Outstanding, Mind-blowing or simply just Wow! It’s hard to find the proper words to sufficiently appreciate the spectacular Flora & Fauna of the Yellowstone and Grand Teton Nationalparks. As we enter Yellowstone on a less travelled road in the North-East (Thx to Woody for the hint!) we encounter our first wildlife. A young, male Grizzly bear roams the hillside to our left. What a start! We are pretty stoked.
We wanna make it to the Madison Info Center tonight as they do a Ranger-led Nightsky Observing. It is held only twice a year, so it’s probably quite special and we are excited about it. On the way there we see our first bisons right next to the street, so we stop and take some pictures. Around this time of the year, it is already very likely to spot cubs. Around the next corner, hundred more bisons graze in the open space of the Lamar Valley.
The Nightsky out here is just breath-taking, everyone having been able to watch the sky without any nearby light pollution, probably knows what I’m talking about. The Rangers point out different stars and the Milky Way to us, share facts about the universe and answer questions. We start with the smaller telescopes and direct them at Jupiter and Saturn. Already pretty cool! The bigger telescopes (they were really big for portable ones) are directed to distant galaxies. We could observe a Ring Galaxy and as Highlight of the Evening, two merging Galaxies in a distance of 30 million Lightyears! How awesome is that!
We start our second day with a hearty breakfast, while enjoying our coffee and banana pancakes, we are closely inspected by some deer and a couple of mammals.
We drive south towards the Grand Teton National Park, as this area is known for Moose sightings. After going up and down the road for a while we get really close to a Moose and at a second spotting, to a Mummy Moose with two cubs.
The Grand Tetons varies a lot, by means of landscape, from the Yellowstone National Park. Mountains dominate the park and there are lots of serious hiking trails. We do one of the moderate hikes leading us along Jenny Lake and up into the Mountain to some waterfalls and the so-called Inspiration Point. On the way there, everyone coming the opposite direction asks us, if we have encountered the Grizzly. We realize soon, that we missed the Grizzly just by a few minutes. Not sure if we would have liked to meet it out here, we climb up to the top and enjoy the view.
We head back to Yellowstone and do another hike down the canyon to see the Lower Canyon Waterfalls. Late spring is a wonderful time to see them, as the melting snow and ice from the glaciers provide full and powerful waterfalls. Usually you find yourself in front a waterfall wondering, if these few drops are it. But not this time!
A traffic jam on one of the roads is usually a good sign around here. So we get our camera ready as we approach a few slow rolling cars in front of us. A black bear is wandering alongside the road, even crossing it between all the cars. Later on, we see another one just off the street in a meadow.
Yellowstone National Park is famous for its springs and geysers. So having saved the best for last, we are excited to see for ourselves. We visit the most popular “Old faithful Geyser” as it spits naturally every 60 – 90 minutes and the “Grand Prismatic Spring” which is as colorful as a rainbow. Just stunning! More springs and geysers can be found along the street, they are everywhere here in this area of the park.
As we pick up some facts about geysers from the visitor center, I get reminded that underneath Yellowstone a Supervulcano creates all that bubbling and spitting. “Funny Fact” about it: the last explosions of the vulcano happened 2.1 million, 1.3 million and 640.000 years ago. Are you noticing anything?
4 days of “Ahhh”s and “Ohhh”s at the Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks are coming to an end and we are overwhelmed by what we have seen.