Sunday, July 8, 2007


Taking the short drive north from the Tetons, we came to Yellowstone – the Official Favorite National Park of Becca Hall. Not long after arriving we encountered the ubiquitous Buffalo (Latin alias – Bison Bison).

After driving around some we decided to stay at the Indian Creek campground, apparent fly capital of the park. The flies decided that the park was much too nice for us to just hang around the campground all day, so they did their best to encourage us to leave. We obliged and headed down to Firehole Canyon where there is a nice little geothermally heated swimming hole in the river, and we played in the water for an hour or two. After we partook of some rather expensive showers at the Old Faithful Lodge, and had a nice picnic dinner by the side of a river. Quite nice.

The next morning, we went for a hike that was supposed to be teeming with wildlife, but alas there was none. We cut that hike a little short and headed over to Artists Point for some great views of Lower Yellowstone Falls.

About the time we were done anyway, a storm came rolling in, so we took some more showers (twice in two days!!) and did some laundry while it was merrily raining, and thundering away outside. Since it was still storming when we were done, we went to diner and while we were at the salad bar we were treated to a huge lightning strike about 100 yards away (that’s how far you’re supposed to stay away from bears in the park also).

We finished dinner about the same time as the lightning storm ended, and headed to the northeastern corner of the park for some wildlife watching around sunset. We went almost all the way out to the park entrance, seeing antelope, elk and bison along the way. All very cool, but nothing we hadn’t seen plenty of the past few days.

On the way back, we stopped at a relatively uninhabited pullout on the side of the road, and found a ranger setting up his scope to look at the hill in front of us. A couple more cars pulled in right after us, and there was one silver haired gentleman that caused Becca to do a double-take. After taking the binoculars from me for a closer inspection (he was only about 100-ft away) she confirmed that the gentleman was indeed Anderson Cooper. After some deliberation, we decided it was best to admire him from a distance, and instead to talk to the ranger, who was very helpful. He told us that yes, he was Mr. Cooper, and they were doing a story about wolves in the park, which they expected to come over the hill at any moment. He showed us a grizzly bear in his scope on the hillside he had found, and when the wolves showed up, he showed us those as well.

Around that time, Mr. Anderson Cooper, the ranger he was interviewing, and 2 cameramen headed over towards where the wolves were to get a better shot for the interview, with Anderson carrying his own equipment. That’s him in blue, second from the left with the incredibly shiny hair (although you can't see it in the picture).

We stuck around for a while longer taking turns with the binoculars, and ended up seeing 2 or 3 wolves running around before it finally got too dark to see. We drove back to the campsite elated, with Becca’s decision on her favorite National Park firmly cemented in her mind.

The next morning, we headed out the west entrance of the park, and within 10 minutes of leaving the campsite, we came across a brown bear (same thing as a black bear, Latin alias – Ursas Americanus) 40-ft off the road. Used to being gawked at, it pretty much ignored everyone watching it while it ripped the top off a log, gobbled up all the bugs inside, and then trotted away into the woods.

We thought for sure we were done seeing cool wildlife in the park, and then only 20 miles from the park exit, we saw a coyote trotting along the side of the road, which looked up at us nonchalantly as we passed, and the turned into the woods for a little more privacy.

Yellowstone did not disappoint.

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