2012 Western Road Trip: More Wildlife and the Hayden Valley

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Our early morning grizzly sighting kicked off our day that was focused on wildlife watching. After getting our grizzly pictures, we continued down the road. The Gardners Hole area was also a prime spot for elk, and this morning was no exception.

Elk Herd

Elk Pair

Elk Herd 2

Seeing herds of elk (and later on, bison) was cool beyond words. I had never seen anything like it, and I just feel in love with the abundance of wildlife in the park.

A little further down the road, we came upon Roaring Mountain. Another hydrothermal feature in the park, the mountain is covered with fumaroles. The fumaroles hiss, whistle, sigh, and roar, hence the name.

Roaring Mountain

Close-Up on Roaring Mountain

It was cool seeing Roaring Mountain in the early morning when the air was still cold. It heightened the visibility of the steam and made the mountain look much more menacing.

Finally, it was time to focus on our first destination of the day – the Hayden Valley. The Hayden Valley is a large sub-alpine valley in the east-central region of the park. The Yellowstone River flows through the valley on it’s way to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. It is a prime area of wildlife viewing.

Lamar Valley

Lamar Valley 2

In terms of wildlife, we primarily saw bison. They weren’t in big herds. It was more like one or two over here, one or two over there. We didn’t mind not seeing a ton of wildlife. The scenery was amazingly beautiful on its own.

We witnessed our first bison jam. Well, it wasn’t so much a jam, but a lone bison crossing in front of one car. It was neat nonetheless.

Bison Crossing the Road

Lone Bison

Bison and Bird

This last photo is one of my favorites that Jason took on the trip. It’s a good picture of the bison’s face, and I love that you can clearly see the bird riding on his (or her?) back.

It was cool to see the bison in the Hayden Valley, but we hadn’t seen anything yet…

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