Tuesday 14 October 2008

Yellowstone: Waterfalls, Wildlife and Flash mobs

Mt. Washburn was a cool hike, although Lonely Planet had us shitting ourselves, this being September: "grizzlies flock to Mount Washburn's east slopes in August and September in search of ripening whitebark pine nuts". We didn't see any :)

After Washburn we hiked along the rim of the "Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone", which was amazingly spectacular due to the different rock colours created by thermal activity.
The waterfalls and rock colours made this my favourite part of the park.

We got up early to hit the Lamar valley - "America's Serengeti", a mecca for wildlife.
Unfortunately we quickly discovered that we didn't have much chance of seeing wildlife without binoculars (I'm fairly convinced TSA nicked mine, the bastards).

Here is how wildlife spotting works in Yellowstone.

Drive around, look for cars that are pulled over. Pull over, look where they are looking, ask someone what they are looking at. Half the time the thing they are looking at has either left, or is about 1km away and can only be seen with these giant spotting scopes mounted on tripods that half the visitors to the park have brought with them.

Every single person seems to follow this same algorithm, which means if you pull over, get your binoculars out and point at something, you are instantly surrounded by 5 SUVs and 10 RVs worth of people asking "What can you see?". "Erm, we were just looking". The park is huge, and there are only a small number of high-traffic roads that most animals are sensible enough to stay away from, except bison.

The coolest things we saw were beavers (way bigger than I expected! and cute) and prong-horn deer.

1 comment:

Lydia said...

You managed to see a lot more of the USA than I did while over there. We never even saw bison or made it to Yellowstone, although we did see bears up in Banff in Canada - from a safe distance. Can't wait to share our American adventures with you - see you in December!