Tall Tales From The Field

Why Yellowstone is the best of the National Parks.

Just because you’re first doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the best.  But there is a reason why Yellowstone was named the first national park on March 1, 1872 by President Ulysses Grant.  Its biodiversity and geologic wonders are what grabbed the attention of Congress through the photos and paintings of Jackson and Moran respectively during the 1871 Hayden Expedition into Yellowstone.  What makes Yellowstone unique is its 67 species of wildlife, 322 species of birds, 16 species of fish,  eleven hundred species of flowering plants, 7 species of conifers, over 10,000 geothermal features including more than 300 geysers(half of Earth’s total), approximately 300 waterfalls, beautiful, crystal clear rivers and one gigantic caldera.  No national park has all of these natural resources to offer including those in Alaska.  Below are images that capture the diversity of Yellowstone. All photos were captured by Michael Just and Dawn2Dawn Photography.

GRAND PRISMATIC SPRING

Grand Prismatic Spring, North America’s largest at 370 feet in diameter.

CHROMATIC POOL

Bright colors are produced by microorganisms called thermophiles living in the hot waters of Chromatic Spring.

CASTLE GEYSER MORNING

Castle Geyser steams on a cold morning.

Old Faithful is still faithful

Old Faithful is still faithful

Where else would you find these travertine terraces?

Where else would you find these travertine terraces?

Or these colors in nature.

Or these colors in nature.

BLACK POOL

The landscape is always changing as trees come and go for a variety of reasons.

The landscape is always changing as trees come and go for a variety of reasons.

STORMY BLACK SAND GEYSER BASIN

A Storm Passes Through Black Sand Geyser Basin

PUNCH BOWL SPRING

Punch Bowl Spring

IMPERIAL GEYSER

Imperial Geyser appears out of nowhere.

And the wildlife…….

BULL ELK BUGLING

Bull elk bugling during rutting season.

BULL BISONS WRESTLING

Bull bison must prove their manhood during the rut.

YNP GRIZZLY BEAR

Ursus Arctos Horribilis (Grizzly Bear)

This moose is smiling because she's in her favorite park.

This moose is smiling because she’s in her favorite park.

YELLOWSTONE BADGER

This badger was so focused on the hunt, it was unaware I was standing  50 feet away.

Herd of bison moving at night

Herd of bison moving at night

Otter's head and tail

The river otter patrols the cool waters of the Yellowstone River

A coyote waits patiently along the Yellowstone River to surprise a river otter and its catch.

A coyote waits patiently along the Yellowstone River to surprise a river otter and its catch.

GREY WOLF WITH ICY STARE

The reintroduction of the wolf to Yellowstone has produced excitement for visitors if not controversy. But what other park tried this?

Yellowstone Red Fox

The red fox is mostly nocturnal but frequently visible during the winter daylight.

BISON FULL OF SNOW

Bison endure the harshness of Yellowstone’s winters. Barely.

Elk heard heading to higher ground.

Elk herd heading to higher ground.

BALD EAGLE BENT OVER

Adult bald eagles are one bird who may stay in the park year round.

No butt heading allowed with the wildlife please.

No head butting allowed with the wildlife please.

Black Bear foraging.

Black Bear foraging.

Pronghorn are North America's fastest mammals.

Pronghorn are North America’s fastest mammals reaching speeds up to 60 mph.

SWANS TAKING OFF

Trumpeter swans are very visible during Yellowstone winters.

OSPREY ON ITS PERCH

An osprey peers into a river below for its next catch.

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

And waterways……

FIREHOLE RIVER CANYON

The Firehole River is one of many fantastic waterways in Yellowstone.

FIREHOLE RIVER

The Yellowstone River carved The Grand Canyon Of The Yellowstone.

The Yellowstone River carved The Grand Canyon Of The Yellowstone.

The Yellowstone flows north out of the park.

The Yellowstone flows north out of the park.

LAMAR RIVER WINTER

The Lamar River on a snowy day in late April?

Tower Falls is one of many falls in the park

Tower Falls is one of many falls in the park, too numerous to count and still being discovered.

There's a reason why over 3 million people visit Yellowstone each year.

There’s a reason why over 3 million people visit Yellowstone each year.

