Yellowstone 1.0

I call this post Yellowstone 1.0 because while this was my first ever visit to this amazing place, I know that it be only one of many visits.

Bison feeding out in one of the vast valleys of Yellowstone

I finally made it to Yellowstone National Park!

I have wanted to go since I was a child. I always felt some strange connection to the park. I knew the wildlife and scenery were totally in tune with who I am and where I like to be.

And I was spot on!

I have been thinking about how I am going to share my Yellowstone experience here on this blog. I have well over 2,000 photos and videos, so hold on here we go!

OK, just kidding. I wouldn’t do that to my worse enemy. However, I will be sharing about 40 or so photos and a some videos as well

Yours truly at the south entrance to the park. This was actually taken on my way out.

I have been thinking about how to organize this post. I usually do it chronologically. This time I think I am going to clump content by themes. Let’s see how that works out!


I happen to travel quite a bit for my work. Sometimes that affords me the opportunity to see and do things that I might now have done otherwise. I may have a few hours in an early morning to hike somewhere or some time in the evening to do something fun. In this case, I was having a business meeting in the Idaho Falls area on a Friday. When I realized how close Yellowstone was to Idaho Falls, I decided to trek my way to the park for my first visit.

My van enjoying the views of some of the geothermal geysers at Yellowstone

I drove to Idaho Fall from home and loaded it up for a weekend of “vanping” in Yellowstone. Vanping is a word that I made up (it is possible others use it as well) to describe camping in my van. Fortunately, I can take out a row of seats and fold the last row into the floor and I end up with a wide open cargo-like van. I am a tall person, I can totally stretch out with room to spare while sleeping in the van.

The van is a 2009 Toyota Sienna with 230,000 miles on it. It has been everywhere with me and makes a terrific vanping partner because it already has a few dings and scratches. Going off road or in strange places does not cause any concern.

Right before entering at West Yellowstone, I stopped to get some dinner before immersing myself in Yellowstone goodness.

The homemade pickles were wonderful

I stopped at Firehole BBQ. It was about 6:30 at night and they were packed. In fact, they were out of all of the BBQ except for pulled pork. So guess what I had. Yep, you’re right, I had pulled pork with beans, slaw and bbq corn salad. It was fantastic and a nice start to me weekend adventure.

With a full belly I entered the park.

Within about 3 minutes of being in the park, an elk crossed the road right in front of me. I quickly pulled over to try to get a picture. The sun has already set, but there was still enough ambient light to at least capture some type of picture. So I show cell phone shot and took video of the elk walking across the river.

The elk before crossing the river

I had 6 goals for the visit: see lots of waterfalls, get pix of elk, bison, moose and bears, and get a huge panorama with snow-capped mountains in the background. Being the end of summer, I knew the last was unlikely. But I certainly did not think that I would meet one of my goal within the first 3 minutes of being in the park.

I knew it was going to be a good visit!

I shot some lame pix of the moon rising over a river valley that were just too dark, then I found a place for go vanping for the night.

This was the best of the moon shots. I forgot my tripod so I had to hand hold the camera.


One of the many highlights of the visit was seeing hundreds of bison in the Washburn Range. They were descending from a hill down into the range where there was water and lots of grazing. I felt like I was in a movie. The first image at the top of this post is one of the shots from this area.

This was the leader of a small clutch of bison
This was the clutch spoken of in the photo above

On Sunday before I left the park, I ran into a long line of traffic. Initially, I thought it was a lot of people trying to leave the park. Turns out, that a bison was walking down the middle of the road. The back up was for several miles.

When I return, I am going to hangout for a couple days in the Lamar Valley and just shoot bison and other wildlife.

Waterfalls, Rivers and Water

Lower Falls was spectacular. The trail to get down closer was temporarily closed.
A closer view of lower falls
A wider view of the falls
Yours truly

Upstream from Lower Falls, was….., drum roll please…. the UPPER FALLS!

Riddle Lake foggy morning
Yellowstone Lake
Firehole River on a foggy morning enhanced by geothermal activity
Madison River looking west

Madison River looking east
Geothermals on the Madison River
Yellowstone River in the morning
Yellowstone River
Yellowstone River

Continuing with more water related shots, Sunday morning’s drive out of the south entrance of the park produced some terrific images. Between the Snake River and Jackson Lake, I could have spent hours, or even all day.

One of my favorites from the trip
Foggy and geothermic frosty morning
Snake River
Jackson Lake
Another Snake River shot


A distant view of Dragon’s Mouth Spring
Along Yellowstone Lake
Activity on the banks of Yellowstone Lake

And now for the granddaddy of them all – OLD FAITHTFUL. I was able to see it erupt several times. TBH, I was expecting it to be more dramatic. Nonetheless, it was still cool, just not what I was thinking. Below is a time lapse of the eruption.

The foggy trees surrounding Old Faithful
The Gibbons River
More fishing on the Gibbons
Gibbons River at sunset
I didn’t know there was a National Park Mountain
Trees on the banks of the Yellowstone River

I said there was lots of pix. These were only a few. Hopefully there were a few that resonated with you.

Not included in this post are the pix after I left the park and drove through Grand Teton National Park. Perhaps that post is coming soon.

But first, I am going to give your eyes a break.

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