Anthony's Wild West 2007 travel blog

Blown steam frozen...

Ice branch

Tasteful Xmas lights

Part of Norris Geyser Basin

Upper Falls, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Lower Falls, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Today's buffalo pic

The Artist's Paint Pots

Artist's Paint Pots from above

Bear watching Paparazzi from a distance


Movie Clips - Playback Requirements - Problems?

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Steamboat Geyser, the biggest in the world...sometimes!

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Lower Falls, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

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Coyote hunting in the snow

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Hot mud

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Roadside spa

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Buffalo drive-by

I was going to hike today, but though the roads are better, there is even more snow off the roads. My concern is not only losing the trail somewhere in this vast wilderness, and possibly becoming part of a grizzly's store of winter food, but that both the hikes I want to do are in geothermal areas where there are signs everywhere warning of the horrible dangers if you go off the trail and fall into something molten or boiliing. So no hiking, though as it turned out it took me all day to see the remaining 'sights' anyway, or at least the ones that weren't cut off by snow.

First I went to the Norris Geyser Basin, a well large area of hot springs, geysers, and so on, quite a desolate and hellish place. Good though, but best was this area where wind-blown steam had frozen on nearby trees in all sorts of interesting ways. I had never seen anything like it, but it gave me some idea as to what may have inspired some of the worst excesses of kitsch Xmas lights.

Talking of kitsch Xmas, I already knew that it was Americans who essentially invented Xmas, i.e. all the iconography involved, but now I know where they got the ideas from, as so much of where it has been snowing looks like Xmas cards, especially all the log cabins. They are also VERY into Halloween, to quite an incredible extent in some cases, with whole houses and businessess done up spookily. Most surprising was a bank I went in, where my going through the door triggered a fat spider to drop down in front of my face. I jumped, and did wonder how that would go down in a British bank.

As usual in Yellowstone, there were elk and buffalo everywhere, but the buffalo seemed even more inclined to loiter in the road than usual, and I swear were crossing back and forth for their own amusement. What was a treat was seeing four seperate coyote today, including getting to watch and film one hunting something under the snow.

After Norris I went to Canyon, specifically the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, as they call it. This turned out to be really impressive. It is a huge canyon, over a 1000 feet deep, with two huge waterfalls, and it is a gorgeous mixture of colours; amber and pink and russet and gold. I wanted to walk down into the canyon, but as I started down the trail I came across a ranger blocking it off for safety reasons, though he let me go on to some of the lookout points on the rim. The weather is causing this whole place to shut down around me! Anyway, the canyon was amazing, and the waterfalls were great. If it wasn't so cold, I could have sat there for hours admiring the view.

But the best was yet to come. What happens all the time in Yellowstone is that driving along you will see someone pulled over on the side of the road, often with their hazard lights on. This is nearly always as they have spotted some wildlife and are watching it and taking pictures. This is a bit of a signal for anyone else to look and see if it is anything that they might think is interesting. I don't stop for elk unless they have big antlers, and was getting blase about buffalo to the point where I would only stop if they were right by the road. Coyote was special still, but on the home leg I saw someone pulled over by some hot springs, and there was a bear, not far from the road! And a grizzly at that!

I pulled right over and ran off up the road with my camera, leaving my engine running and the keys in the car (not deliberately). Luckily, this being the rural US, it was still there when I got back. Me and this other guy tracked the bear up the road away, and gradually over time, more and more people stopped, and when they found out what it was, got out too. By now the bear was way up the side of the valley, way beyond most cameras,and just sitting there watching. It was great how excited everyone was about this animal, even the hairy fishermen and hunters. So at last I got to see a grizzly, and luckily it was running away from me rather than the other way round.

There is a T-shirt here I really like, but unfortunately not in my size. It has a good picture, and also says "You have nothing to fear but fear itself (and the bears)". I find this both funny and quite profound.

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