PHOTOGRAPHING BEARS

This cub was taking baby steps at 3 months old.

STEAM AND TOURISTS AT MIDWAY GEYSER BASIN

These tourists look rather insignificant in the steam and fog.

Beehive Geyser gushes amongst the throngs.

Beehive Geyser gushes amongst the throngs.

OLF FAITHFUL INN LOBBY FLAG

The lobby at The Old Faithful Inn. Some rooms here don’t have bathrooms. You have to go down the hall. Must have been a palace when it first opened in 1904. Still is.

Only some 100,000 visit the park in the winter.

Only some 100,000 visit the park in the winter.

Yellowstone has nice sunsets as well.

Yellowstone has nice sunsets even at a fire-scarred forest.

GREBE LAKE SUNSET

We camped here at Grebe Lake for two nights, listening to the unmistakable sounds of the loons and coyotes.

Classic winter sunset.

Classic winter sunset.

And the flora…….

And colorful flowers.

Colorful wildflowers like the Camas.

WHITE-RAYED MULE'S EARS

White-rayed Mule’s Ears

Yellow Salsify

Yellow Salsify

COVILLE'S COLUMBINE

The rare Coville’s Columbine

Bison grazing on wildflowers in Lamar Valley

Bison grazing on wildflowers in Lamar Valley

Morning fog permeates a lodgepole pine forest

It’s not smoke from a forest fire but morning fog trapped in a lodgepole pine forest.

Speaking of fog, how about a fogbow.

Speaking of fog, how about a fogbow.

Thick snow-covered forests stretch beyond your eyes.

Thick snow-covered forests stretch beyond the horizon.

A rising sun struggles to penetrate the morning fog.

A rising sun struggles to penetrate the morning fog.

A lonely pine stands out from the steamy landscape at West Thumb Geyser Basin

A lonely pine
stands out from the steamy landscape at West Thumb Geyser Basin

THE ABSAROKAS

The high country of Yellowstone.

Standing on the top of Electric Peak will make your hair raise.

Standing on the top of Electric Peak will make your hair raise..

The next time you visit Yellowstone, the natives will be watching you.

The next time you visit Yellowstone, the natives will be watching you.

 

 

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13 responses

  1. Excellent series! I love every single shot. If I had the money, I would go for Yellowstone Park right away. Thanks!

    Like

    May 3, 2014 at 8:05 AM

  2. Great series, beautiful images!

    Like

    May 3, 2014 at 10:32 AM

  3. Al McConnaha

    Wife and I visited YS some 50 years ago. I(I’m now 82) . I got some pix, but nothing like yours. Would you give me permission to print some or all of yours–please ? Alyn

    Like

    May 3, 2014 at 1:43 PM

    • That would be fine Al. Glad you enjoyed the pics and that it brought back memories from 50 years ago. I doubt Yellowstone has changed that much in 50 years and that’s the way it’s suppose to be.

      Like

      May 4, 2014 at 11:09 AM

  4. dale j. brown

    Mike:

    Very good pictures. You know that it brings back the memories from 2009. We have a niece working in the dining room at OFI this year.

    dale brown

    Like

    May 6, 2014 at 5:35 PM

    • Good to hear from you Dale. Your niece is taking over your legacy at Yellowstone.

      Like

      May 6, 2014 at 6:33 PM

  5. Yellowstone’s been on my wish list for a long time, after seeing these it’s just moved up the ladder a few runs 🙂 Great post

    Like

    May 11, 2014 at 5:07 AM

  6. I have been to Yellowstone over 30 times and there is a new adventure every time! We will be there again in June of this year. I do photography too and only wish I could get the caliber of photos that you exhibit here!! GREAT WORK!!!!
    Ricontech

    Like

    May 11, 2014 at 7:12 PM

    • Thanks Dave. Have a nice trip to Yellowstone this year. Say hi to the grizzlies.

      Like

      May 11, 2014 at 11:29 PM

  7. Beautiful pictures. All pictures come alive!

    Like

    May 22, 2014 at 6:51 PM

  8. Love the photos. One day I shall get out there. I think winter would be the most impressive. Fantastic.

    Like

    June 21, 2014 at 12:25 AM

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