As I wrote in my previous photo essay, my sojourn this week to Yellowstone National Park met my three expectations. And a lot more.
The two waterfalls that I saw along the Snake River in Idaho couldn’t compare with three in Yellowstone. Even the 30 drop of Lewis Falls exceeds that of Idaho Falls.
Here is 132 foot Tower Falls. It’s name comes from the rock turrets above the falls:
Most famous of all is Lower Yellowstone Falls, which plunges 308 feet in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River. “Note the beautiful green stripe in the water that forms the falls,” says my Yellowstone guide book. “This coloring is caused by a notch located at the top of the falls, which allows a deeper, less turbulent stream of water to pass over the lip of the falls, making it appear more green than the water around it.”
My photo of Lower Yellowstone Falls gives a hint of the derivation of the park’s name. But until I saw this otherworldly sight of yellow stone under the steam at Midway Geyser Basin, I didn’t appreciate why we call it Yellowstone:
Like most visitors to Yellowstone, however, what excited me the most were the many wild animals there. This coyote feeds near the Yellowstone River:
But just before sunset one days what attracted me to the scene below was the landscape. I didn’t even notice the three elk at first:
Another day in the late afternoon I saw these two elk below against the light. Normally, you can’t expect a good result when shooting into the light. But this worked:
The easiest shot of all was of this bison standing on a bank right next to the road. I simply stopped my SUV, turned off the engine (to avoid vibration), rolled down my window, and shot. Had I not been in my vehicle, a ranger would have given me a ticket for being too close:
The one thing that Yellowstone lacks is spectacular mountains. But Grand Teton National Park, directly to the south of Yellowstone more than makes up for this:
These mountains made a fitting coda to my month-long trip away from the peaks of Colorado.