Tuesday, 12 May 2015

The most famous national park

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone would have to be the most famous national park in the world. We have returned for the fourth year in a row because it is so unique. We have stayed in seven of their campgrounds and they are all different, the park is huge, so it makes sense that you find one in the right location. Then there are the opening times to consider and whether we will fit or not.

We decided to try Madison this year which is near the west entrance. It's a really nice campground run by Xanterra, not the national parks system, and as a bonus it has a dump station, on the down side there is no cell service. We had booked ahead which was a good decision as the campground was full that night, we asked to add two extra days onto our booking when we arrived but they could only give us one.

The first afternoon we arrived I suggested that we drive south to Old Faithful as I knew that Lindsay would want to go out each day looking for bears and therefore would be my only chance of taking some landscape photos. There were a lot of tourists around for this time of year.

Grand Prismatic Spring

We arrived at Old Faithful just before it was about to erupt - it was great timing.

Old Faithful

Each day we would head over to the Fishing Bridge area, going out around Yellowstone Lake to Sedge Bay and out to the Hayden Valley. This is grizzly bear country, the area has open plains that they like to roam. We never go walking to find them as that would be too dangerous, so we have to be content to try and spot them from the car along the roads.

The gorgeous markings of the male Harlequin Duck

Everyone is saying this is a lean year for spotting bears, is it us?? we seem to get that a lot! Because of the lack of snow, the bears don't need to be near the road where the snow has melted. Bears with cubs might come down to the roads as they feel safe as they know the boars won't follow them. If a boar wants to mate with a sow, they will kill any cubs she already has, so it's a real danger to expose cubs to boars other than their father.

Fishing Bear
All the bears have names, how they get these names I don't know. There is Fishing bear because, you guessed it, he fishes, he's up by 9 Mile.


There is Hobo because he used to ride on the back of his mother's back when he was little. We found him up near steamboat in Sedge Bay, they travel incredible distances - must be those four legs.

Feel those muscles stretch!

Then there is Little Valley Girl, if she didn't have this name I would have called her Yogi Bear, on the day that we were very lucky to see her she was doing yoga! She was rolling in the snow, stretching, rolling, just having a ball. There was a large group of people already there when we arrived so we knew we didn't have much time. Lindsay grabbed his camera and tripod and got some amazing shots - eight minutes later, she was off.

Split Lip is shaking himself off like a dog - before he gets out of the water!

Split lip, we didn't get to see up close. He was on a mission and swam across the river. While this isn't a good photo, it shows that the bears swim.

After six days at Madison we were tired of driving an hour over to Fishing Bridge each morning and then again at night, so we moved to Fishing Bridge RV park. It's expensive, but take into account how much driving you save each day it makes more sense. The campground is old and horrible but it looks like they are pulling out the old sites and bringing them up to date. We had 50 amp - yay, which meant we could run everything, including two heaters, although it didn't like it when I added my hairdryer to our already max out array of appliances and it blew the fuse.

Raspberry, she is a bit red isn't she?

Raspberry is a large grizzly who likes the meadows just along from where Fishing Bear lives. It's is where the fires went through a number of years ago and there are lots of fallen trees everywhere. So where does her name come from? apparently she used to stick her tongue out which must mean that you are giving someone the raspberry, must be an American thing!

Blaze with one of her cubs

The main star attraction around here is Blaze and her two cubs. She has a number of meadows that she frequents but that doesn't mean that she is easy to find. We only saw her a few times over the nine days we were there.

Blaze's two cubs
After nine days we moved up to Mammoth as we had mail waiting at the post office and as we unfortunately found out, if you don't collect it in time they return it to the sender! We had the choice of driving around the road works which would take five hours or going through the muddy bumpy roadworks and taking about two hours. We chose the road works which weren't too bad. The roads in Yellowstone are very narrow with no shoulder's, passing one of the work trucks, we nearly went off the edge. I expected the inside of the trailer to be a smozzle, but it wasn't too bad, we had to open the cupboards very slowly to catch whatever was going to fall out.

Artists Point

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  1. Your photos are amazing! We lived and worked in Yellowstone for two years and didn't capture as many photos of bears. I look forward to following along on your adventures. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

    1. Thank you for your kind words. Working in Yellowstone! what an amazing experience that must have been, you must have some amazing stories.